A new method to determine fluid flux at high pressures and temperatures has been developed and used to study serpentinites at subduction zone conditions. Drill cores of a natural antigorite-serpentinite with a strong foliation were used in multi-anvil experiments in the range of 2–5 GPa and 450–800°C. Fluids released upon dehydration are fixed by the formation of brucite in an adjacent fluid sink. The amount and distribution of brucite serves as a proxy for fluid flow. In our specific setup the sample reacted with the surrounding fluid sink to form an additional layer of olivine, which has the potential to limit fluid flux within our experiments. For conditions prior to serpentine dehydration we used Al(OH)3 as fluid source. Fluid in this experiment did not migrate through the serpentinite, indicating that serpentine has a low diffusivity. The experiments also show that small deviatoric stresses have an influence on the fluid flux and can cause an anisotropic fluid flux. Comparison between the time scales of the determined fluid flux with fluid production rates indicates fluid pressure buildup during dehydration reactions. Adjacent less permeable layers can inhibit fluid flux and cause fluid pressure buildup even at conditions when an interconnected pore space formed.
- excess pressure
- fluid flux