Aqueous fluids in the Earth’s crust and mantle interact with the minerals they contact. These high temperature and pressure reactions result in the transfer of material as some elements are dissolved into the fluid, altering the original minerals, and sometimes producing new ones.

Back-scattered electron image of a diopside crystal after a solubility experiment in the piston cylinder. Forsterite (darker grey blocky crystals) and wollastonite (light colored blade-like crystals) are products of the reaction between water and diopside at high T-P.

We study this process, called metasomatism, by doing mineral solubility experiments in a piston cylinder apparatus. Our experiments seek to determine how much material is lost from minerals common in the deep crust and upper mantle as they are altered by aqueous fluids at high pressures and temperatures. These data are crucial for accurately modeling the mass transfer in Earth’s interior.

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