Experimental studies have shown that hydrogen embedded as a trace element in mantle mineral structures affects the physical properties of mantle minerals and rocks. Nevertheless, hydrogen concentrations in mantle minerals are much lower than predicted by hydrogen solubilities obtained experimentally at high pressure and temperature. Here, we report textural analyses and major and trace element concentrations (including hydrogen) in upper mantle minerals from a spinel-bearing composite xenolith (dunite and pyroxenite) transported by silica-undersaturated mafic alkaline lavas from the San Carlos volcanic field (Arizona, USA). Our results suggest that the composite xenolith results from the percolation-reaction of a basaltic liquid within dunite channels, and is equilibrated with respect to trace elements. Equilibrium temperatures range between 1011 and 1023 °C. Hydrogen concentrations (expressed in ppm H2O by weight) obtained from unpolarized and polarized Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy are low, with average values <2 ppm H2O, 24 ppm H2O, and 53 ppm H2O for olivine, orthopyroxene, and clinopyroxene, respectively; hydrogen concentrations in olivine are below the detection limit. These low hydrogen concentrations are consistent with depletion by high melt-rock ratio interactions. Clinopyroxene hydrogen concentrations are homogeneous, whereas polarized infrared profile measurements across single-crystals of orthopyroxene reveal hydrogen-depleted rims, which are interpreted as the result of dehydration by ionic diffusion, possibly triggered by melt-rock interactions. We conclude that pyroxenes, like olivine, are unreliable hydrogen proxies, and that the remaining hydrogen concentrations observed in peridotites might only represent the 'tip of the iceberg' of the water stored in the Earth's upper mantle.
- ionic diffusion