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Solubility and Diffusivity of Water in Lunar Basalt, and Chemical Zonation in Olivine-Hosted Melt Inclusions


Newcombe, Megan Eve (2016) Solubility and Diffusivity of Water in Lunar Basalt, and Chemical Zonation in Olivine-Hosted Melt Inclusions. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9V985ZQ.


I report the solubility and diffusivity of water in lunar basalt and an iron-free basaltic analogue at 1 atm and 1350 °C. Such parameters are critical for understanding the degassing histories of lunar pyroclastic glasses. Solubility experiments have been conducted over a range of fO2 conditions from three log units below to five log units above the iron-wüstite buffer (IW) and over a range of pH2/pH2O from 0.03 to 24. Quenched experimental glasses were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS) and were found to contain up to ~420 ppm water. Results demonstrate that, under the conditions of our experiments: (1) hydroxyl is the only H-bearing species detected by FTIR; (2) the solubility of water is proportional to the square root of pH2O in the furnace atmosphere and is independent of fO2 and pH2/pH2O; (3) the solubility of water is very similar in both melt compositions; (4) the concentration of H2 in our iron-free experiments is <3 ppm, even at oxygen fugacities as low as IW-2.3 and pH2/pH2O as high as 24; and (5) SIMS analyses of water in iron-rich glasses equilibrated under variable fO2 conditions can be strongly influenced by matrix effects, even when the concentrations of water in the glasses are low. Our results can be used to constrain the entrapment pressure of the lunar melt inclusions of Hauri et al. (2011).

Diffusion experiments were conducted over a range of fO2 conditions from IW-2.2 to IW+6.7 and over a range of pH2/pH2O from nominally zero to ~10. The water concentrations measured in our quenched experimental glasses by SIMS and FTIR vary from a few ppm to ~430 ppm. Water concentration gradients are well described by models in which the diffusivity of water (D*water) is assumed to be constant. The relationship between D*water and water concentration is well described by a modified speciation model (Ni et al. 2012) in which both molecular water and hydroxyl are allowed to diffuse. The success of this modified speciation model for describing our results suggests that we have resolved the diffusivity of hydroxyl in basaltic melt for the first time. Best-fit values of D*water for our experiments on lunar basalt vary within a factor of ~2 over a range of pH2/pH2O from 0.007 to 9.7, a range of fO2 from IW-2.2 to IW+4.9, and a water concentration range from ~80 ppm to ~280 ppm. The relative insensitivity of our best-fit values of D*water to variations in pH2 suggests that H2 diffusion was not significant during degassing of the lunar glasses of Saal et al. (2008). D*water during dehydration and hydration in H2/CO2 gas mixtures are approximately the same, which supports an equilibrium boundary condition for these experiments. However, dehydration experiments into CO2 and CO/CO2 gas mixtures leave some scope for the importance of kinetics during dehydration into H-free environments. The value of D*water chosen by Saal et al. (2008) for modeling the diffusive degassing of the lunar volcanic glasses is within a factor of three of our measured value in our lunar basaltic melt at 1350 °C.

In Chapter 4 of this thesis, I document significant zonation in major, minor, trace, and volatile elements in naturally glassy olivine-hosted melt inclusions from the Siqueiros Fracture Zone and the Galapagos Islands. Components with a higher concentration in the host olivine than in the melt (MgO, FeO, Cr2O3, and MnO) are depleted at the edges of the zoned melt inclusions relative to their centers, whereas except for CaO, H2O, and F, components with a lower concentration in the host olivine than in the melt (Al2O3, SiO2, Na2O, K2O, TiO2, S, and Cl) are enriched near the melt inclusion edges. This zonation is due to formation of an olivine-depleted boundary layer in the adjacent melt in response to cooling and crystallization of olivine on the walls of the melt inclusions concurrent with diffusive propagation of the boundary layer toward the inclusion center.

Concentration profiles of some components in the melt inclusions exhibit multicomponent diffusion effects such as uphill diffusion (CaO, FeO) or slowing of the diffusion of typically rapidly diffusing components (Na2O, K2O) by coupling to slow diffusing components such as SiO2 and Al2O3. Concentrations of H2O and F decrease towards the edges of some of the Siqueiros melt inclusions, suggesting either that these components have been lost from the inclusions into the host olivine late in their cooling histories and/or that these components are exhibiting multicomponent diffusion effects.

A model has been developed of the time-dependent evolution of MgO concentration profiles in melt inclusions due to simultaneous depletion of MgO at the inclusion walls due to olivine growth and diffusion of MgO in the melt inclusions in response to this depletion. Observed concentration profiles were fit to this model to constrain their thermal histories. Cooling rates determined by a single-stage linear cooling model are 150–13,000 °C hr-1 from the liquidus down to ~1000 °C, consistent with previously determined cooling rates for basaltic glasses; compositional trends with melt inclusion size observed in the Siqueiros melt inclusions are described well by this simple single-stage linear cooling model. Despite the overall success of the modeling of MgO concentration profiles using a single-stage cooling history, MgO concentration profiles in some melt inclusions are better fit by a two-stage cooling history with a slower-cooling first stage followed by a faster-cooling second stage; the inferred total duration of cooling from the liquidus down to ~1000 °C is 40 s to just over one hour.

Based on our observations and models, compositions of zoned melt inclusions (even if measured at the centers of the inclusions) will typically have been diffusively fractionated relative to the initially trapped melt; for such inclusions, the initial composition cannot be simply reconstructed based on olivine-addition calculations, so caution should be exercised in application of such reconstructions to correct for post-entrapment crystallization of olivine on inclusion walls. Off-center analyses of a melt inclusion can also give results significantly fractionated relative to simple olivine crystallization.

All melt inclusions from the Siqueiros and Galapagos sample suites exhibit zoning profiles, and this feature may be nearly universal in glassy, olivine-hosted inclusions. If so, zoning profiles in melt inclusions could be widely useful to constrain late-stage syneruptive processes and as natural diffusion experiments.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:igneous petrology, diffusion, silicate melts, melt inclusions, the Moon
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Stolper, Edward M.
Thesis Committee:
  • Asimow, Paul David (chair)
  • Stolper, Edward M.
  • Eiler, John M.
  • Stevenson, David John
  • Rossman, George Robert
Defense Date:9 December 2015
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Earth and Space Sciences FellowshipPLANET14R-0040
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:12212015-153532580
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Zonation in Olivine-Hosted Melt Inclusions Petrochemistry of Jake_M: A Martian Mugearite DocumentLPSC abstract (2012) Solubility and Diffusivity of H-Bearing Species in Lunar Basaltic Melts abstract (2012) Solubility and Diffusivity of Water in Basic Silicate Melts at Low pH2O abstract (2013) Chemical zonation in olivine-hosted melt inclusions: A record of syn-eruptive cooling abstract (2011) Zonation of volatile and major elements in basaltic melt inclusions: a snapshot of syn-eruptive processes
Newcombe, Megan Eve0000-0002-8450-768X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9343
Deposited By: Megan Newcombe
Deposited On:05 Jan 2016 22:05
Last Modified:13 Feb 2017 20:38

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