Melts and volatiles in Earth and planetary interiors: from atmosphere to core, from global cycles to the micro-scale, from transport dynamics to storage to geophysical detection

The global-scale cycling of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur etc. controls the mass, composition and state of the outermost volatile layer of terrestrial planets over time, thereby controlling their habitability. These planetary volatile cycles involve the atmosphere, hydrosphere, crust, mantle and perhaps even core. On geological timescales, they are controlled by plate tectonics and mantle convection, but also by magmatism. Indeed, mantle melting is a key process that partitions (volatile) elements between the various planetary reservoirs. On Earth, for instance, ingassing and outgassing mainly occur at subduction zones, and major sites of volcanism (i.e., mid-ocean ridges and hotspots), respectively. Indeed, major volatile cycles are balanced to first order through ingassing and outgassing, particularly on plate-tectonic planets such as Earth. In planetary interiors, volatiles are partitioned into the existing minerals, or stabilize minor phases such as diamond or various hydrous phases in the mantle and crust, something that directly influences the spatial distribution of melt formation. Conversely, melt transport induces volatile exchanges between planetary reservoirs and favors outgassing. Understanding the complex dynamics (e.g., multi-phase flow) of melt/fluid segregation or accumulation is thus crucial for understanding global-scale volatile/material cycling. Further, melt retention as well as volatile content and speciation strongly and non-linearly affect rock properties such as viscosity, modal mineralogy, melting behavior, oxidation state, seismic velocity and attenuation, electrical conductivity and density.

In this session, we invite contributions from researchers in all disciplines of the Earth and Planetary Sciences that study volatile cycling and reservoir exchanges through fluid/melt percolation as well as magmatism from regional to global scales, and from short to long timescales. We also invite contributions such as, e.g., on the effects of volatiles on material properties, melt stabilization and planetary surface conditions, related observations or processes. Experimental, observational, modeling, and truly integrated multidisciplinary studies are highly welcome.

Co-organized by EMRP1/GMPV2/NP1/PS3
Convener: Maxim Ballmer | Co-conveners: Nestor CerpaECSECS, Jasmeet Dhaliwal, Linda Kirstein, S. Shawn WeiECSECS
vPICO presentations
| Tue, 27 Apr, 15:30–17:00 (CEST)

vPICO presentations: Tue, 27 Apr

James Dottin, Jabrane Labidi, Matthew Jackson, and James Farquhar

The radiogenic Pb isotope compositions of basalts from the Samoan hotspot suggest various mantle endmembers contribute compositionally distinct material to lavas erupted at different islands [1]. Basalts from the Samoan islands sample contributions from all of the classical mantle endmembers, including extreme EM II and high 3He/4He components, as well as dilute contributions from the HIMU, EM I, and DM components. Here, we present multiple sulfur isotope data on sulfide extracted from subaerial and submarine whole rocks associated with several Samoan volcanoes—Malumalu, Malutut, Upolu, Savaii, and Tutuila—that sample the full range of geochemical heterogeneity at Samoa and allow for an assessment of the S-isotope compositions associated with the different mantle components sampled by the Samoan hotspot. We observe variable S concentrations (10-1000 ppm) and δ34S values (-0.29‰ to +4.84‰ ± 0.3, 2σ). The variable S concentrations likely reflect weathering, sulfide segregation and degassing processes. The range in δ34S reflects mixing between the primitive mantle and recycled components, and isotope fractionations associated with degassing. The majority of samples reveal Δ33S within uncertainty of Δ33S=0 ‰ ± 0.008, suggesting Δ33S is relatively well mixed within the Samoan mantle plume. Important exceptions to this observation include: (1) a negative Δ33S (-0.018‰ ±0.008, 2σ) from a rejuvenated basalt on Upolu island (associated with a diluted EM I component) and (2) a previously documented small (but resolvable) Δ33S values (up to +0.027±0.016) associated with the Vai Trend (associated with a diluted HIMU component) [2]. The variability we observed in Δ33S is interpreted to reflect contributions of sulfur of different origins and likely multiple crustal protoliths. Δ36S vs. Δ33S relationships suggest all recycled S is of post-Archean origin. The heterogeneous S isotope values and distinct isotopic compositions associated with the various compositional trends confirms a prior hypothesis; unique crustal materials are heterogeneously delivered to the Samoan mantle plume and compositionally influence the individual groups of islands.

[1] Jackson et al. (2014), Nature; [2] Dottin et al. (2020), EPSL

How to cite: Dottin, J., Labidi, J., Jackson, M., and Farquhar, J.: Sulfur isotope evidence of geochemical zonation of the Samoan mantle plume, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6416,, 2021.

