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Fluids in the Earth, reconstructing their composition through space and time

Final Report Summary - FLUIDS IN THE EARTH (Fluids in the Earth, reconstructing their composition through space and time)

The abundance of water on Earth has a profound impact: aqueous fluids facilitate plate tectonics, control the redistribution of elements to make ore deposits and determine the availability of (trace) elements crucial to life. Knowledge of their compositions is therefore essential. Unfortunately, direct fluid samples are rare, especially for deep in the Earth and for its earliest history. However, minerals with preserved compositions are readily available, sampling environments >200 km in depth and back to 4.2 billion years ago. Minerals record a fingerprint of the associated fluid by element exchange and this record can be read if we understand and can predict the partitioning of elements between minerals and fluid.
The goal of this project was to develop a method for reading this mineral record of fluid composition, with the hypothesis that the preference of an element to enter the mineral is controlled by how well it fits in the crystal structure in terms of its radius and charge, i.e. that it obeys Lattice Strain Theory.

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