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Serpentinite with and without brucite: A reaction pathway analysis of a natural serpentinite in the Josephine ophiolite, California

Sonzogni, Yann; Treiman, Allan H. and Schwenzer, Susanne P. (2017). Serpentinite with and without brucite: A reaction pathway analysis of a natural serpentinite in the Josephine ophiolite, California. Journal of Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences, 112(2) pp. 59–76.

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A partially serpentinized peridotite from the Josephine ophiolite has been studied in detail in order to characterize the chemical processes of its serpentinization. The original rock was harzburgite, and its olivine and orthopyroxene are partially replaced by veins and patches of lizardite serpentine and magnetite; brucite and talc are completely absent from the serpentinite, regardless of whether the precursor mineral was olivine or pyroxene. Petrographic and mineral-chemical data suggest at least two phases of serpentinization. Incipient serpentinization produced lizardite and magnetite veinlets, from preferential dissolution of orthopyroxene, and/or infiltration of a silica-rich fluid. No talc or brucite was produced, which suggests this serpentinization happened in a chemically open system. Later serpentinization was from a fluid closer to Fe-Mg-Si chemical equilibrium with the harzburgite, which should in theory favor formation of a brucite-bearing serpentinite. Brucite is absent from late serpentine veins, but they have some porosity which could represent former brucite that was dissolved out or was reacted out after serpentinization. Isocon modeling suggests that Si, Fe, and K were added during serpentinization and that Ca was lost; i.e., the serpentinization was not isochemical (except for H2O). Results of petrographic observations, thermodynamic modeling, and mass balance calculations were used to constrain the reactions for global serpentinization of the studied sample. These reactions indicate that water with a concentration of H2 up to two times that of deep sea vent fluids may have been produced during the serpentinization of the Josephine peridotite, which could then have been a potential host for significant biomass.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: authors
ISSN: 1345-6296
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetThe Open University (OU)
Keywords: Serpentine, thermochemical modeling, Mars analog
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Space
Item ID: 49527
Depositing User: Susanne Schwenzer
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 13:44
Last Modified: 01 May 2019 11:49
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