Finlay Stuart, Ugur Balci, and Jean-Alix Barrat

Basaltic rocks generated by upwelling mantle plumes display a range of trace element and isotope compositions indicative of strong heterogeneity in deep material brought to Earth surface.  Helium isotopes are an unrivalled tracer of the deep mantle in plume-derived basalts.  It is frequently difficult to identify the composition of the deep mantle component as He isotopes rarely correlate with incompatible trace element and radiogenic isotope tracers. It is supposed that this is due to the high He concentration of the deep mantle compared to degassed/enriched mantle reservoirs dominating the He in mixtures, although this is far from widely accepted.  The modern Afar plume is natural laboratory for testing the prevailing paradigm.

The 3He/4He of basalt glasses from 26°N to 11°N along the Red Sea spreading axis increases systematically from 7.9 to 15 Ra. Strong along-rift relationships between 3He/4He and incompatible trace element ratios are consistent with a binary mixture between moderately enriched shallow asthenospheric mantle in the north and plume mantle evident in basalts from the Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti (the Ramad enriched component of Barrat et al. 1990).  The high-3He/4He basalts have trace element-isotopic compositions that are similar, but not identical, to the high 3He/4He (22 Ra) high Ti (HT2) flood basalts erupted during the initial phase of the Afar plume volcanism (Rogers et al. in press). This suggests that the deep mantle component in the modern Afar plume has a HIMU-like composition. From the hyperbolic 3He/4He-K/Th-Rb/La mixing relationships we determine that the upwelling deep mantle has 3-5 times higher He concentration than the asthenosphere mantle beneath the northern Red Sea.

Barrat et al. 1990.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters 101, 233-247.

How to cite: Stuart, F., Balci, U., and Barrat, J.-A.: Defining the composition of the deep mantle and the primordial He inventory of the Afar plume, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10891,, 2021.

Hyunseong Kim, Youngjun Lee, Doyoung Kim, and Changyeol Lee

Quaternary Intraplate volcanoes are sparsely distributed in Northeast Asia including Northeast China and Korean Peninsula and roles of the stagnant Pacific plate in the volcanoes have been studied. Recent geochemical studies suggest that the hydrated mantle in the mantle transition zone was incorporated in the wet plumes that were generated from the hydrated layer atop the stagnant slab, and the ascending wet plumes experienced partial melting in the shallow asthenosphere. To quantitatively evaluate the incorporation of the mantle in the transition zone into the wet plumes and their partial melting in the asthenosphere, we conducted a series of two-dimensional thermochemical numerical models by including the olivine-wadsleyite phase transition at the 410km discontinuity. The buoyancy is controlled by temperature, bound-water content and mineral phase. Viscosity reduction by the bound-water is added to the temperature-dependent viscosity. Particle tracers are used to track the incorporation of the mantle in the transition zone into the wet plumes. We vary the Clapeyron slope of the phase transition and water distributions in the mantle transition zone and hydrated layer of the stagnant slab to evaluate their effects on the behavior of the wet plumes. Results show that multiple wet plumes generated from atop the stagnant slab incorporate the hydrated mantle in the transition zone. Due to the endothermic phase transition at the 410 km discontinuity, the ascending wet plumes are retarded and laterally migrated beneath the 410 km discontinuity for several million years, and enter the overlying asthenosphere as merged large wet plumes. The ascending merged wet plumes laterally spread beneath the thermal lithosphere and experience partial melting, consistent with the interpretation based on the geochemical studies. The spacing of the merged wet plumes (~440 km) caused by the phase transition at the 410 km discontinuity is consistent with the sparse volcano distribution in Northeast China and Korean Peninsula.

How to cite: Kim, H., Lee, Y., Kim, D., and Lee, C.: Behaviors of Wet Plume Controlled by Olivine-Wadsleyite Phase Transition and Water Distribution, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1944,, 2021.

Matthew Likely, Jeroen van Hunen, Linda Kirstein, Godfrey Fitton, Lara Kalnins, Jennifer Jenkins, and Ana Negredo

Approximately 90% of all magmatism on Earth can be explained through plate tectonics; the remainder is associated with intraplate volcanism. In large part, this intraplate volcanism can be attributed to mantle plumes, yet this does not represent all known examples. A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain non-plume related intraplate volcanism. One geodynamically viable theory through the process of small-scale convection associated with lithospheric instabilities evolving into edge driven convection (EDC) in regions which possess large variations in lithospheric thickness. One such intraplate volcanic example that may be explained by this process is the Cameroon Volcanic Line, which forms a linear chain of non-age progressive volcanoes that straddle the African continental lithosphere and the Atlantic oceanic lithosphere.

