Electrical Conductivity of Omphacite as a Function of Water Content and Implications for High Conductivity Anomalies in the Dabie-Sulu UHPM Belts and Tibet

Baohua Zhang, Chengcheng Zhao, Jianhua Ge, Takashi Yoshino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Magnetotelluric surveys revealed high-conductivity layers in the lower crust beneath Tibet and in the shallow part of the upper mantle relevant to continental collision extending to the Dabie-Sulu ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic (UHPM) belts of eastern China, which have been interpreted by the presence of aqueous fluids/partial melts or hydrous phases. However, these explanations are not consistent with their petrological features and seismic properties. Hydrogen-bearing omphacite could be a probable candidate to explain such high-conductivity anomalies due to its high water-partitioning coefficient versus coexisting garnet in eclogite. In this study, we investigated electrical conductivities of Fe-free and Fe-bearing omphacite as a function of water content (0.005–0.122 wt.%) at 3 GPa and 500–1300 K. Our results show that water significantly enhances the electrical conductivity of omphacite, while iron facilitates conductivity by accelerating hydrogen diffusivity and lowering its activation enthalpy. Assuming a heat flow of 70 mW/m2, the high electrical anomalies observed beneath the Dabie-Sulu UHPM belts and the Tibetan Plateau can be reasonably explained by omphacite containing 0.07 wt.% water since water content higher than 0.07 wt.% in omphacite was frequently reported in naturally collected eclogite.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Dabie-Sulu UHPM belts
  • electrical conductivity
  • high conductivity anomalies
  • omphacite
  • Tibet
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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