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- The prevailing view in the geophysics community is that the electrical conductivity structure of the Earth's continental crust over the 5-35 km depth range can best be understood by assuming the presence of intergranular fluids and/or of intragranular carbon films. Based on single crystal studies of melt-grown MgO, magma-derived sanidine and anorthosite feldspars and upper mantle olivine, we present evidence for the presence of electronic charge carriers, which derive from peroxy defects that are introduced during cooling, under non-equilibrium conditions, through a redox conversion of pairs of solute hydroxyl arising from dissolution of H2O.The peroxy defects become thermally activated in a 2-step process, leading to the release of defect electrons in the oxygen anion sublattice. Known as positive holes and symbolized by h(dot), these electronic charge carriers are highly mobile. Chemically equivalent to O(-) in a matrix of O(2-) they are highly oxidizing. Being metastable they can exist in the matrix of minerals, which crystallized in highly reduced environments. The h(dot) are highly mobile. They appear to control the electrical conductivity of crustal rocks in much of the 5-35 km depth range.
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- Document ID: 20120016002.
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