In this study we compute numerical models utilising mantle convection modelling software ‘ASPECT’, to investigate the initiation, evolution and potential of melt generation as a result of EDC through geological time, applying these models to the Cameroon Volcanic Line. Our preliminary modelling results suggest that episodic intraplate melting events can indeed be generated through edge-driven convection. But in order to do so, mantle temperatures need to be higher than average to produce sufficient melt from a typical upper mantle source. We therefore investigate the possibility that more enriched mantle lithosphere, destabilised by the assembly and breakup of Pangaea, could flow into the source region of the Cameroon volcanism, allowing the production of similar quantities of melt with less elevated mantle temperatures. We present results on how lithospheric development, evolution and stability, as well as supercontinent cycles can influence intraplate volcanism.

How to cite: Likely, M., van Hunen, J., Kirstein, L., Fitton, G., Kalnins, L., Jenkins, J., and Negredo, A.: Connecting mantle flow below passive margins and intraplate melt generation: an application to the Cameroon Volcanic Line., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8489,, 2021.

Gautier Nicoli and Silvio Ferrero

The global geological volatile cycle (H, C, N) plays an important role in the long term self-regulation of the Earth system. However, the complex interaction between its deep, solid Earth component (i.e. crust and mantle), Earth’s fluid envelope (i.e. atmosphere and hydrosphere) and plate tectonic processes is a subject of ongoing debate. Here, we want to draw attention to how the presence of primary, pristine melt (MI) and fluid (FI) inclusions in high grade metamorphic minerals could help constrain the crustal component of the volatile cycle. We review the distribution of pristine MI and FI throughout Earth’s history, from the onset of plate tectonics at ca. 3.0 Ga to the present day. Combined with thermodynamic modelling, our compilation indicates that periods of well-established plate tectonics regimes at 0-1.2 Ga and 1.8-2.0 Ga, might be more prone to the reworking of supracrustal lithologies and the storage of volatiles at lower crustal depths. We then argue that the lower crust might constitute an important, although temporary, volatile storage unit, capable to influence the composition of the surface envelopes through the mean of weathering, crustal thickening, partial melting and crustal assimilation during volcanic activity.

Such hypothesis has implication beyond the scope of metamorphic petrology as it potentially links geodynamic mechanisms to habitable surface conditions. MI and FI in metamorphic rocks is a rich but still relatively uncharted realm. In the near future, a concerted research effort should aim to find and characterize new instances of pristine inclusions in periods of the Earth’s history currently underrepresented in the inclusion database, e.g. the Boring Billion. The merging of the messages of thousands of minuscule droplets of fluids trapped in the deepest roots of the continental plates will then eventually provide a truly comprehensive portrait of how the Earth’s evolution proceeds through the geological timescale.


How to cite: Nicoli, G. and Ferrero, S.: Plate tectonics and volatiles: the nanorock connexion, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2066,, 2021.

Julien Reynes and Jörg Hermann

The amount of water stored as OH-defects in nominally anhydrous minerals in the deep mantle is poorly constrained and its direct quantification can only be accessed by the analysis of mantle xenoliths. While the vast majority of xenoliths are peridotites and minor pyroxenites, some very rare xenoliths found in kimberlite pipes display an eclogitic mineral assemblage. We investigated three eclogite xenoliths from the 128 m.y. old Robert Victor kimberlite from South Africa that display an assemblage of garnet and omphacite with two samples showing additional kyanite, suggesting low-pressure gabbroic rock as protolith. Thermobarometry estimations based on Fe-Mg partitioning between garnet and pyroxene gives temperatures of 1100-1250 °C. When projected on the cratonic geotherm (Griffin & O’Reilly 2007) an equilibrium depth of 200-210 km is obtained, confirming that these rocks come from the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary. Therefore these fragments might be key witnesses to understand the deep cycling of water in the mantle.

This study focuses on the H2O quantification in the three rock-forming minerals using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Omphacite contains 50-250 ppm H2O, kyanite contains 40-60 ppm H2O and garnet of only one eclogite contains 40 ppm H2O. Garnet and omphacite with the highest OH content are enriched in Ca.

