Speciation in experimental C-O-H fluids produced by the thermal dissociation of oxalic acid dihydrate

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

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Fluid speciations and their related reaction pathways were studied in C-O-H-system fluids produced by the thermal dissociation of oxalic acid dihydrate (OAD: H2C2O4 ?? 2H2O) sealed in silica glass capsules. Experiments were conducted in the temperature range 230-750??C, with bulk fluid densities in the range 0.01-0.53 g/cm3. Pressure was controlled by temperature and density in the isochoric systems. The quenched products of dissociation experiments were an aqueous liquid and one (supercritical fluid) or, rarely, two (vapor plus liquid) carbonic phase (s). In-situ Raman microanalyses were performed on the quenched carbonic phases at room temperature, at which fluid pressures ranged from about 50 to 340 bars. Bulk fluid speciations were reconstructed from the Raman analyses via mass balance constraints, and appear to monitor the true fluid speciations at run conditions. In experiments from the lowtemperature range (230-350??C), fluid speciations record the dissociation of OAD according to the reaction OAD = CO2 + CO + 3H2O. A process of the form CO + H2O = CO2 + H2 is driven to the right with increasing temperature. The hydrogen gas produced tends to escape from the sample systems via diffusion into/through the silica glass capsules, shifting bulk compositions toward equimolar binary H2O-CO2 mixtures. The speciations of fluids in experiments with minimal hydrogen loss show poor agreement with speciations calculated for equilibrium fluids by the corresponding-states model of Saxena and Fei (1988). Such disagreement suggests that the formations of CH4 and graphite are metastably inhibited in the current experiments, which correlates with their absence or trivial abundances in experimental products. Moreover, calculations in which the stabilities of methane and graphite are suppressed suggest that such metastable equilibrium is approached only in experiments at temperatures greater than about 600-650??C. These results have applications to fluid processes in geological environments, in addition to considerations of using oxalate compounds as volatile sources in experimental studies. It is possible that disequilibrium or metastable fluids may be entrapped as inclusions; re-speciation (toward metastable or stable equilibrium) during P-T evolution of a given terrain would place the fluid inclusion on a new isochore that would not project through the original conditions of entrapment. Moreover, the disequilibrium to metastable nature of dissociation reactions, coupled with the diffusional mobility of hydrogen gas observed in the current experiments, suggests that the predominance of binary H2O-CO2 fluid mixtures in natural inclusions from medium- to high-grade metamorphic terrains may be more than a coincidence of similar initial bulk compositions. ?? 1992.

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Speciation in experimental C-O-H fluids produced by the thermal dissociation of oxalic acid dihydrate
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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
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