Modelling and analytical studies of magmatic-hydrothermal processes

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Date
2017-12-08
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Hydrothermal processes play a major role in transporting mass and energy in Earth’s crust. These processes rely on hydrothermal fluid, which is dissolving, transporting and precipitating minerals and distribute heat. The composition of the hydrothermal fluid is specific for various geological settings, but in most cases it can be approximated by H₂O-NaCl-CO₂ fluid composition. The flow of hydrothermal fluid is controlled by differences in temperature, pressure and/or density of the fluid and hydraulic conductivity of the rock. In my work, I was focused on modeling of the hydrothermal fluid properties and experimental characterization of fluid that formed emerald deposit in North Carolina, USA. The dissertation based on the result of three separate projects.

The first project has been dedicated to characterization of the H₂O-NaCl hydrothermal fluid ability to transport mass and energy. This ability of the fluid is defined by a change in fluid density and enthalpy in response to changing pressure or temperature. In this project we quantified the derivatives of mass, enthalpy and SiO₂ solubility in wide range of pressure, temperature and composition (PTx) of H₂O-NaCl fluid. Our study indicated that the PT region in which fluid is most efficiently can transport mass and energy, located in the critical region near liquid-vapor phase boundary and the sensitivity to changing pressure-temperature conditions decrease with increasing salinity.

In second project we developed the revised H₂O-NaCl viscosity model. Revised model to calculate the viscosity of H₂O-NaCl reproduces experimental data with ±10% precision in PTx range where experimental data available and follows expected trends outside of the range. This model is valid over the temperature range from the H₂O solidus (~0 °C) to ~1,000 °C, from ~0.1 MPa to ≤500 MPa, and for salinities from 0-100 wt.% NaCl.

The third project has been focused on the characterization of formation conditions of the emerald at North American Emerald Mine, Hiddenite, North Carolina, USA. The emerald formation conditions defined as 120-220 MPa, 450-625 °C using stable isotope, Raman spectrometry, and fluid inclusion analysis. Hydrothermal fluid had a composition of CO2-H2O±CH4, which indicates mildly reducing environment of emerald growth.

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Keywords
Hydrothermal Fluid, Phase Equilibria, Numerical Model, Viscosity, Fluid Properties, Fluid Inclusions, Emerald, Raman spectrometry, Hiddenite
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