Titanium solubility in olivine in the system TiO 2 -MgO-SiO 2 : no evidence for an ultra-deep origin of Ti-bearing olivine




Hermann, Joerg
O'Neill, Hugh
Berry, Andrew

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The finding of ilmenite rods in olivine from orogenic peridotites has sparked a discussion about the processes of incorporation and exsolution of titanium in olivine. We have experimentally investigated the solubility of Ti in olivine as a function of composition, temperature and pressure in the synthetic TiO2-MgO-SiO2 system. Experiments at atmospheric pressure in the temperature range 1,200-1,500 °C showed that the highest concentration of TiO2 is obtained when olivine coexists with spinel (Mg2TiO4). The amount of TiO2 in olivine in the assemblages olivine + spinel + periclase and olivine + spinel + ilmenite at 1,500 °C was 1.25 wt.%. Changes in the coexisting phases and decreasing temperature result in a significant reduction of the Ti solubility. Olivine coexisting with pseudobrookite (MgTi2Ti2O5) and a Ti-Si-rich melt at 1,500 °C displays a fourfold lower TiO2 content than when buffered with spinel. A similar decrease in solubility is obtained by a decrease in temperature to 1,200 °C. There is a negative correlation between Ti and Si and no correlation between Ti and Mg in Ti-bearing olivine. Together with the established phase relations this suggests that there is a direct substitution of Ti for Si at these temperatures, such that the substituting component has the stoichiometry Mg2TiO4. The unit cell volume of olivine increases systematically with increasing TiO2 content demonstrating that the measured TiO2 contents in olivine are not caused by micro-inclusions but by incorporation of Ti in the olivine structure. Least squares fitting of 20 olivine unit cell volumes against the Ti content yield the relation: V (Å3)=290.12(1) + 23.67(85) NTi. The partial molar volume of end-member Mg2TiO4 olivine (NTi=1) is thus 47.24±0.13 cm3. The change of the Ti solubilty in olivine coexistent with rutile and orthopyroxene with pressure was investigated by piston cylinder experiments at 1,400 °C from 15 to 55 kbar. There is no increase in TiO2 contents with pressure and in all the experiments olivine contains ∼0.2 wt.% TiO2. Moreover, a thermodynamic analysis indicates that Ti contents of olivine coexisting with rutile and orthopyroxene should decrease rather than increase with increasing pressure. These data indicate that the ilmenite exsolution observed in some natural olivine does not signify an ultra-deep origin of peridotite massifs.



Keywords: crystal chemistry; olivine; peridotite; petrogenesis; titanium



Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology


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