Combined microthermometric and Raman spectroscopic technique to determine the salinity of H2O-CO2-NaCl fluid inclusions based on clathrate melting

Andras Fall*, Brian Tattitch, Robert J. Bodnar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Fluid inclusions approximated by the system H2O-CO2-NaCl are common in many geologic environments. In order to apply microthermometric data from these inclusions to infer P-T (pressure temperature) trapping conditions, the composition of the inclusions, including the salinity, must be known. Normally, salinities of aqueous inclusions are determined from ice-melting temperatures obtained during microthermometry. However, when CO2-bearing aqueous fluid inclusions are cooled they often form a hydrate that incorporates H2O into the structure, and salinities estimated from ice-melting temperatures are therefore higher than the actual salinity. A technique that combines data from Raman spectroscopic and microthermometric analyses of individual inclusions was developed to determine the salinity of CO2-bearing aqueous inclusions based on measured clathrate melting temperatures and CO2 pressures obtained from Raman analyses. In this study, the pressure within inclusions was determined using Raman spectroscopy based on the splitting of the Fermi diad of CO2, measured at the clathrate melting temperature. The CO2 densities (and pressures) predicted by the equation developed in this study are in relatively good agreement with previously published equations, except for very low densities and correspondingly low pressures. The combined Raman spectroscopy microthermometry technique thus provides both the temperature and the pressure in the inclusion at clathrate melting. For inclusions in which the clathrate melts in the presence of CO2 liquid, the salinity can be determined with a precision of a few tenths of a wt% NaCl, whereas for inclusions in which clathrate melts in the presence of CO2 vapor the salinity error may be a few wt% NaCl. Applying the method to synthetic fluid inclusions with known salinity suggests that the technique is valid for determining salinity of H2O-CO2-NaCl fluid inclusions in which clathrate melts in the presence of liquid CO2 only or vapor CO2 only. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-964
Number of pages14
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011


  • CH4
  • CO2

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