Crystallization experiments were conducted in a new type of hydrothermal diamond-anvil cell (HDAC; type V) using LiAlSi2O6 (S) gel and H2O (W) as starting materials. A total of 21 experiments were performed at temperatures up to 950°C and pressures up to 788 MPa. In the samples with relatively low W/S ratios, many small crystals formed in the melt phase during cooling. In those with high W/S ratios, only a few crystals with smooth surfaces crystallized from the aqueous fluid in the presence of melt droplets, which were gradually consumed during crystal growth, indicating rapid transfer of material from the melt to the crystals through the aqueous fluid. The nucleation of crystals started at 710 (±70)°C and 520 (±80) MPa, and crystal growth ended at 570 (±40)°C and 320 (±90) MPa, with the cooling P-T path within the stability field of spodumene + quartz in the S-W system. The observed linear crystal growth rates in the aqueous phase, calculated by dividing the maximum length of a single crystal by the duration of the entire growth step, were 4.7 × 10−6 and 5.7 × 10−6 cm s−1 for the cooling rates of 0.5 and 1°C min−1, respectively. However, a rapid crystal growth rate of 3.6 × 10−5 cm s−1 in the aqueous fluid was observed when the components were supplied by nearby melt droplets. Our results show that when crystals nucleate in the aqueous fluid instead of the melt phase, there are fewer nuclei formed, and they grow much faster due to the low viscosity of the aqueous fluid, which accelerates diffusion of components for the growth of crystals. Therefore, the large crystals in granitic pegmatite can crystallize directly from aqueous fluids rather than hydrosilicate melt.
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Observations on the crystallization of spodumene from aqueous solutions in a hydrothermal diamond-anvil cell
Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center