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Toplis, Michael J.; Dingwell, Donald B. and Libourel, Guy (1994): The effect of phosphorus on the iron redox ratio, viscosity, and density of an evolved ferro-basalt. In: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, Vol. 117, No. 3: pp. 293-304 [PDF, 1MB]

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Despite the abundant evidence for the enrichment of phosphorus during the petrogenesis of natural ferro-basalts, the effect of phosphorus on the physical properties of these melts is poorly understood. The effects of phosphorus on the viscosity, density and redox ratio of a ferro-basaltic melt have been determined experimentally. The viscosity measurements were obtained using the concentric cylinder method on a ferro-basaltic melt above its liquidus, at 1 atm, in equilibrium with air and with CO2. The density measurements were performed using the double Pt-bob Archimedean method at superliquidus conditions under 1 atm of air. The redox ratio was obtained by wet chemical analysis of samples collected during physical property measurements. Phosphorus pentoxide reduces ferric iron in ferro-basaltic melt. The reduction due to P2O5 is much larger than that for most other oxide components in basaltic melts. A coefficient for the reduction of ferric iron has been generated for inclusion in calculation schemes. The effect of P2O5 on the viscosity is shown to be complex. The initial reduction of ferric iron with the addition of P2O5 results in a relatively small change in viscosity, while further addition of P2O5 results in a strong increase. The addition of phosphorus to a ferro-basaltic melt also reduces the density. A partial molar volume of 64.5±0.7 cm3/mol for P2O5 in this melt has been obtained at 1300° C, yielding a volume of 12.9 cm3/mol per oxygen, consistent with a tetrahedral coordination for this high field strength cation. The effects of P2O5 on redox state, density and viscosity provide constraints on the structural role of phosphorus in these melts. The results suggest a complex interaction of phosphorus with the aluminosilicate network, and tetrahedral ferric iron. In light of the significant effects of phosphorus on the physical and chemical properties of ferro-basaltic liquids, and the extreme enrichments possible in these liquids in nature, the role of phosphorus in these melts should, in future, be considered more carefully.

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