The effect of Ni on element partitioning during iron meteorite crystallization

Nancy L. Chabot, Sarah A. Saslow, William F. McDonough, Timothy J. McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Iron meteorites exhibit a large range in Ni concentrations, from only 4% to nearly 60%. Most previous experiments aimed at understanding the crystallization of iron meteorites have been conducted in systems with about 10% Ni or less. We performed solid metal/liquid metal experiments to determine the effect of Ni on partition coefficients for 20 trace elements pertinent to iron meteorites. Experiments were conducted in both the end-member Ni-S system as well as in the Fe-Ni-S system with intermediate Ni compositions applicable to high-Ni iron meteorites. The Ni content of the system affects solid metal/liquid metal partitioning behavior. For a given S concentration, partition coefficients in the Ni-S system can be over an order of magnitude larger than in the Fe-S system. However, for compositions relevant to even the most Ni-rich iron meteorites, the effect of Ni on partitioning behavior is minor, amounting to less than a factor of two for the majority of trace elements studied. Any effect of Ni also appears minor when it is compared to the large influence S has on element partitioning behavior. Thus, we conclude that in the presence of an evolving S-bearing metallic melt, crystallization models can safety neglect effects from Ni when considering the full range of iron meteorite compositions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1735-1750
Number of pages16
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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