The use of advanced mapping and profiling techniques enabled the investigation of the spatial repartition of the OH component in these minerals. High-resolution mapping (5.6 µm) of kyanite reveals diffusive gain of OH at the rim of the crystal that is interpreted as hydration during interaction with the kimberlitic melt. The OH plateau in the core of kyanite must therefore have been acquired previously, suggesting that this is residual OH that has been transported by subduction to the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary by a once hydrated gabbroic protolith. Our results have implications for the retention of hydrogen over long timescale at the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and suggest that the deep cycling of water has been running since Archean times.


Griffin, W. L., & O'Reilly, S. Y. (2007). Cratonic lithospheric mantle: is anything subducted?. Episodes, 30(1), 43-53.

How to cite: Reynes, J. and Hermann, J.: Eclogite xenoliths document water cycling at the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5932,, 2021.

Natalia Solomatova and Razvan Caracas

Estimating the fluxes and speciation of volatiles during the existence of a global magma ocean is fundamental for understanding the cooling history of the early Earth and for quantifying the volatile budget of the present day. Using first-principles molecular dynamics, we predict the vaporization rate of carbon and hydrogen at the interface between the magma ocean and the hot dense atmosphere, just after the Moon-forming impact. The concentration of carbon and the oxidation state of the melts affect the speciation of the vaporized carbon molecules (e.g., the ratio of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide), but do not appear to affect the overall volatility of carbon. We find that carbon is rapidly devolatilized even under pressure, while hydrogen remains mostly dissolved in the melt during the devolatilization process of carbon. Thus, in the early stages of the global magma ocean, significantly more carbon than hydrogen would have been released into the atmosphere, and it is only after the atmospheric pressure decreased, that much of the hydrogen devolatilized from the melt. At temperatures of 5000 K (and above), we predict that bubbles in the magma ocean contained a significant fraction of silicate vapor, increasing with decreasing depths with the growth of the bubbles, affecting the transport and rheological properties of the magma ocean. As the temperature cooled, the silicate species condensed back into the magma ocean, leaving highly volatile atmophile species, such as CO2 and H2O, as the dominant species in the atmosphere. Due to the greenhouse nature of CO2, its concentration in the atmosphere would have had a considerable effect on the cooling rate of the early Earth.

How to cite: Solomatova, N. and Caracas, R.: The vaporization behavior of carbon and hydrogen from the early global magma ocean, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10847,, 2021.

Vojtech Patocka, Nicola Tosi, and Enrico Calzavarini

We evaluate the equilibrium concentration of a thermally convecting suspension that is cooled from above and in which
solid crystals are self-consistently generated in the thermal boundary layer near the top. In a previous study (Patočka et
al., 2020), we investigated the settling rate of solid particles suspended in a highly vigorous (Ra = 108 , 1010, and 1012 ),
finite Prandtl number (Pr = 10, 50) convection. In this follow-up study we additionally employ the model of crystal
generation and growth of Jarvis and Woods (1994), instead of using particles with a predefined size and density that are
uniformly injected into the carrier fluid.

We perform a series of numerical experiments of particle-laden thermal convection in 2D and 3D Cartesian geometry
using the freely available code CH4 (Calzavarini, 2019). Starting from a purely liquid phase, the solid fraction gradually
grows until an equilibrium is reached in which the generation of the solid phase balances the loss of crystals due to
sedimentation at the bottom of the fluid. For a range of predefined density contrasts of the solid phase with respect to
the density of the fluid (ρpf = [0, 2]), we measure the time it takes to reach such equilibrium. Both this time and
the equilibrium concentration depend on the average settling rate of the particles and are thus non-trival to compute for
particle types that interact with the large-scale circulation of the fluid (see Patočka et al., 2020).

We apply our results to the cooling of a large volume of magma, spanning from a large magma chamber up to a
global magma ocean. Preliminary results indicate that, as long as particle re-entrainment is not a dominant process, the
separation of crystals from the fluid is an efficient process. Fractional crystallization is thus expected and the suspended
solid fraction is typically small, prohibiting phenomena in which the feedback of crystals on the fluid begins to govern the
physics of the system (e.g. Sparks et al, 1993).

Patočka V., Calzavarini E., and Tosi N.(2020). Settling of inertial particles in turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection.
Physical Review Fluids, 26(4) 883-889.

Jarvis, R. A. and Woods, A. W.(1994). The nucleation, growth and settling of crystals from a turbulently convecting
fluid. J. Fluid. Mech, 273 83-107.

Sparks, R., Huppert, H., Koyaguchi, T. et al (1993). Origin of modal and rhythmic igneous layering by sedimentation in
a convecting magma chamber. Nature, 361, 246-249.

