Distilled water was passed at a low rate down a temperature gradient through cylinders of Barre and Westerly Granite. Temperatures ranged from 80-100??C at the outer edges of the cylinders to 250-300??C in central, drilled holes which housed the heating coils. The measured permeabilities of the granite cylinders decreased by as much as two orders of magnitude in experiments of 1-3 weeks' duration. The amount of permeability decrease varied directly with temperature and inversely with the rate of fluid flow. The compositions of the fluids discharged from the granites were functions of temperature and flow rate as well as mineral composition, with dissolved silica concentrations showing trends different from those of the other analyzed species. Fluids from experiments run at higher temperatures but at much lower initial rates of fluid flow had higher concentrations of most ions but substantially lower dissolved silica contents. In contrast, an increase in temperature at similar rates of fluid flow resulted in higher silica concentrations. In the experiments, the distilled water acquired enough dissolved materials at high temperatures to become supersaturated with respect to several minerals at the low-temperature edges of the cylinders. Some of this material, particularly silica, was deposited along grain boundaries and microfractures, causing the observed permeability decreases. The very low rates of fluid flow in some high-temperature experiments significantly increased the rates of SiO2 precipitation and reduced dissolved silica concentrations relative to other species in the discharged fluids. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
Chemical reactions accompanying fluid flow through granite held in a temperature gradient