Element partitioning between metallic liquid, silicate liquid, and lower-mantle minerals: Implications for core formation of the Earth

Eiji Ohtani, Hisayoshi Yurimoto, Shuji Seto

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78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We determined the partition coefficients of 19 elements between metallic liquid and silicate liquid at 20 GPa and 2500°C, and between metallic liquid and silicate perovskite at 27 GPa and 2200°C. Remarkable differences were observed in the partitioning behaviors of Si, P, W, Re, and Pb among the silicate liquid, perovskite, and magnesiowüstite coexisting with metallic liquid, reflecting incompatibility of the elements in the silicate or oxide phase. We could not observe any significant difference in the partitioning behaviors of V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, and Cu among the phases coexisting with metallic liquid. Comparison of the present partitioning data with those obtained previously at lower pressure and temperature suggests that the exchange partition coefficients, Kmet/sil, of Co, Ni, Mo, and W decrease, whereas those of V, Cr, and Mn increase and tend to approach unity with increasing pressure and temperature. We also made preliminary experiments to clarify the effect of sulfur on the partitioning behaviors. Sulfur lowers the exchange partition coefficients, Kmet/sil, of Mo and W between metallic liquid and silicate liquid significantly at 20 GPa and 2300°C. The mantle abundances of Co, Ni, Cu, Mo, and W calculated for the metal-silicate equilibrium model are lower than those of the real mantle, whereas P, K, and Mn are overabundant in the calculated mantle. The discrepancies in the abundances of Co and Ni could be explained by the chemical equilibrium at higher pressure and temperature. Large discrepancies in Mo and W between the calculated and real mantles could be accounted for by the effect of sulfur combined with the effects of pressure and temperature on the chemical equilibrium. The mantle abundances of P, K, and Cu could be accounted for by volatile loss in the nebula, perhaps before accretion of the Earth, combined with the chemical equilibrium at higher pressure and temperature. Thus the observed mantle abundances of P, K, Co, Ni, Cu, Mo, and W may be consistent with a model of sulfur-bearing metal-silicate equilibrium in lower-mantle conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-114
Number of pages18
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Volume100
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Mar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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