Calzavarini, E (2019). Eulerian–Lagrangian fluid dynamics platform: The ch4-project. Software Impacts, 1, 100002.

How to cite: Patocka, V., Tosi, N., and Calzavarini, E.: A numerical study of the nucleation, growth and settling of crystals from a turbulent convecting fluid, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14371,, 2021.

Laëtitia Lebec, Stéphane Labrosse, Adrien Morison, and Paul Tackley

The existence of a high pressure ice layer between the silicate core and the liquid ocean in large icy moons and ocean worlds is usually seen as a barrier to habitability, preventing the compounds needed for life to flow into the ocean. More recently, three studies from Choblet et al [1] and Kalousová et al [2, 3] challenged that hypothesis and showed that, in certain conditions, exchanges were possible between the core and the ocean, allowing transport of salts toward the ocean. Here, we consider an effect not taken into account in these previous studies: the possibility of mass exchange between the ice and ocean layers by phase change. Convective stresses in the solid create a topography of the interface which can be erased by melting and freezing if flow on the liquid side is efficient. This effect is included in a convection model as a phase change boundary condition, allowing a non-zero vertical velocity at the surface of the HP ice layer, which has a significant impact on the flow dynamics and enables exchanges with the ocean by fusion and crystallization of the ice at the top interface, even without partial melting in the bulk of the ice layer. These exchanges are directly linked to the melting capacity of the ice at the interface between the HP ice layer and the core, depending on the Rayleigh number and the efficiency of convection. Then, considering this new condition at the interface between the HP ice layer and the liquid ocean, we propose a scaling of the bottom temperature and the vertical velocity. Applied to a specific celestial body, as Ganymede or Titan, it would be the first step to conclude about its habitability.



[1] G. Choblet, G. Tobie, C. Sotin, K. Kalousová, O. Grasset (2017). Heat transport in the high-pressure ice mantle of large icy moons. Icarus, 285, 252-262

[2] K. Kalousová, C. Sotin, G. Choblet, G. Tobie, O. Grasset (2018). Two-phase convection in Ganymede’s high-pressure ice layer — Implications for its geological evolution. Icarus, 299, 133-147

[3] K.Kalousová, C. Sotin (2018). Melting in High-Pressure Ice Layers of Large Ocean Worlds—Implications for Volatiles Transport. Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, 8096-8103.

How to cite: Lebec, L., Labrosse, S., Morison, A., and Tackley, P.: Scaling of convection in high-Pressure ice layers of large icy moons and implications for habitability, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12691,, 2021.

Shi Sim, Marc Spiegelman, Dave Stegman, and Cian Wilson

Melt transport beneath the lithosphere is elusive. With a distinct viscosity and density from the surrounding mantle, magmatic melt moves on a different time scale as the surrounding mantle. To resolve the temporal scale necessary to accurately capture melt transport in the mantle, the model simulations become numerically expensive quickly. Recent computational advances make possible two-phase numerical explorations to understand magma transport in the mantle. We review results from a suite of two-phase models applied to the mid-ocean ridges, where we varied half-spreading rate and intrinsic mantle permeability using new openly available models, with the goal of understanding melt focusing beneath mid-ocean ridges and its relevance to the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB). Here, we highlight the importance of viscosities for the melt focusing mechanisms. In addition, magmatic porosity waves that are a natural consequence of these two-phase flow formulations. We show that these waves could explain long-period temporal variations in the seafloor bathymetry at the Southeast Indian Ridge.

How to cite: Sim, S., Spiegelman, M., Stegman, D., and Wilson, C.: Magma transport beneath mid-ocean ridges, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5881,, 2021.

Adina E. Pusok, Richard F. Katz, Dave A. May, and Yuan Li

In the classical model, mid-ocean ridges (MOR) sit above an asthenospheric corner flow that is symmetrical about a vertical plane aligned with the ridge axis. However, geophysical observations of MORs indicate strong asymmetry in melt production and upwelling across the axis (e.g., Melt Seismic Team, 1998, Rychert et al., 2020). In order to reproduce the observed asymmetry, models of plate-driven (passive) flow require unrealistically large forcing, such as rapid asthenospheric cross-axis flow (~30 cm/yr) at high asthenospheric viscosities (~10^21 Pa.s), or temperature anomalies of >100 K beneath the MELT region in the East Pacific Rise (Toomey et al, 2002). 

