Fluids of the Lower Crust: Deep Is Different Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/1338-9608-4977-3836-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2018


  • Deep fluids are important for the evolution and properties of the lower continental and arc crust in tectonically active settings. They comprise four components: H2O, nonpolar gases, salts, and rock-derived solutes. Contrasting behavior of H2O-gas and H2O-salt mixtures yields immiscibility and potential separation of phases with different chemical properties. Equilibrium thermodynamic modeling of fluid-rock interaction using simple ionic species known from shallow-crustal systems yields solutions too dilute to be consistent with experiments and resistivity surveys, especially if CO2 is added. Therefore, additional species must be present, and H2O-salt solutions likely explain much of the evidence for fluid action in high-pressure settings. At low salinity, H2O-rich fluids are powerful solvents for aluminosilicate rock components that are dissolved as polymerized clusters. Addition of salts changes solubility patterns, but aluminosilicate contents may remain high. Fluids with Xsalt = 0.05 to 0.4 in equilibrium with model crustal rocks have bulk conductivities of 10−1.5 to 100 S/m at porosity of 0.001. Such fluids are consistent with observed conductivity anomalies and are capable of the mass transfer seen in metamorphic rocks exhumed from the lower crust.


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