The bulk electrical conductivity of the phonotephritic lava from the 1944 eruption of Mt Vesuvius was measured using complex impedance spectroscopy in a multianvil apparatus at 1 GPa and temperatures up to 700 °C. Melting experiments prior to the electrical measurements were also performed on this sample in a piston cylinder apparatus in order to gauge how bulk conductivity varies as a function of its melt fraction. Unlike the behaviour found in basaltic rocks in which conductivity increases with increasing melt fraction, we observe a conductivity decrease of the order of a factor of ten for samples at 700 °C ranging in melt fraction from 32 vol.% to completely molten.We attribute this anomalous behaviour to the progressive loss of highly conductive leucite upon melting. The addition of potassium to the melt phase, however, does not result in an increase of the total alkali concentration due to the melting of other mineral components. We also present an empirical model to predict the electrical conductivity of fully molten silicate liquids as a function of temperature and chemical composition, based on conductivity data for natural silicate liquids found in the literature. The inclusion of compositional terms reduces the error by more than a factor of four with respect to a composition independent, temperature-only parameterization.
Poe, B.t., Romano, C., Varchi, V., Misiti, V., Scarlato, P. (2008). Electrical conductivity of a phonotephrite from Mt Vesuvius: The importance of chemical composition on the electrical conductivity of silicate melts. CHEMICAL GEOLOGY, 256(3-4), 192-201 [10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.06.026].