Experimental Investigation on the Transport of Sulfide Driven by
Melt-rock Reaction in Partially Molten Peridotite
Extraction of sulfides from the partially molten mantle is vital to elucidate the cycling of metal and sulfur elements between different geochemical circles but has not been investigated systematically. Using laboratory experiments and theoretical calculations, this study documents systematical variations in lithologies and compositions of silicate minerals and melts, which are approximately consistent with the results of the thermodynamically-constrained model. During a melt-peridotite reaction, the dissolution of olivine and precipitation of new orthopyroxene generate an orthopyroxene-rich layer between the melt source and peridotite. With increasing reaction degree, more melt is infiltrated into and reacts with upper peridotite, which potentially enhances the concomitant upward transport of dense sulfide droplets. Theoretical analyses suggest an energetically focused melt flow with a high velocity (~ 170.9 μm/h) around sulfide droplets through the pore throat. In this energic melt flow, we, for the first time, observed the mechanical coalescence of sulfide droplets, and the associated drag force was likely driving upward entrainment of fine μm-scale sulfide. For coarse sulfide droplets whose sizes are larger than the pore throat in the peridotite, their entrainment through narrow constrictions in crystal framework seems to be physically possible only when high-degree melt-peridotite reaction drives high porosity of peridotite and channelized melt flows with extremely high velocity. Hence, the melt-rock reaction could drive and enhance upward entrainment of μm- to mm-scale
sulfide in the partially molten mantle, potentially contributing to the fertilization of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle and the endowment of metal-bearing sulfide for the formation of magmatic sulfide deposits.