Micrometre to decimetre scale diffusion in feldspars

Lead Research Organisation: Open University
Department Name: Environment, Earth & Ecosystems


Two recent discoveries, one in natural feldspar, the other in a lab experiment, appear to widen the range of known diffusion behaviour of argon in K-feldspar (and by implication many other minerals), upon which much of thermochronology rests. We have designed a series of experiments to use this unique sample to test the validity of laboratory determined diffusion parameters, 3D argon diffusion, and large diffusion domains, in order to make a step change in our understanding of K-feldspar thermochronology.


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Description We discovered that noble gases diffuse through natural natural feldspar (and by implication other silicate minerals) over geological timescales in the same way as in short term lab experiments. Our work means thet lab determined diffusion and solubility measurements can safely be applied to natural situations, allowing geologists to confidently predict thermal histories of crustal rocks using these parameters.
Exploitation Route They are being applied by geologists applying thermochronology to natural situations.
Sectors Education