Reaction infiltration instabilities in experiments on partially molten mantle rocks

Matej Pec, Benjamin K. Holtzman, Mark Zimmerman, David L. Kohlstedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


To investigate channelization of a reactive melt in mantle rocks, we imposed a gradient in fluid pressure across a partially molten rock composed of olivine and clinopyroxene, sandwiched between a source of alkali basalt melt and a sink of porous alumina. We performed experiments at a confining pressure of 300 MPa and pore pressures of 0.1-300 MPa, resulting in fluid pressure gradients of 0-88 MPa/mm at temperatures of 1200-1250 °C. When the gradient in fluid pressure is zero, only a planar reaction layer composed of olivine + melt develops, in agreement with previous experiments. However, if the gradient in fluid pressure is greater than zero, in addition to the planar reaction layer, finger-like melt-rich channels that contain olivine + melt develop and propagate into the rock, significantly past the interface between the melt reservoir and the partially molten rock. Channelization of the melt results in a significant increase in permeability and hence in the flux of melt through the partially molten rock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-578
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 19 2015


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