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Viscosity of Fluids in Subduction Zones

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Science  23 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5657, pp. 513-516
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092282

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Abstract

The viscosities of aqueous fluids with 10 to 80 weight percent dissolved silicates have been measured at 600° to 950°C and 1.0 to 2.0 gigapascals by in situ observation of falling spheres in the diamond anvil cell. The viscosities at 800°C range from 10–4 to 100.5 pascal seconds. The combination of low viscosities with a favorable wetting angle makes silicate-rich fluid an efficient agent for material transport at low-volume fractions. Our results therefore suggest that there may be a direct relationship between the position of the volcanic front and the onset of complete miscibility between water and silicate melt in the subducting slab.

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