Subduction-Zone Fluids

Fluids are essential to the physical and chemical processes in subduction zones. Two types of subduction-zone fluids can be distinguished. First, shallow fluids, which are relatively dilute and water rich and that have properties that vary between subduction zones depending on the local thermal regime. Second, deep fluids, which possess higher proportions of dissolved silicate, salts and non-polar gases relative to water content, and have properties that are broadly similar in most subduction systems, regardless of the local thermal structure. We review key physical and chemical properties of fluids in two key subduction-zone contexts—along the slab top and beneath the volcanic front—to illustrate the distinct properties of shallow and deep subduction-zone fluids.

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Microscale Chemistry: Raman Analysis of Fluid and Melt Inclusions

Raman spectroscopy is a commonly applied nondestructive analytical technique for characterizing fluid and melt inclusions. The exceptional spatial resolution (~1 µm) and excellent spectral resolution (≤1 cm−1) permits the characterization of micrometer-scale phases and allows quantitative analyses based on Raman spectral features. Data provided by Raman analysis of fluid and melt inclusions has significantly advanced our understanding of complex geologic processes, including preeruptive volatile contents of magmas, the nature of fluids in the deep crust and upper mantle, the generation and evolution of methane-bearing fluids in unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs. Anticipated future advances include the development of Raman mass spectroscopy and the use of Raman to monitor reaction progress in synthetic and natural fluid inclusion microreactors.

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