Abstract

An experimental study of serpentine decomposition at high pressure (4.5 GPa) was carried out to elucidate if water can be preserved in the system in the form other than structural admixtures in minerals. This problem is of interest because it is water that plays a leading role in the melting in a subducted slab and a mantle wedge. To estimate the possible content of an aqueous fluid in deep-seated rocks, a BARS pressless split-sphere apparatus was used in complex with thermobarogeochemistry and gas chromatography. It has been established that the serpentine decomposition is accompanied by the release of water, which concentrates in inclusions in the produced minerals (olivine and orthopyroxene) and their interstices. Chromatographic analysis with a stepwise heating of samples showed that most of the released water is localized in the interstices, and the rest is conserved in fluid inclusions in the minerals. The produced solid phases conserve 0.13 to 2.43 wt.% fluids as inclusions, with water amounting to 0.1–2.06 wt.%. The content of inclusions determined by microscopic examination falls in this region. Since the mobility of the fluid conserved as inclusions in the olivine and orthopyroxene is significantly lower than that in the interstices, this fluid might be better preserved in olivine-containing rocks subsided to depth.

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