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Role of fluid and melt inclusion studies in geologic research



Although fluid inclusions were apparently known to early naturalists, actual research on fluid and melt inclusions began only in the mid-1800s and grew very slowly for the next 100 years. Russian scientists began systematic studies of inclusions in the 1930s, but it was not until about 1960 that publications mentioning or using fluid inclusions began to increase from a few each year to the present annual level of about 700. Early research focused on ore deposits, first on temperatures and salinities of ore fluids and then on their stable isotopic and major element compositions. Later work extended to fluids in sedimentary and metamorphic environments. Publications using or mentioning melt inclusions only began to increase in number in about 1980 and have grown to today's level of about 200 per year. Early work on melt inclusions focused on igneous rocks with an emphasis on immiscibility and volatile elements and then on rare elements. Recent research on both fluid and melt inclusions has taken advantage of single inclusion analytical methods to investigate speciation and partitioning in both natural and experimental magmatic and aqueous systems.