Multicomponent diffusion in garnets I: General theoretical considerations and experimental data for Fe-Mg systems

Sascha André Borinski, Ulrich Hoppe, Sumit Chakraborty, Jibamitra Ganguly, Santanu Kumar Bhowmik

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45 Scopus citations


We have carried out a combined theoretical and experimental study of multicomponent diffusion in garnets to address some unresolved issues and to better constrain the diffusion behavior of Fe and Mg in almandine-pyrope-rich garnets. We have (1) improved the convolution correction of concentration profiles measured using electron microprobes, (2) studied the effect of thermodynamic non-ideality on diffusion and (3) explored the use of a mathematical error minimization routine (the Nelder-Mead downhill simplex method) compared to the visual fitting of concentration profiles used in earlier studies. We conclude that incorporation of thermodynamic non-ideality alters the shapes of calculated profiles, resulting in better fits to measured shapes, but retrieved diffusion coefficients do not differ from those retrieved using ideal models by more than a factor of 1.2 for most natural garnet compositions. Diffusion coefficients retrieved using the two kinds of models differ only significantly for some unusual Mg-Mn-Ca-rich garnets. We found that when one of the diffusion coefficients becomes much faster or slower than the rest, or when the diffusion couple has a composition that is dominated by one component (>75 %), then profile shapes become insensitive to one or more tracer diffusion coefficients. Visual fitting and numerical fitting using the Nelder-Mead algorithm give identical results for idealized profile shapes, but for data with strong analytical noise or asymmetric profile shapes, visual fitting returns values closer to the known inputs. Finally, we have carried out four additional diffusion couple experiments (25-35 kbar, 1,260-1,400 °C) in a piston-cylinder apparatus using natural pyrope- and almandine-rich garnets. We have combined our results with a reanalysis of the profiles from Ganguly et al. (1998) using the tools developed in this work to obtain the following Arrhenius parameters in D = D 0 exp{-[Q 1bar + (P-1)ΔV +]/RT} for D Mg * and D Fe *: Mg: Q 1bar = 228.3 ± 20.3 kJ/mol, D 0 = 2.72 (±4.52) × 10 -10 m 2/s, Fe: Q 1bar = 226.9 ± 18.6 kJ/mol, D 0 = 1.64 (±2.54) × 10 -10 m 2/s. ΔV + values were assumed to be the same as those obtained by Chakraborty and Ganguly (1992).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-586
Number of pages16
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Convolution effect
  • Garnet
  • Multicomponent diffusion
  • Numerical model
  • Thermodynamic non-ideality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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