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Granulites, CO2 and graphite
Huizenga, Jan Marten
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Externally derived, pure CO2 that mixes with a carbon-(under)saturated C-O-H-fluid in lower crustal granulites may result in graphite precipitation if the host-rock oxygen fugacity (fO2rock) is below the upper fO2 limit of graphite. The maximum relative amount of graphite that can precipitate varies between a few mol% up to more than 25 mol%, depending on pressure, temperature, and host-rock redox state. The maximum relative amount of graphite that can precipitate from an infiltrating CO2 fluid into a dry granulite (C-O fluid system) varies between zero and a few mol%. Thermodynamic evaluation of the graphite precipitation process shows that CO2 infiltration into lower crustal rocks does not always result in a carbon (super)saturated fluid. In that case, graphite precipitation is only possible if carbon saturation can be reached as a result of the reaction CO2 → CO + ½ O2. Graphite that has been precipitated during granulite facies metamorphic conditions can subsequently be absorbed by a C-O-H fluid during retrograde metamorphism. It is also possible, however, that significant amounts of graphite precipitate from a C-O-H fluid during retrograde metamorphism. This study shows that interpreting the presence or absence of graphite in granulites with respect to CO2 infiltration requires detailed information on the P–T–fO2rock conditions, the relative amount of CO2 that infiltrates into the rock, and whether H2O is present or not.