Effect of conductive impurities on electrical conductivity in polycrystalline olivine

Heather C. Watson, Jeffery J. Roberts, James Tyburczy

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68 Scopus citations


[1] Bulk electrical conductivity and impedance spectroscopy of single crystal and polycrystalline San Carlos olivine with carbon or iron sulfide impurities on grain boundaries were measured at 1GPa and 350°C-1200°C in a piston cylinder apparatus. The addition of 0.1 wt% (∼0.16 vol%) C causes series-type grain boundary impedance in the samples that slightly decreases the buli conductivity of the system. In contrast, the addition of 1.0 vol% sulfide results in conductivity much higher than plain olivine, but still lower than that of a fully interconnected sulfide phase. The sulfide is partially connected on the grain boundaries and edges and has reached the electrical percolation threshold. The effect adding sulfide is similar to the effect of adding 0.01%-0.1% H to olivine. It may not always be necessary to have hydrogen or connected melt or fluid to account for anomalously high conductivity in some parts of the mantle or crust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL02302
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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