Buoyancy-driven flows are known to produce symmetry-breaking behaviour in fluid systems. A small contribution from buoyancy-driven (active) flow promotes asymmetry of upwelling and melting beneath MORs (Katz, 2010). Previously, buoyancy has been modelled as a consequence of the retained melt fraction, but depletion of the residue (and heterogeneity) should be involved at a similar level. 

Here, we present new 2-D mid-ocean ridge models that incorporate density variations within the partial-melt zone due to the low density of the liquid relative to the solid (porous buoyancy), and the Fe/Mg partitioning between melt and residue (compositional buoyancy). The model is built after Katz (2010) using a new finite difference staggered grid framework for solving partial differential equations (FD-PDE) for single-/two-phase flow magma dynamics (Pusok et al., 2020). The framework uses PETSc (Balay et al., 2020) and aims to separate the user input from the discretisation of governing equations, thus allowing for extensible development and a robust framework for testing. 

Results show that compositional buoyancy beneath the ridge is negative and can partially balance porous buoyancy. Despite this, models with both chemical and porous buoyancy are susceptible to asymmetric forcing. Asymmetrical upwelling in this context is obtained for forcing that is entirely plausible. A scaling analysis is performed to determine the relative importance of the contribution of compositional and porous buoyancy to upwelling, which is followed by predictions on the crustal thickness production and asymmetry beneath the ridge axis. 

Balay et al. (2020), PETSc Users Manual, ANL-95/11-Revision 3.13.

Katz (2010), G-cubed, 11(Q0AC07), 1-29,

Melt Seismic Team (1998), Science, 280(5367), 1215–1218, 

Pusok et al. (2020), EGU General Assembly 2020, EGU2020-18690 

Rychert et al. (2020), JGR Solid Earth, 125, e2018JB016463. https://doi. org/10.1029/2018JB016463  

Toomey et al. (2002), EPSL, 200(3-4), 287-295,

How to cite: Pusok, A. E., Katz, R. F., May, D. A., and Li, Y.: Buoyancy-driven flow beneath mid-ocean ridges: the role of chemical heterogeneity, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10306,, 2021.

Mara Arts, Boris Kaus, and Nicolas Berlie

Understanding the evolution and generation of large scale igneous bodies is important to understand the evolution of the crust. The way igneous bodies are constructed and the timescale of construction control the location, volume and composition of melt (Annen, 2015). Despite many previous studies that address the construction of igneous bodies, it remains unclear why melt focusses within a specific area. Igneous bodies are usually the result of multiple magmatic pulses that solidify in the same location. In many cases the time between subsequent pulses is sufficiently long for the magma of one pulse to completely solidified before the next pulse arrives.

Magma will rise when the buoyancy of the magma is greater than the resisting forces in the host rock. The rising magma will however not always follow a vertical path to the surface. Variables like the direction of the least compressive stress, the presence of folding or faulting and weak contacts between layers are all factors that can cause melt to follow a different pathway. In the case of multiple pulses, the effects of earlier pulses can alter these factors. Thermal and chemical alteration is thought to lead to new preferred paths for the melt.

The granitic laccolith in Torres del Paine natural park in the south of Chile is a particularly well-studied example where magma seems to have followed the same path from the lower magma chamber to the present location of the laccolith over multiple pulses. This laccolith consists of three pulses of granitic magma that intruded into folded sedimentary materials over a timespan of approximately 90ka (Michel et al., 2008), all through the same same deeder channel. The time between pulses was sufficiently long for the magma to completely solidify. Therefore, thermal weakening can possibly be excluded as a reason why the magma followed the same path multiple times. Yer, why the feeder zone stayed in the same location for all pulses remains poorly understood.

Here, we therefore present numerical simulations in which we model multiple magma pulses and track whether multiple pulses follow the same path. The pulses start in a mid-crustal magma chamber and rise upwards through a folded host rock. We will employ a newly developed, thermomechanical parallel staggered finite difference code for that takes visco-elasto plastic rheologies into account. Systematic simulations are presented in which we test the effect of pulse-intervals, fold wavelengths of the host rocks, intrusion temperature and viscosities as well as the effect of preexisting weaknesses on the subsequent pathways of the magma.


[1] Annen, C., Blundy, J. D., Leuthold, J., & Sparks, R. S. J. (2015). Construction and evolution of igneous bodies: Towards an integrated perspective of crustal magmatism. Lithos, 230, 206-221.

[2] Michel, J., Baumgartner, L., Putlitz, B., Schaltegger, U., & Ovtcharova, M. (2008). Incremental growth of the Patagonian Torres del Paine laccolith over 90 ky. Geology, 36(6), 459-462.

