Discovery of Stishovite in the Prismatine-Bearing Granulite from Waldheim, Germany: A Possible Role of Supercritical Fluids of Ultrahigh-Pressure Origin


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For the first time in the sixty years since the synthesis of stishovite, we report unambiguous evidence of stishovite formed in the deep Earth. A minimum pressure of about 7.5 GPa at 1000 degrees C is necessary for the formation of stishovite, corresponding to a depth of about 230 km. In this manuscript we report the identification of stishovite along with coesite as inclusions in mineral grains from the Waldheim granulite. This implies that the stishovite was transported upwards, probably very rapidly to a depth of about 130 km, corresponding to the highest pressure indicated by newly identified coesite in the prismatine of the Waldheim granulite, and continuing up to the depth of emplacement of the Waldheim prismatine granulite. The analysis of the Raman spectra obtained from a metastable trapped stishovite micro-crystal show that all the diagnostic Raman bands are present. However, given the metastability of the stishovite at room temperatures and pressures, this mineral breaks down step-by-step into stable polymorphs, first coesite and then quartz and cristobalite, during the Raman stimulation. The rare coesite crystals in prismatine have also resulted from the irreversible transformation from stishovite. Although the Waldheim occurrence may be unique, we suggest that Raman analysis of co-trapped crystals in similar deep-seated rocks, an area of limited previous research, may prove an important innovation in the study of mantle processes.
stishovite, coesite, blue shift, supercritical fluid, Waldheim prismatine rock
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