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Physicochemical properties of crustal fluids in fluid inclusions

English title Physicochemical properties of crustal fluids in fluid inclusions
Applicant Diamond Larryn W.
Number 111834
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geochemistry
Start/End 01.07.2006 - 30.06.2008
Approved amount 310'171.00
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Keywords (6)

Fluid inclusions; hydrothermal; experimental; synthesis; fluid; thermodynamic properties

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
SNSF Project "Physicochemical properties of crustal fluids in fluid inclusions"

Evidence from minerals and their enclosed fluid inclusions has shown that huge quantities of hot water have circulated though the rocks of the Earth's Crust for more than 3 billion years. In order to understand the resulting rock-water interaction, we must know the basic physical and chemical properties of groundwaters at high temperatures and under high pressures. Pure water is well characterised but water in the Crust is never pure; it most commonly contains some dissolved mineral salts (e.g.sodium-chloride, NaCl) and some gases, usually carbon-dioxide (CO2). The presence of these dissolved constituents radically changes the properties of water, especially its chemical reactivity. Despite numerous scientific studies in the past, our knowledge of such "impure" water is still far from complete.
This lack of information motivates our research into two aspects of CO2- and NaCl-bearing water in this project. First, we conduct experiments in which we reproduce the extreme pressures and temperatures that prevail deep within the Earth' Crust. We subject fluid mixtures to these conditions and measure some of their properties (volumes and stability limits). We would have to conduct many thousands of such experiments if we wanted to cover all the interesting situations in nature and in potential environmental applications, but our lifetimes would be too short for this task. Therefore, we are also following a second approach in which we develop mathematical equations (known as "equations of state") that correlate, interpolate and predict the fundamental properties of the deep groundwaters, based on what we learn from our experiments. This combination of methods, we hope, will provide us with the missing information we need.
Our results will be useful to several kinds of scientists: to geologists investigating how metallic ore-deposits form and how more deposits can be discovered, to environmental geochemists looking for solutions to CO2-sequestration, geothermal energy exploitation and toxic- and radioactive-waste disposal, and to chemists working on a variety of high-pressure industrial processes.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
103905 Physicochemical properties of crustal fluids in fluid inclusions 01.07.2004 Project funding (Div. I-III)
122131 Physicochemical properties of crustal fluids in fluid inclusions 01.10.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)