Viscosity of Carbonate Melts Similar to Water, not Silicate Melts

Posted on Oct. 14, 2014

Despite extensive studies on the occurrence and stability of carbonate-rich melts, physical properties (such as density, viscosity, and mobility) of carbonate melts have not been well understood. In a paper published in Nature Communications [1], Yoshio Kono, Dan Hummer, Abby Kavner, Craig Manning and colleagues report viscosities of calcite and natural dolomite melts up to 6.2 GPa using an advanced technique of viscosity measurement with ultrafast synchrotron X-ray imaging. The imaging rate of 1,000 frames per second (fps), more than 15 times faster than that of conventional X-ray radiography (typically 30 to 60 fps) in large volume presses, enables precise determination of very low viscosity values. This study reveals that viscosities of calcite and dolomite melts are surprisingly low: in the range of 0.006-0.010 Pa s. These low viscosity values are more similar to those of water than to silicate melts.