Mixed incorporation of carbon and hydrogen in silicate melts under varying pressure and redox conditions

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Volatiles including carbon and hydrogen are generally considered to be more soluble in silicate melts than in mantle rocks. How these melts contribute to the storage and distribution of key volatiles in Earth's interior today and during its early evolution, however, remains largely unknown. It is essential to improve our knowledge about volatiles-bearing silicate magmas over the entire mantle pressure regime. Here we investigate molten Mg Fe SiO (x=0, 0.25) containing both carbon and hydrogen using first-principles molecular dynamics simulations. Our results show that the dissolution mechanism of the binary volatiles in melts varies considerably under different conditions of pressure and redox. When incorporated as CO and H O components (corresponding to oxidizing conditions) almost all carbon and hydrogen form bonds with oxygen. Their speciation at low pressure consists of predominantly isolated molecular CO , carbonates, and hydroxyls. More oxygenated species, including tetrahedrally coordinated carbons, hydrogen (O-H-O) bridges, various oxygen-joined complexes appear as melt is further compressed. When two volatiles are incorporated as hydrocarbons CH and C H (corresponding to reducing conditions), hydroxyls are prevalent with notable presence of molecular hydrogen. Carbon-oxygen bonding is almost completely suppressed. Instead carbon is directly correlated with itself, hydrogen, and silicon. Both volatiles also show strong affinity to iron. Reduced volatile speciation thus involves polymerized complexes comprising of carbon, hydrogen, silicon, and iron, which can be mostly represented by two forms: C H Si O (iron-free) and C H Si Fe O . The calculated partial molar volumes of binary volatiles in their oxidized and reduced incorporation decrease rapidly initially with pressure and then gradually at higher pressures, thereby systematically lowering silicate melt density. Our assessment of the calculated opposite effects of the volatile components and iron on melt density indicates that melt-crystal density crossovers are possible in the present-day mantle and also could have occurred in early magma ocean environments. Melts at upper mantle and transition zone conditions likely dissolve carbon and hydrogen in a wide variety of oxidized and non-oxygenated forms. Deep-seated partial melts and magma ocean remnants at lower mantle conditions may exsolve carbon as complex reduced species possibly to the core during core-mantle differentiation while retaining a majority of hydrogen as hydroxyls-associated species. 1−x x 3 2 2 2 4 2 6 1−4 1−5 0−5 0−2 5−8 1−8 0−6 5−8 0−2

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Earth and Planetary Science Letters

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