Proton conduction and hydrogen diffusion in olivine: An attempt to reconcile laboratory and field observations
and implications for the role of grain boundary diffusion in enhancing conductivity
Alan G. Jones
Proton conduction in olivine is directly related to the diffusion rate of hydrogen by the Nernst-Einstein equation,
but prior attempts to use this relationship have always invoked additional terms to try to reconcile laboratory measurements of
proton conduction and hydrogen diffusion data.
New diffusion experiments on olivine demonstrate that lattice diffusion associated to vacancies is indeed highly dependent on the
defect site where hydrogen is bonded, but from none of the sites is diffusion fast enough to explain the observed laboratory
proton conduction experiments.
Hydrogen diffusion associated to polarons (redox-exchange) is significantly faster but still cannot explain the low activation
energy typical of electrical conductivity measurements. A process of bulk diffusion, which combines lattice diffusion (either
associated to redox-exchange or vacancies) with the far faster grain boundary diffusion, explains the laboratory results, but
does not explain the field observations with an average grain size of 0.5-2 cm at 100 km below the Jagersfontein
kimberlite field on the Kaapvaal craton.
Either conduction is dominantly along well-interconnected grain boundaries of very fine-grained (0.01 mm) damp (80 wt ppm)
olivine grains or fine-grained (0.05 mm), wet (400 wt ppm) pyroxene grains, or another conduction mechanism must be primarily
responsible for the field observations.
If diffusion is the correct explanation, the conductivity below the Gibeon kimberlite field in Namibia is too high to explain by
increased thermal state alone of a diffusion process even for such fine-grained pyroxenes.
Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 43, 237-265, doi:10.1007/s00269-015-0790-5.
[PDF], [Supplementary Material]
MTNet Home Page
Alan's Home Page
Alan G Jones / 25 February 2016 /
alan.jones.geophysics -at- gmail.com