Ultralow viscosity of carbonate melts at high pressures

Yoshio Kono, Curtis Kenney-Benson, Daniel Hummer, Hiroaki Ohfuji, Changyong Park, Guoyin Shen, Yanbin Wang, Abby Kavner, Craig E. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge of the occurrence and mobility of carbonate-rich melts in the Earth's mantle is important for understanding the deep carbon cycle and related geochemical and geophysical processes. However, our understanding of the mobility of carbonate-rich melts remains poor. Here we report viscosities of carbonate melts up to 6.2 GPa using a newly developed technique of ultrafast synchrotron X-ray imaging. These carbonate melts display ultralow viscosities, much lower than previously thought, in the range of 0.006-0.010 Pa s, which are ∼2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than those of basaltic melts in the upper mantle. As a result, the mobility of carbonate melts (defined as the ratio of melt-solid density contrast to melt viscosity) is ∼2 to 3 orders of magnitude higher than that of basaltic melts. Such high mobility has significant influence on several magmatic processes, such as fast melt migration and effective melt extraction beneath mid-ocean ridges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5091
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 14


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