Hydrogen partitioning between iron and ringwoodite: Implications for water transport into the Martian core

Yuki Shibazaki, Eiji Ohtani, Hidenori Terasaki, Akio Suzuki, Ken ichi Funakoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We determined the exchange partition coefficients of hydrogen between solid iron and ringwoodite between 16.6 and 20.9 GPa at temperatures up to 1273 K using a Kawai-type multianvil high-pressure apparatus with synchrotron X-ray radiation at the BL04B1 beamline at SPring-8, Japan. The hydrogen concentration in iron hydride was estimated from the volume expansion of iron caused by hydrogenation determined by in situ X-ray diffractions at high pressure and high temperature, and the water content of ringwoodite in the recovered samples was estimated using the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). According to our results, the exchange partition coefficients of hydrogen between the solid iron and ringwoodite were almost constant, 26, with pressure between 16.6 and 20.9 GPa and 1273 K. These results revealed that hydrogen was strongly partitioned to metallic iron and that iron hydride formed, coexisting with dry ringwoodite under the experimental pressures. Ringwoodite, found in the Martian core-mantle boundary region, is an important hydrogen reservoir. The pattern of quasi-parallel bands of uniformly magnetized crust with alternating positive and negative polarity measured by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft strongly shows that a magnetic field did exist in ancient Mars suggesting a possible plate tectonic activity on ancient Mars. Thus, water could have been transported to the deep Martian interior by hydrous minerals during the plate subduction process and stored in ringwoodite in the deep Martian slabs, as is suggested on the Earth today. Our experiments suggested that hydrogen stored in ringwoodite was absorbed by the Martian core at the Martian core-mantle boundary. Thus, water from the ancient Martian ocean may be stored now in the Martian core.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct 15


  • hydrogen partitioning
  • iron hydride
  • Mars
  • Martian ocean
  • ringwoodite


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