Low Temperature Phase Relations in the System H2O-NaCl-FeCl2

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Virginia Tech

The low temperature phase behavior of the system H2O-NaCl-FeCl2 was examined using synthetic fluid inclusions. Experiments were conducted along the 5 wt% NaCl (relative to the total solution) pseudobinary, with FeCl2 concentrations varying from 2 to 33 wt%, and along the pseudobinary defined by mixing known amounts of FeCl2-4H2O with a 5 wt% NaCl solution, with final FeCl2 concentrations varying from 0 to 29 wt%. Synthetic fluid inclusions in quartz were prepared in cold-seal pressure vessels at 500 degrees C - 800 degrees C and 2 or 3 kilobars. The fO2 conditions were controlled by the Ni-NiO equilibrium curve. The liquid released from the capsule upon opening was initially colorless, but turned yellow-orange after contact with atmospheric O2. The clear color is characteristic of ferrous iron solutions, whereas the yellow-orange color is consistent with the presence of Fe3+ in solution. This color change suggested that the unopened capsules initially contained ferrous iron in solution, which oxidized to ferric iron when exposed to the atmosphere.

Borisenko (1977) reported a eutectic temperature of -37 degrees C for the system H2O-NaCl-FeCl2. In this study, it was not possible to verify this temperature due to the persistence of a metastable liquid down to liquid N2 temperatures (~-196 degrees C).

Final ice melting temperatures were obtained for concentrations less than 24 wt% FeCl2 and show a decrease in temperature with increase in FeCl2 concentration. For more concentrated solutions, final melting temperatures could not be obtained because the samples could not be frozen.

sodium chloride, low temperature aqueous geochemistry, synthetic fluid inclusions, iron chloride