Diffusion of hydrogen in olivine: implications for water in the mantle

S. J. Mackwell, D. L. Kohlstedt

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To investigate the kinetics of diffusion of hydrogen in olivine, single crystals from San Carlos in Arizona have been annealed at temperatures between 800° and 1000°C under hydrothermal conditions at a confining pressure of 300 MPa. The hydrogen diffusivities were determined for the [100], [010], and [001] directions from concentration profiles for hydroxyl in the samples. These profiles were obtained from infrared spectra taken at 100-μm intervals across a thin slice which was cut from the central portion of each annealed crystal. The measured diffusivities are large enough that the hydrogen content of olivine grains which are millimeters in diameter will adjust to changing environmental conditions in time scales of hours at temperatures as low as 800°C. As xenoliths ascending from the mantle remain at high temperatures (ie >1000°C) but experience a rapid decrease in pressure, and hence hydrogen fugacity, olivine grains may dehydrate during ascent. By comparison, slow rates of carbon diffusion (Tingle et al, 1988) suggest that carbon will not be lost from olivine during ascent. Thus, low hydrogen contents within olivine and within fluid inclusions in olivine cannot be taken as support for low water contents in the mantle. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5079-5088
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB4
StatePublished - 1990


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