Densities of Liquid Silicates at High Pressures

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Science  30 Nov 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4678, pp. 1071-1074
DOI: 10.1126/science.226.4678.1071


Densities of molten silicates at high pressures (up to ∼230 kilobars) have been measured for the first time with shock-wave techniques. For a model basaltic composition (36 mole percent anorthite and 64 mole percent diopside), a bulk modulus Ks, of ∼230 kilobars and a pressure derivative (dKs/dP) of ∼4 were derived. Some implications of these results are as follows: (i) basic to ultrabasic melts become denser than olivine-and pyroxene-rich host mantle at pressures of 60 to 100 kilobars; (ii) there is a maximum depth from which basaltic melt can rise within terrestrial planetary interiors; (iii) the slopes of silicate solidi [(dTm/dP), where Tm is the temperature] may become less steep at high pressures; and (iv) enriched mantle reservoirs may have developed by downward segregation of melt early in Earth history.

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