Monitoring the crystallization of water-saturated granitic melts in real time using the hydrothermal diamond anvil cell

  • Victoria ManetaEmail author
  • Alan J. Anderson
Original Paper


Critical aspects of the crystallization dynamics of H2O-saturated melts of a typical granitic composition as well as granitic melts enriched in lithium (8800 ppm) were investigated in real-time experiments using the hydrothermal diamond anvil cell at 480–700 °C and 220–960 MPa. Complete crystallization of the charges was achieved within 5–118 h with average crystal growth rates ranging from 3 to 41 cm/year for quartz and from 18 to 58 cm/year for alkali feldspars, demonstrating that crystals formed from a silicate melt in the presence of a coexisting aqueous phase crystallize rapidly. The combination of substantial nucleation delays, low nucleation densities, and rapid growth rates for quartz and alkali feldspars led to the formation of euhedral megacrysts of these minerals in the vicinity of clusters comprised of much smaller muscovite or α-spodumene crystals. Subsolidus replacement processes initiated during crystal–fluid interactions after the silicate melt was consumed were directly observed in the experiments. The experimental results underscore the important role of water as a medium for the transport of essential elements such as Si, Al, Na, and K from the silicate melt to the newly formed crystals, and provide important insights into the crystallization of miarolitic pegmatites.


Granitic pegmatites Water saturation Miarolitic cavities Crystallization kinetics Lithium Spodumene 



This research was supported by NSERC discovery and accelerator grants to A. J. A. We thank E. Bruce Watson for kindly providing the Lake County obsidian starting material. We also wish to acknowledge Timothy L. Grove (editor) and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions that significantly improved the presentation of the original manuscript. Funding was provided by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Grant no. RGPIN-2014-06439).

Supplementary material

Online Resource 1: a Representative video recording of the cooling stage of Li-free experiment LCO(5) from 700 to 500 °C and the two crystallization stages at 550 and 500 °C. The time stamp can be seen on the top left corner. b Still frame of experiment LCO(5) to facilitate the identification of different phases throughout the video recording (inner gasket diameter = 500 μm). Afs Alkali feldspar, Qz quartz, Ms muscovite, SM silicate melt, F aqueous fluid (AVI 231876 KB)

410_2018_1509_MOESM2_ESM.tif (10.5 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (TIF 10763 KB)

Online Resource 2: a Representative video recording of the cooling stage of Li-enriched experiment 5LILCO(12) from 650 to 500 °C and the crystallization stage at 500 °C. The time stamp can be seen on the top left corner. b Still frame of experiment 5LILCO(12) to facilitate the identification of different phases throughout the video recording (inner gasket diameter = 500 μm). Kfs K-feldspar, Qz quartz, Spd α-spodumene, SM silicate melt, F aqueous fluid (AVI 244717 KB)

410_2018_1509_MOESM4_ESM.tif (10.6 mb)
Supplementary material 4 (TIF 10813 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesSt. Francis Xavier UniversityAntigonishCanada

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