Are subduction zone magmas born oxidised?

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The redox state of the Earth’s mantle controls the valency of elements such as Fe and the speciation of volatiles (e.g. H, C and S) that degas from volcanoes and ultimately make up the atmosphere. Whether the redox state of basaltic magmas, which form by partial melting of the mantle, accurately reflects that of the Earth’s interior remains unclear. In this project, which is part of the funded ARC-DECRA proposal “Redox evolution of basaltic magmas”, the student will conduct experiments at high pressure and temperature to determine mineral/melt partitioning coefficients for a range of elements. The primary aim of this project is to provide more reliable and tectonic setting-specific trace element partitioning data required in the geochemical modelling of mantle partial melting and basaltic magma fractionation in subduction zones. The proposed experiments will address the effect of composition, including water content, pressure and temperature on trace-element partition relations of Fe-bearing “close-to-natural” basaltic compositions as a function of oxygen fugacity. Background in petrology/geochemistry is desired. The student will be trained in conducting high and temperature experiments and in microanalysis of experimental products.


Credit: J.E. Kaufmann (">

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