Experimental study of boron geochemistry: implications for fluid processes in subduction zones

C. F. You, A. J. Spivack, J. M. Gieskes, R. Rosenbauer, J. L. Bischoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


A comprehensive experimental study, utilizing an autoclave hydrothermal apparatus with a 10B isotopic tracer, has been conducted to monitor the geochemical behavior of sediment B during early subduction zone processes. The partition coefficient of exchangeable B (KD) was determined over a temperature range of 25-350°C, at 800 bars and a water/rock ratio of 3-1.5 w/w. These KD are shown to be a complex function of temperature, pH, and possibly mineralogy. At low temperatures, KD is significantly high at ∼4 in contrast to the value of essentially zero at temperatures higher than ∼100°C. A KD of zero represents no B adsorption, implying efficient mobilization of exchangeable B at shallow depths during sediment subduction. Our experimental results demonstrate high mobilization of bulk B in sediments (both exchangeable and lattice bound) at elevated temperatures (200-350°C), in good agreement with previous observations of B in metasediments indicating progressive depletion during metamorphism. In addition, this study emphasizes the importance of a possible water/rock ratio dependence of B mobilization. In other words, the degree of sedimentary B mobilization in subduction zones strongly depends on the local thermal structure and porosity distribution. In low geothermal gradient areas, large amounts of porewater are expelled before significant B mobilization has occurred, so that some sedimentary B will survive and get into the deeper parts of the subduction zone. Our results imply that efficient mobilization of B from the subducted slab must occur and that arc magmatism recycles most of the remaining subducted B back to surface reservoirs. A reconsideration of the B budget in subduction zones provides critical information with respect to B sources and sinks in the ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2435-2442
Number of pages8
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental study of boron geochemistry: implications for fluid processes in subduction zones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this