How to cite: Arts, M., Kaus, B., and Berlie, N.: Numerically modeling routes of sequential magma pulses in the upper crust, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6191,, 2021.

Sara Vulpius and Lena Noack

The process of fractional crystallization within a magma body has an influence on the solubility and thus on the associated release of volatiles. Nevertheless, this mechanism is widely neglected in the literature. Due to cooling of an intrusion, nominally anhydrous minerals precipitate from the melt. These minerals mainly incorporate elements that are compatible with their crystal lattice. Since volatiles such as H2O and CO2 behave like incompatible elements, they accumulate in the remaining melt. At a certain point, the melt is saturated and the exsolution of the volatiles initiates. The solubility is determined by several parameters like the lithostatic and the partial pressure, the temperature and the melt composition. 
In this study, we investigate the effect of these parameters as well as the impact of fractional crystallization on the solubility and the related volatile release. We focus on the exsolution of H2O and CO2 from basaltic magma bodies within the lithosphere. To determine the fate of the accumulating volatiles, we compare the density of the developing liquid phase (volatiles and residual melt) with the density of the host rock. If the host rock has a higher density, the liquid phase will ascent either directly to the surface or to shallower levels of the crust. Furthermore, we take into account the possibility that hydrous minerals (e.g., amphibole) are precipitated during fractional crystallization or due to a reaction with the surrounding rock. 

How to cite: Vulpius, S. and Noack, L.: Effects on the solubility and the volatile release from magmatic intrusions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14267,, 2021.

Nestor Cerpa, Diane Arcay, and José Alberto Padrón-Navarta

The water exchange between the Earth’s surface and the deep interior is a prime process for the geochemical evolution of our planet and its dynamics. The degassing of water from the mantle takes place through volcanism whereas mantle regassing occurs through the subduction of H2O chemically bound to hydrous minerals. The (im)balance between degassing and regassing controls the budget of surficial liquid water over geological timescales, i.e, the long-term global sea level. Continental freeboard constraints show that the mean-sea level has remained relatively constant in the last 540 Ma (changes less than about 100 m), thus suggesting a limited imbalance. However, thermopetrological models of water fluxes at present-day subduction zones predict that regassing exceeds degassing by about 50% which, if extrapolated to the past, would have induced a drop inconsistent with the estimations of the long-term sea-level. We have made the case that these inconsistencies arise from thermodynamic predictions for the hydrated lithospheric mantle mineralogy that are poorly constrained at a high pressure (P) and temperature (T). In our study, we thus have revised the global-water flux calculations in subduction zones using petrological constraints on post-antigorite assemblages from recent laboratory experimental data on natural peridotites under high-PT conditions [e.g. Maurice et al, 2018].

We model the thermal state of all present-day mature subduction zones along with petrological modeling using the thermodynamic code Perple_X and the most updated version of the thermodynamic database of Holland and Powell [2011]. For the modeling of peridotite, we build a hybrid phase diagram that combines thermodynamic calculations at moderate PT and experimental data at high PT (> 6 GPa- 600˚C). Our updated thermopetrological model reveals that the hydrated mantle efficiently dehydrates upon the breakdown of the hydrous aluminous-phase E before reaching 250 km in all but the coldest subduction zones. Further subducting slab dehydration is expected between 300-350 km depths, regardless of its thermal state, as a result of lawsonite breakdown in the gabbroic crust. Overall, we predict that present-day global water retention in subducting plates beyond a depth of 350 km barely exceeds the estimations of mantle degassing for average thicknesses of subducting serpentinized mantle subducting at the trenches of up to 6 km. Finally, our models quantitatively support the steady-state sea level scenario over geological times.


Maurice, J., Bolfan-Casanova, N., Padrón-Navarta, J. A., Manthilake, G., Hammouda, T., Hénot, J. M., & Andrault, D. (2018). The stability of hydrous phases beyond antigorite breakdown for a magnetite-bearing natural serpentinite between 6.5 and 11 GPa. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 173(10), 86.

Holland, T. J. B., & Powell, R. (2011). An improved and extended internally consistent thermodynamic dataset for phases of petrological interest, involving a new equation of state for solids. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 29(3), 333-383.

How to cite: Cerpa, N., Arcay, D., and Padrón-Navarta, J. A.: Limited subduction of water to mid-upper mantle depths predicted by the phase assemblages in hydrated peridotites with natural chemical composition at high-PT conditions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4015,, 2021.

