Mantle solidus: Experimental constraints and the effects of peridotite composition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

609 Scopus citations


A review of experiments on natural peridotites allows improved constraints on the location of the mantle solidus. Available constraints on the location of the nominally dry peridotite solidus show considerable scatter, owing to interlaboratory uncertainties and the effects of bulk composition. When experiments on enriched peridotite are filtered from the database, the best fit to the solidus between 0 and 10 GPa is given by T(C) = aP2 + bP + c where a = -5.104, b = 132.899, and c = 1120.661 and P is in gigapascals. Compared to previous models, the solidus in this parameterization is at lower temperature between 2 and 6 GPa, with the largest differences near 4 GPa, where it is 30-60C cooler. Consideration of experimental constraints on the peridotite solidus and of a theoretical model of melting in a simple analogue system suggests that a key variable affecting peridotite solidus temperature is the near-solidus liquid alkali concentration. The effect of alkalis on the solidus increases with bulk concentration in the peridotite but decreases with bulk partition coefficient. Thus small bulk concentrations of K can have a significant influence on the peridotite solidus, and the effect of Na diminishes with increasing pressure, as it becomes more compatible in the solidus residua. Mg # [=100 × MgO/(MgO + FeO)] variations are subordinate to alkali variations in controlling solidus temperature at lower pressures but may increase in relative importance as alkalis become more compatible in peridotite residua with increasing pressure. Increased clinopyroxene mode has the effect of making Na more compatible in residual solids and so diminishes the solidus-lowering tendencies of alkalis. As a consequence, experiments performed on a range of peridotite compositions may not reflect the likely effect of variable mantle composition on solidus temperature if they do not match the appropriate correlation between alkali content and clinopyroxene mode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2000

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union.


  • Peridotite
  • high-pressure experiments
  • mantle
  • melting
  • solidus


Dive into the research topics of 'Mantle solidus: Experimental constraints and the effects of peridotite composition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this