Carbon Storage and Partitioning in Upper Mantle Silicate Minerals Project uri icon

DCO ID 11121/2210-3646-2595-4524-CC


  • Carbon is present in the upper mantle, but its distribution in silicate minerals and behavior during melting are not well known. We are undertaking high-pressure experiments (piston cylinder) on 13C-doped silicate melts in order to constrain quantitatively the behavior of carbon during silicate melting.

    Experimental work at the University of Minnesota focused on the solubility of carbon in mafic silicate melts, and the growth of mantle minerals in 13 C-doped silicate melt, using graphite inner capsules sealed within Pt outer capsules.  Experiments have yielded crystals large enough for NanoSIMS measurements of C content with detection limits for 13 C ~0.007 ppm.  Analysis of the data on minerals and melts indicates very low C contents within all silicate minerals, but is suggestive of systematic differences in C content between Ca-rich and Ca-poor pyroxenes, as well as increases in C storage capacity in nominally carbon-free silicate minerals with increasing pressure.


date/time interval

  • April 2011 -