Experimental constraints on the partitioning of rhenium and some platinum-group elements between olivine and silicate melt

J. M. Brenan, W. F. McDonough, C. Dalpé

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119 Citations (Scopus)


We have performed partitioning experiments to assess the role of olivine in controlling the behavior of rhenium and the platinum group elements (PGEs) during basalt petrogenesis. Olivines were crystallized from an iron-bearing basalt at 1 bar (105 Pa) and log fO2 of -2.6, -4.9 and -7.4 (FMQ +4.3, +2 and -0.5, respectively). In situ analyses of olivine and glass by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) reveal a homogeneous distribution of Ru, Rh, Pd, Re, and Pt, but significant Os heterogeneity at the μm scale. This latter behavior arises from the presence of undissolved Os micronuggets suspended in the melt, and included in olivine crystals. Olivine-melt partition coefficients (Ds) for Re and the PGEs follow the order: DRh > DRu ≫ DPd ∼ DRe ∼ DPt. With decreasing fO2, Rh and Ru become more compatible, with maximum partition coefficients of ∼2.6 and ∼2, respectively, at log fO2 of -4.9. In contrast, D values for Pd become smaller with decreasing fO2, to a value of ∼0.006 at log fO2 of -7.4. Olivine-melt partitioning of Rh, Ru, Pd, Re and Pt derived from our experiments is confirmed by the behavior of these elements in lavas that have evolved by olivine fractionation. An elastic strain model predicts the olivine-melt partitioning of these elements, excepting our measured value of DPt, which is much lower. The fO2 dependence on partitioning implies that at higher fO2 some portion of PGEs exist in higher valence states than predicted from their solubility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-150
Number of pages16
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jul 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Olivine
  • Platinum group elements
  • Siderophile element
  • Trace element partitioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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