Low silica activity for hydrogen generation during serpentinization: An example of natural serpentinites in the Mineoka ophiolite complex, central Japan
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hydrothermal vent system
The textural evolution in the serpentinite of the Mineoka ophiolite complex has been investigated to constrain the natural environment for hydrogen production in the serpentinite-hosted hydrothermal vent systems. Textural relations of the serpentinites from the Mineoka ophiolite indicate at least two stages in the process of serpentinization, with the replacement of olivine by a mesh texture of serpentine and brucite, followed by the development of magnetite-bearing or -free serpentine veins. The generation of hydrogen during serpentinization, which accompanies the formation of magnetite, involves a silica-depletion reaction, as evidenced by the low abundance of serpentine in the magnetite-bearing veins and the absence of magnetite in pseudomorphs of orthopyroxene. Direct evidence for the production of hydrogen and strongly reducing conditions is provided by CH4 and H-2-bearing inclusions in relic olivine crystals; the production of methane and hydrogen may have provided a suitable environment for microbial activity in hydrothermal vent systems along the seafloor. Our results indicate that low silica activity plays a key role in the generation of hydrogen during serpentinization, and that low silica activity environments are possible in olivine-rich rocks such as dunite, or during local disequilibrium in other silica-poor rocks in the mantle lithosphere.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Elsevier Science BV
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