Electrical conductivity of mantle clinopyroxene as a function of water content and its implication on electrical structure of uppermost mantle

Chengcheng Zhao, Takashi Yoshino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The electrical conductivity of San Carlos clinopyroxene aggregates with various water contents were measured under Ni-NiO buffer at 1.5 GPa and 600-1200 K in a DIA-type apparatus. The conductivity increases with increasing water content in clinopyroxene. Hidden conduction mechanism was detected because of the much smaller iron content in clinopyroxene, which was usually covered by small polaron conduction in other nominally anhydrous minerals. The identified activation enthalpies ranged from 0.70-0.75 eV to 1.23-1.37 eV. Our result reveals that the dominant charge-carrying species in electrical conductivity could change with temperature and water content. At high temperatures relevant to asthenospheric condition, activation enthalpy for the conductivity agrees well with that for the hydrogen self-diffusion. The dominant charge carrier therefore might be M site vacancy. However, contrary to previous view that all hydrogens contribute to increasing conductivity equally, our result shows that only a limited amount (20%-40%) of hydrogen acts as effective charge carrier in clinopyroxene. On the other hand, the activation enthalpy for the conductivity at low temperatures is significantly lower than that for the hydrogen self-diffusion, similar to what has been observed in olivine and orthopyroxene. This type of conduction is probably caused by fast diffusion of specific hydrogen or fast hydrogen grain boundary diffusion. At low temperatures, the proton conduction of clinopyroxene is nearly one order and two orders of magnitude lower than those of olivine and orthopyroxene, respectively, and tends to converge at high temperatures. Using the present data combined with conductivity of olivine and orthopyroxene, a laboratory-based conductivity-depth profile in the uppermost mantle shows that hydrous clinopyroxene cannot account for the high conductive regions observed beneath the ocean floor near Eastern Pacific Rise. The presence of partial melt would be unavoidable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Clinopyroxene
  • Electrical conductivity
  • High conductive region
  • Proton conduction mechanism
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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