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Olivine alteration and H-2 production in carbonate-rich, low temperature aqueous environments
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences.
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2014 (English)In: Planetary and Space Science, ISSN 0032-0633, E-ISSN 1873-5088, Vol. 96, 51-61 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hydrous alteration of olivine is capable of producing molecular hydrogen (H-2) under a wide variety of hydrothermal conditions. Although olivine hydrolysis (i.e., serpentinization) has commonly been assessed at elevated temperatures ( > 100 degrees C), the nature of these reactions in relation to H-2 production at lower temperatures has not been systematically evaluated, especially with regard to carbonate-rich fluids. Specifically, carbonate formation may kinetically infringe on geochemical routes related to serpentinization and H-2 production at lower temperatures. Here time-dependent interactions of solid, liquid, and gaseous phases with respect to olivine hydrolysis in a carbonate-rich solution (20 mM HCO3-) at 30, 50 and 70 degrees C for 315 days is investigated experimentally. Within the first two months, amorphous Si-rich (i.e., talc-like) and carbonate phases precipitated; however, no inhibition of olivine dissolution is observed at any temperature based on surface chemistry analyses. High-resolution surface analyses confirm that precipitates grew as spheroids or vertically to form topographic highs allowing further dissolution of the free olivine surfaces and exposing potential catalysts. Despite no magnetite (Fe3O4) being detected, H-2 increased with time in experiments carried out at 70 degrees C, indicating an alternative coupled route for Fe oxidation and H-2 production. Spectrophotometry analyses show that aqueous Fe(II) is largely converted to Fe(III) potentially integrating into other phases such as serpentine and talc, thus providing a viable pathway for H-2 production. No increase in H-2 production was observed in experiments carried out at 30 and 50 degrees C supporting observations that incorporation of Fe(II) into carbonates occurred faster than the intertwined processes of olivine hydrolysis and Fe(III) oxidation. Overall, carbonate formation is confirmed to be a major influence related to H-2 production in low-temperature serpentinization systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 96, 51-61 p.
Keyword [en]
Olivine, Hydrogen, Serpentinization, Deep biosphere, Early Earth, Habitability
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105901DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2014.02.014ISI: 000336824600005OAI: diva2:733369
Swedish Research Council, 621-2008-2712


Available from: 2014-07-09 Created: 2014-07-08 Last updated: 2014-07-09Bibliographically approved

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Neubeck, AnnaBacsik, ZoltanHolm, Nils G.
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