Breyite inclusions in diamond: experimental evidence for possible dual origin

Woodland, Alan B.; Girnis, Andrei V.; Bulatov, Vadim K.; Brey, Gerhard P.; Höfer, Heidi E.

Inclusions of breyite (previously known as walstromite-structured inline-formulaCaSiO3) in diamond are usually interpreted as retrogressed inline-formulaCaSiO3 perovskite trapped in the transition zone or the lower mantle. However, the thermodynamic stability field of breyite does not preclude its crystallization together with diamond under upper-mantle conditions (6–10 GPa). The possibility of breyite forming in subducted sedimentary material through the reaction inline-formulaCaCO3inline-formula+inline-formulaSiO2inline-formula=inline-formulaCaSiO3inline-formula+ C inline-formula+inline-formulaO2 was experimentally evaluated in the CaO–inline-formulaSiO2–C–inline-formulaO2inline-formula±inline-formulaH2O system at 6–10 GPa, 900–1500 inline-formulaC and oxygen fugacity 0.5–1.0 log units below the Fe–FeO (IW) buffer. One experimental series was conducted in the anhydrous subsystem and aimed at determining the melting temperature of the aragonite–coesite (or stishovite) assemblage. It was found that melting occurs at a lower temperature (inline-formula∼1500inline-formulaC) than the decarbonation reaction, which indicates that breyite cannot be formed from aragonite and silica under anhydrous conditions and an oxygen fugacity above IW – 1. In the second experimental series, we investigated partial melting of an aragonite–coesite mixture under hydrous conditions at the same pressures and redox conditions. The melting temperature in the presence of water decreased strongly (to 900–1200 inline-formulaC), and the melt had a hydrous silicate composition. The reduction of melt resulted in graphite crystallization in equilibrium with titanite-structured inline-formulaCaSi2O5 and breyite at inline-formula∼1000inline-formulaC. The maximum pressure of possible breyite formation is limited by the reaction inline-formulaCaSiO3inline-formula+inline-formulaSiO2inline-formula=inline-formulaCaSi2O5 at inline-formula∼8 GPa. Based on the experimental results, it is concluded that breyite inclusions found in natural diamond may be formed from an aragonite–coesite assemblage or carbonate melt at 6–8 GPa via reduction at high water activity.

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Woodland, Alan B. / Girnis, Andrei V. / Bulatov, Vadim K. / et al: Breyite inclusions in diamond: experimental evidence for possible dual origin. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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