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Transcrystalline Melt Migration and Earth's Mantle

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Science  10 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5801, pp. 970-974
DOI: 10.1126/science.1132485

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Abstract

Plate tectonics and volcanism involve the formation, migration, and interaction of magma and gas. Experiments show that melt inclusions subjected to a thermal gradient migrate through olivine crystals, under the kinetic control of crystal-melt interface mechanisms. Exsolved gas bubbles remain fixed and eventually separate from the melt. Scaled to thermal gradients in Earth's mantle and geological times, our results account for the grain-scale segregation of primitive melts, reinterpret CO2-rich fluid inclusions as escaped from melt, and question the existence of a free, deeply percolating fluid phase. Melt migration experiments also allow us to quantify crystal growth kinetics at very low undercoolings in conditions appropriate to many natural systems.

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