Experimental Petrology Laboratory


  • Rapid-quench cold seal apparatus: The cold-seal vessel assembly is designed and optimized for kinetic experiments that require fast quenching. The system works with water as pressure medium and sample volumes contained in a noble metal capsule are 100-500 mm3. Range of experimental run conditions: T = 50-750 °C; P = 20-3000 bar.
  • See-through deformation rig: This apparatus is specialized for fluid-rock interaction experiments during deformation mounted on a specialist petrographic invertoscope, temperature range: -10 - 200 °C.
  • Piston-cylinder press: An old, but very reliable standard workhorse allowing for experiments in the range of 200-1100 °C and 0.6-2 GPa. Samples are contained in small cylinders (4 mm diameter, 10 mm height) allowing for typical volumes of 100 mm3.  
  • Parr vessels (batch experiments): A set of non-stirred teflon-lined batch reactor vessels that are typically used for fluid-mediated replacement experiments of single minerals, fossils, powdered samples at diagenetic conditions. The volumes of our autoclaves range from 10-500 ml and experiments are run in a temperature range between 25-200 °C at corresponding water vapor pressure. 
  • Parr vessels (flow-through) - under construction: A flow-through reaction cell that will allow us to run fluid-rock interaction experiments in chemical open systems at temperatures up to 350 °C. Samples will be porous or fractured 1-inch rock cores, flow rates 0.1-10 mL/min.


In general: Mineral reactions, deformation and element transport at shallow crustal levels. 

Examples: geochemical cycles, diffusion in minerals and melts, melt propagation, regional and contact metamorphism, ocean floor alteration, geothermal stimulation/exploration, radioactive waste management, reservoir rock evolution, ore formation. 

Examples of previous work:

Diffusion:- van Zuilen K; Müller T; Nägler TF; Dietzel M; Küsters T (2016): Experimental determination of barium isotope fractionation during diffusion and adsorption processes at low temperatures.Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 186, pp.226-241. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2016.04.049 - Müller T., Watson E.B., Trail D., Wiedenbeck M., van Orman J. and Hauri E. (2014): Diffusive fractionation of carbon isotopes in -Fe: experiment, models and implications for early solar system processes. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 127, p. 57-66, DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2013.11.014- Müller T., Dohmen R., Becker H.W., ter Heege J. and Chakraborty S. (2013): Fe-Mg interdiffusion rates in clinopyroxene: experimental data and implications for Fe-Mg exchange geothermometers. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v.166, no. 6, p. 1563-1576, DOI: 10.1007/s00410-013-0941-y- Müller T., Cherniak D., Watson E.B. (2012): Interdiffusion of divalent cations in carbonates: Experimental measurements and implications for timescales of equilibration or retention of compositional signatures. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta; v.84, p. 90-103 ; DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2012.01.011Mineral replacement / reaction front propagation:- Jonas L; Müller T; Dohmen R; Immenhauser A; Putlitz B (2017): Hydrothermal replacement of biogenic and abiogenic aragonite by Mg-carbonates - Relation between textural control on effective element fluxes and resulting carbonate phase.Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 196, pp.289-306. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2016.09.034- Jonas L; Müller T; Dohmen R; Baumgartner L; Putlitz B (2015) Transport-controlled hydrothermal replacement of calcite by Mg-carbonates, Geology, 43, pp.779-783. doi: 10.1130/G36934.1- Spruzeniece L; Piazolo S; Daczko NR; Kilburn MR; Putnis A (2017) Symplectite formation in the presence of a reactive fluid: insights from hydrothermal experiments, Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 35, pp.281-299. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12231Fluid-rock interaction:- Küsters T., Müller T., Renner J. (under review): Kinetically controlled fluid-rock interaction in polyphase systems. PART 1: Experiments on hydrothermal alteration of felsic rocks.- Le Guillou C; Dohmen R; Rogalla D; Müller T; Vollmer C; Becker HW (2015): New experimental approach to study aqueous alteration of amorphous silicates at low reaction rates. Chemical Geology, 412, pp.179-192. doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.06.027


Who can use the facility?

We are committed to sharing our facilities and associated expertise with external academic and industrial collaborators. To make an enquiry please contact Dr Thomas Mueller, t.mueller@leeds.ac.uk.

Members of staff

Professor Sandra Piazolo