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Accueil > Plateformes > Pétrophysique > Laboratoire Hautes Pressions

Petrophysics Platform

High Pressure Lab.

Scientific interests, facilities and publications :

Our understanding on the Earth’s interior, its history and its dynamics relies essentially on our knowledge of the physical properties of the major rock-forming minerals in the deep Earth and on seismogenic activities observed from the surface. Therefore experimental measurements of various geophysical properties are crucial to interpret seismological data from the ‘real’ Earth in order to understand its complex nature and behavior in terms of composition, deformation and thermal structure. Here, at the petrophysics lab. of Geosciences Montpellier, several facilities permit to detects and quantify many physical properties of mantle minerals at the conditions of pressure and temperature of the deep Earth.

Lab users :

Manteau processes group

David Mainprice, resp.
Sylvie Demouchy, co-resp.
Benoit Gibert, co-resp.
Fleurice Parat,
Jose Alberto Padron-Navarta,
Shantanu Keshav,
Franck Nono Nguendjio, Post-doc IMAGE (B. Gibert)
Julien Gasc, Post-doc INDIGO (S. Demouchy)
Manuel Thieme, PhD CREEP (S. Demouchy & D. Mainprice)
Nicolas Marino, IE CCD INSU

Bassins group

Didier Loggia

The room is too small, then we split the LHP members in two group :-)
also, go to see this, one of the many achievements of Nicolas Marino

Lab users in 2016 :
from left up, Vivek ( numerical modeler rooming around), Frank, Julien, Manuel,
front row : Sylvie, José-Alberto and Maxime.

Lab users in 2016 :
from left to right, Didier, Teddy, Nicolas, David, Benoit and Fleurice.

Past users & collaborators :

  • Pierre Azais (engineer, IE-CNRS retired).
  • Steve Peuble, Ph.D. Student 2010-2014, now Postdoc in Lyon LGL-TPE.
  • Marie Violay, Ph.D. Student 2007-2010, since 2013, Lecturer at EPSL Lausanne., CH, More about Marie Violay.
  • Vincent Soustelle, Ph.D. Student 2007-2010, now Ass. Prof. University of Wuhan, China.
  • Luis Morales, post-doc 2009-2010, now research assistant at the GFZ, Potsdam. Germany.
  • Sarah Cichy, post-doc 2014 (now research assistant at ASU, Arizona).More about Sarah Cichy
  • Master 2 student 2008 Violaine Vignon.
  • Master 1 student 2008 Julien Baticle.

    Facilities available at the petrophysics lab.

  • High pressure high temperature gas vessel : Paterson press (PI-2).
  • Creep apparatus with controlled atm (home made).
  • Acoustic detector (under set up).
  • Impedance meter for electro-conductivity measurements (Solartron SI 1260).
  • Permeameter (home made) and pore-pressure on PI-2.
  • Direct current power supply for thermal resistivity measurements (AFX 5920A 0-30V, 0-20A).
  • 1-atm high-temperature furnace.
  • Lampert laser welder PUK3 s pro
  • Sample preparation room (polishing tools and supply, low speed saw, hot plate, vacuum pump, dryer, ultrasonic bath, fume hood, etc).
  • In-house thin sections workshop, and mechanical workshop (Christophe Nevado, Doriane Delmas and Joel Oustry)

The Paterson press at Geosciences Montpellier

The Paterson press has been conceived by Mervyn S. Paterson (1970, 1990) at Australia National University. It is a internally heated gas vessel using argon as pressure medium. This distinctive high pressure and high temperature device has unique advantages : (1) it provides a large hot spot (up to 3 cm) with a quasi-inexistent thermogradient and a temperature sensitivity of +/- 1°C, (2) it is able to hot press large samples (up to 2 cm3), (3) it performs high resolution deformation experiments in both constant load and constant displacement modes.