Julia Marleen Schmidt and Lena Noack

When partial melt occurs in the mantle, redistribution of trace elements between the solid mantle material and partial melt takes place. Partition coefficients play an important role when determining the amount of trace elements that get redistributed into the melt. Due to a lower density compared to surrounding solid rock, partial melt that was generated in the upper mantle will rise towards the surface, leaving the upper mantle depleted in incompatible trace elements and an enriched crust. Studies investigating trace element partitioning in the mantle typically rely on constant partition coefficients throughout the mantle, even though it is known that partition coefficients depend on pressure, temperature, and composition. Between the pressures of 0-15 GPa, partition coefficients vary by two orders of magnitude along both, solidus and liquidus. Since partition coefficients exhibit a parabolic relationship in an Onuma diagram, a similar variation is expected for all trace element partition coefficients that can be derived from the sodium partition coefficients.

In this study, we developed a thermodynamic model for sodium in clinopyroxene after Blundy et al. (1995). With the thermodynamic model results, we were able to deduce a P-T dependent equation for sodium partitioning that is applicable up to 12 GPa between the peridotite solidus and liquidus. Because sodium is an almost strain-free element in jadeite, it can be used as a reference to model partition coefficients for other elements, including heat producing elements like K, Th, and U. This gives us the opportunity to insert P-T dependent partition coefficient calculations of any trace element into mantle melting models, which will have a big impact on the accuracy of elemental redistribution calculations and therefore, if the partitioning of the heat producing elements is taken into account, also the evolution of the mantle and crust.

Blundy, J. et al. (1995): Sodium partitioning between clinopyroxene and silicate melts, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 15501-15515.

Schmidt, J.M. and Noack, L. (2021): Parameterizing a model of clinopyroxene/melt partition coefficients for sodium to higher upper mantle pressures (to be submitted)

How to cite: Schmidt, J. M. and Noack, L.: Modelling clinopyroxene/melt partition coefficients for higher upper mantle pressures , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12478,, 2021.

Qingyang Hu, Mingqiang Hou, and Yu He

At planetary interior conditions, water ice has been proved to enter a superionic phase recently since it was predicted about 30-year ago. Hydrogen in superionic water become liquid-like, and move freely within solid oxygen lattice. Under extreme pressure and temperature conditions of Earth’s deep mantle, the solid-superionic transition can also occur readily in the pyrite-type FeO2Hx, a candidate mineral in the lower mantle and probably also in other hydrous minerals. We find that when the pressure increases beyond 73 GPa at room temperature, symmetric hydroxyl bonds are softened and the H+ (or proton) become diffusive within the vicinity of its crystallographic site. Increasing temperature under pressure, the diffusivity of hydrogen is extended beyond individual unit cell to cover the entire solid, and the electrical conductivity soars, indicating a transition to the superionic state which is characterized by freely-moving proton and solid FeO2 lattice. The superionic hydrogen will dramatically change the geophysical picture of electrical conductivity and magnetism, as well as geochemical processes of hydrogen isotopic mixing and redox equilibria at local regions of Earth’s deep interiors.

How to cite: Hu, Q., Hou, M., and He, Y.: Solid to superionic transition in iron oxide-hydroxide, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-817,, 2021.

Alexander H. Frank, Robert van Geldern, Anssi Myrttinen, Martin Zimmer, Johannes A. C. Barth, and Bettina Strauch

CO2 emissions from geological sources have been recognized as an important input to the global carbon cycle. In regions without active volcanism, mines provide an extraordinary opportunity to observe dynamics of geogenic degassing close to its source.

High temporal resolution of stable carbon isotopes allows to outline temporal and interdependent dynamics of geogenic CO2 contributions. We present data from an active underground salt mine in central Germany that were collected on site with a field-deployed laser isotope spectrometer.

Throughout the 34-day measurement period, total CO2 concentrations varied between 805 ppmV (5th percentile) and 1370 ppmV (95th percentile). With a 400 ppm atmospheric background concentration, an isotope mixing model enabled the separation of geogenic (16–27 %) from highly dynamic contributions from anthropogenic CO2-sources (21–54 %). The geogenic fraction was inversely correlated to established CO2 concentrations that were driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions within the mine. This indicates gradient-driven diffusion along microcracks.

Read more about this work in our open access publication in Scientific Reports at:

How to cite: Frank, A. H., van Geldern, R., Myrttinen, A., Zimmer, M., Barth, J. A. C., and Strauch, B.: Geological CO2 contributions quantified by high-temporal resolution carbon stable isotope monitoring in a salt mine, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13234,, 2021.