Pressure-Induced Coordination Changes in Alkali-Germanate Melts: An in Situ Spectroscopic Investigation

Science  05 Jun 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5062, pp. 1427-1430
DOI: 10.1126/science.256.5062.1427


The structure of liquid Na2Ge2O5·H2O, a silicate melt analog, has been studied with Raman spectroscopy to pressures of 2.2 gigapascals. Upon compression, a peak near ∼240 wavenumbers associated with octahedral GeO6 groups grows relative to a peak near ∼500 wavenumbers associated with tetrahedral GeO4 groups. This change corresponds to an increase in octahedral germanium in the liquid from near 0% at ambient pressures to >50% at a pressure of 2.2 gigapascals. Silicate liquids plausibly undergo similar coordination changes at depth in the Earth. Such structural changes may generate decreases in the fusion slopes of silicates at high pressures as well as neutrally buoyant magmas within the transition zone of the Earth's mantle.

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