Chemical signature of a migrating grain boundaries in polycrystalline olivine

Yuval Boneh, K. Marquardt, P. A. Skemer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Olivine is the most abundant phase and influences strongly the physical and chemical properties of the upper mantle. The structure and chemistry of olivine grain-boundaries is important to understand, as these interfaces provide a reservoir for incompatible elements and partial melt, and serve as a fast pathway for chemical diffusion. This project investigates the chemical characteristics of grain boundaries in an olivine-rich aggregate. The sample is composed of Fo50 olivine crystals with minor amounts of enstatite. It was previously deformed (Hansen et al., 2016) and then annealed (Boneh et al., 2017) to investigate the microstructural changes during recrystallization. This transient microstructure has a bimodal grain size distribution and includes grains that experienced abnormal grain-growth, (porphyroblasts) and highly strained grains with no significant recrystallization or growth (matrix). Using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut (BGI), we characterized boundaries between pairs of porphyroblasts, pairs of matrix grains, and mixed boundaries between porphyroblast and matrix grains. It was found that the boundary between porphyroblasts is enriched in Al and Ca and depleted in Mg, in comparison to grain interiors. However, matrix-matrix boundaries show less chemical segregation of these elements. The relatively high level of chemical segregation to porphyroblast grain boundaries offers different possible interpretations: 1) During grain boundary migration incompatible elements are swept up by the migrating grain boundary. 2) Large angle grain boundaries provide a large density of energetically favorable storage sites for incompatible elements. 3) Diffusion along low angle grain boundaries is too slow to allow for fast chemical equilibration between the different grain boundaries. 4) Dislocations cores serve as an important transport media for impurities (i.e., Cottrell atmosphere). We will further discuss these different interpretations, their feasibility, and implications for the geochemistry of the mantle.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

Publication series

NameAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017


  • 3902 Creep and deformation
  • 3924 High-pressure behavior
  • 3630 Experimental mineralogy and petrology
  • 3640 Igneous petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemical signature of a migrating grain boundaries in polycrystalline olivine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this