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Project Title
Carbon Storage and Partitioning in Upper Mantle Silicate Minerals
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Carbon is present in the upper mantle, but its distribution in silicate minerals and behavior during melting are not well known. We are undertaking high-pressure experiments (piston cylinder) on 13C-doped silicate melts in order to constrain quantitatively the behavior of carbon during silicate melting.

Experimental work at the University of Minnesota focused on the solubility of carbon in mafic silicate melts, and the growth of mantle minerals in 13C-doped silicate melt, using graphite inner capsules sealed within Pt outer capsules.  Experiments have yielded crystals large enough for NanoSIMS measurements of C content with detection limits for 13C ~0.007 ppm.  Analysis of the data on minerals and melts indicates very low C contents within all silicate minerals, but is suggestive of systematic differences in C content between Ca-rich and Ca-poor pyroxenes, as well as increases in C storage capacity in nominally carbon-free silicate minerals with increasing pressure.


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Reporting Year 2012 Click to expand

  • RY2012-1 - submitted on Jan 01, 2012

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    [2012-01-01] Twelve experiments yield crystals large enough for NanoSIMS analysis. Preliminary results indicate that C content of silicate minerals is low. There may be systematic differences in the C content of Ca-rich and Ca-poor pyroxenes. Carbon solubility in silicate minerals may increase with increasing pressure.

Reporting Year 2014 Click to expand

  • RY2014-1 - submitted on Jul 01, 2011

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    [2011-07-01] Assembled research team. Experiments are under way.
  • RY2014-2 - submitted on Jun 01, 2013

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    [2013-06-01] Thirty-five new experiments at 6 and 13 GPa in simplified SiO2-MgO system analyzed (Davide Novella experiments); paper in prep.
  • RY2014-3 - submitted on Apr 01, 2014

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    [2014-04-01] Ten additional experiments analyzed; paper in preparation on Minnesota experiments.
  • RY2014-4 - submitted on Aug 31, 2014

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    Rosenthal, A., Hauri, E.H. & Hirschmann, M.M. (2014). Experimental determination of C, F, and H partitioning between mantle minerals and carbonated basalt, CO2/Ba and CO2/Nb systematics of partial melting, and the CO2 contents of basaltic source regions, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. (submitted).
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