Symplectite formation in the presence of a reactive fluid: Insights from hydrothermal experiments
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This study describes the microstructural and chemical development of symplectites, obtained in fluid-mediated mineral replacement experiments. During the experiments polymineralic feldspar-rich samples were exposed to aqueous Na-SiO2 solution at 600 °C and 2 kbar confining pressures for durations of 12 h to 20 days. The resulting reaction rims display high mineralogical and structural complexity and contain two varieties of symplectites, represented by nanometre-scale intergrowths of gehlenite-zeolite and grossular-zeolite grains. The experimental fluid was enriched in 18O isotope in order to trace oxygen redistribution during the reaction. The elevated 18O concentration in the reaction products and the heterogeneity in its distribution suggest that symplectite formation was controlled by dissolution-precipitation mechanisms rather than volume-diffusion processes. Microstructural and chemical observations suggest that symplectite formation occurred in multiple stages in response to spatially heterogeneous and temporarily evolving fluid composition at the reaction interfaces. Hence, our results shed light on the fundamental processes involved in symplectite formation improving our ability to interpret symplectite microstructures.
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