Noble gas solubility in silicate melts:a review of experimentation and theory, and implications regarding magma degassing processes

A. Paonita


Noble gas solubility in silicate melts and glasses has gained a crucial role in Earth Sciences investigations and
in the studies of non-crystalline materials on a micro to a macro-scale. Due to their special geochemical features,
noble gases are in fact ideal tracers of magma degassing. Their inert nature also allows them to be used to probe
the structure of silicate melts. Owing to the development of modern high pressure and temperature technologies,
a large number of experimental investigations have been performed on this subject in recent times. This paper
reviews the related literature, and tries to define our present state of knowledge, the problems encountered in the
experimental procedures and the theoretical questions which remain unresolved. Throughout the manuscript I
will also try to show how the thermodynamic and structural interpretations of the growing experimental dataset
are greatly improving our understanding of the dissolution mechanisms, although there are still several points
under discussion. Our improved capability of predicting noble gas solubilities in conditions closer to those found
in magma has allowed scientists to develop quantitative models of magma degassing, which provide constraints
on a number of questions of geological impact. Despite these recent improvements, noble gas solubility in more
complex systems involving the main volatiles in magmas, is poorly known and a lot of work must be done. Expertise
from other fields would be extremely valuable to upcoming research, thus focus should be placed on the
structural aspects and the practical and commercial interests of the study of noble gas solubility.


noble gases;solubility;degassing;silicate melts

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X