Paterson press (PI-2) at Geosciences Montpellier
Paterson press (PI-2) at Geosciences Montpellier

Temperature range 300-1250°C
Pressure range : 100-400 MPa, routine at 300 MPa.
Displacement resolution : 2 µm
Load sensitivity : 10 N.
Strain rate range : 10-3 s-1 et 10-6.5 s-1.

Our Paterson press is mainly used for deformation on mantle-derived single crystal and rocks (synthetic or natural) for :
- Deformation experiments of constant load and constant displacement (velocity).
- Diffusion experiments under anhydrous and anhydrous conditions.
- Recrystallization experiments under static or dynamic conditions.
- In situ measurements of physical properties (e.g., electrical conductivity, perméabilité).

Reference list :
Paterson, M.S. (1990) Rock deformation experimentation. In A.D.e. al., Ed. The brittle-ductile transdition in rocks : the Head volume., 56, p. 187-194. Geophys. Monogr. Ser., AGU, Washington D.C.
More about Mervyn Paterson


The high-pressure vessel
The high-pressure vessel

Link to other Paterson press users over the world

The creep apparatus at Geosciences Montpellier

The creep apparatus is for the moment used as a 1-atm furnace with controlled atmosphere in order to have fixed or variable the oxygen fugacity during the measurements of the physical properties.


The creep apparatus
The creep apparatus

Temperature range : up to 1300 °C
Pressure : 1-atm.
Fixed oxygen fugacity controlled with argon-hydrogen mixture.

Our creep apparatus is used to perform measurements of :
- Thermal diffusivity on olivine single crystals, quartz and quartzite.
- Electrical conductivity on olivine single crystals.

Laser impulse welder at Geosciences Montpellier

We recently purchase a Lampert welder (Puk3 S pro), which permits to weld noble metal capsules (with volatiles inside water, CO2) and other metals pieces used in HP-HT experiments.


Puk3 s pro
Puk3 s pro

Precision Lathe, Wabeco D-4000

We recently purchase a WABECO precision Lathe D4000 with prismatic cast iron bed, 1.4 kW and a center distance 350 mm. It permit precision machining of iron or cupper jackettes, metals capsules, small tools, machinale ceramics, and HT furnace making.

-  New lathe

1 - Gibert, B & Mainprice D, (2009) Effect of crystal preferred orientations on the thermal diffusivity of quartz polycrystalline aggregates at high temperature. Tectonophysics, 465, 150-163.
2 - Loggia, D., Bo, Z., Xiaorong, L., Vasseur, G (2009) Experimental Study of Upward Oil Migration in a Fracture. Transport in porous media, 80:1-16 (roi : 10.1007/s11242-009-9340-2).
3 - Andreani M., Luquot L., Gouze P, Godard M., Hoisé E., Gibert B., (2009) Experimental study of carbon sequestration reactions controlled by the percolation of CO2-rich brine through peridotites. Environmental Science & Technology, 43, 1226-1231.
4 - Demouchy S. (2010b) Hydrogen diffusion in spinel grain boundaries and consequences for chemical homogenization in hydrous peridotites. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. doi : 10.1007/s00410-010-0512-4.
5 - Demouchy S. (2010a) Diffusion of hydrogen in grain boundaries of olivine and implications for the survival of water-rich zones in earth’s mantle. Earth Planet Sci. Lett. 295:305-313, doi :10.1016/j.epsl.2010.04.019.
6 - Raynaud, S., Vasseur, G., Celerier, B., Loggia, D., Ghoreychi, M., Mathon, MH., Mazerolle, F. (2010) Experimental study of the relation between the permeability of kaolinite and its deformation at micro and macro scale. Inter. J. Rock Mecha Min. Sci. 47:559 :-567 (doi : 10.1016/j.ijrmms.2010.04.007).
7 - Violay, M., Gibert, B., Azais P., Pezard, P.A., Lods, G. (2011) A New Cell for Electrical conductivity Measurements on Saturated Samples at Upper Crust Conditions. Transp Porous Med. doi 10.1007/s11242-011-9846-2.
8 - Violay, M., Gibert, B., Mainprice, D., Evans, B., Dautria, J-M., Azais, P., Pezard, P.A., (2012) An experimental study of the brittle-ductile transition of basalt at oceanic crust pressure and temperature conditions. J. Geophys. Res. (Solid Earth), 117 : B3, B03213, doi : 10.1029/2011JB008884.
9 -Fabio Ferri, Benoit Gibert, Marie Violay, Bernardo Cesare (2012) Electrical conductivity in a partially molten crust from measurements on metasedimentary enclaves. Tectonophysics, 558:84-94. (doi : 10.1016/j.tecto.2012.11.003).
10 - Demouchy S., Tommasi A., Barou F., Mainprice D., Cordier P. (2012) Deformation of olivine in torsion under hydrous conditions. Phys. Earth Planet. Int. 202-203 : 56-70 (doi : 10.1016/j.pepi.2012.05.001).
11 - Eckes M., Gibert, B., Meneses, D.D., Malki, M., and Echegut, P. (2013) High-temperature infrared properties of forsterite. Phys. Chem. Min. 40 : 287-298. (roi : 10.1007/s00269-013-0570-z).
12 - Demouchy S., Tommasi A., Boffa-Ballaran T., Cordier, P. (2013) Low strength of Earth’s uppermost mantle inferred from tri-axial deformation experiments on dry olivine crystals. Phys. Earth Planet. Int. 220:37-49.
13- Violay, M., Nielsen S., Gibert B., Spagnuolo E., Vinciguerra S., Cavallo, A., Azais, P., Di Toro, G. (2014) Effect of water on the frictional behavior of cohesive rocks during earthquakes. Geology. doi : 10.1130/G34916.1.
14- Violay, M., Di Toro, G., Gibert B., Nielsen S., Spagnuolo E., Del Gaudio, P., Azais, P., Scarlato, P.G. (2014) Effect of glass on the frictional behavior of basalts at seismic slip rate. Geophys. Res. Lett. doi : 10.1002/2013GL058601.
15- Mussi A. Cordier P., Demouchy S., Vanmansart C. (2014) Characterisation of the glide planes of the [001] screw dislocations in olivine using electron tomography. Phys. Chem. Minerals. doi : 10.1007/s00269-014-0665-1.
16- Cordier P., Demouchy S., Beausir B., Taupin V., Barou F. & Fressengeas C. (2014) Disclinations provide the missing mechanism for deforming olivine-rich rocks in the mantle. Nature. 507, 51-56. doi : 10.1038/nature13043.
17- Demouchy S., Mussi, A, Barou, F., Tommasi A., Cordier P. 2014. Viscoplasticity of polycrystalline olivine at high pressure and 900°C : outcomes from high resolution EBSD and electron tomography. Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2014.03.022.
18- Mussi A. Cordier P., Demouchy S. (2015) Characterization of dislocation interactions in olivine using electron tomography. Phil. Mag. 95(4)335-345. doi:10.1080/14786435.2014.1000996.
19- Mussi A. Maula, N., Demouchy S. Cordier P., (2015) On the deformation mechanism of olivine single crystals at lithospheric temperatures : an electron tomography study. Accepted to Eur. J. Mineral in July 2015. doi : 10.1127/ejm/2015/0027-2481.
20- Burnard P, Demouchy S., *Delon R ., Arnaud N,. Marrocchi, Y., Cordier P, Addad A. (2015) The role of grain boundaries in the storage and transport of noble gases in the mantle. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 430, 260-270. doi : 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.08.024.
21- Violay, M., Gibert B., Mainprice, D., Burg. J.P. (2015). Brittle versus ductile deformation as the main control of the deep fluide circulation in oceanic crust. Geophys. Res. Lett. doi : 10.1002/2015GL063437.

Science for the public :

Gibert B., Violay M., Mainprice D., Pezard Ph. (2010) Géothermie : un potentiel à creuser ! Dossier Énergie à volonté, N°69/Octobre-Décembre, Pour La Science. 64-70.

For information about this webpage and the high pressure lab, please contact : Sylvie Demouchy