To better understand the partitioning behavior of elements during the formation and evolution of iron meteorites, two sets of experiments were conducted at 1 atm in the Fe-Ni-P system. The first set examined the effect of P on solid metal/liquid metal partitioning behavior of 22 elements, while the other set explored the effect of the crystal structures of body-centered cubic (α)- and face-centered cubic (γ)-solid Fe alloys on partitioning behavior. Overall, the effect of P on the partition coefficients for the majority of the elements was minimal. As, Au, Ga, Ge, Ir, Os, Pt, Re, and Sb showed slightly increasing partition coefficients with increasing P-content of the metallic liquid. Co, Cu, Pd, and Sn showed constant partition coefficients. Rh, Ru, W, and Mo showed phosphorophile (P-loving) tendencies. Parameterization models were applied to solid metal/liquid metal results for 12 elements. As, Au, Pt, and Re failed to match previous parameterization models, requiring the determination of separate parameters for the Fe-Ni-S and Fe-Ni-P systems. Experiments with coexisting α and γ Fe alloy solids produced partitioning ratios close to unity, indicating that an α versus γ Fe alloy crystal structure has only a minor influence on the partitioning behaviors of the trace element studied. A simple relationship between an element's natural crystal structure and its α/γ partitioning ratio was not observed. If an iron meteorite crystallizes from a single metallic liquid that contains both S and P, the effect of P on the distribution of elements between the crystallizing solids and the residual liquid will be minor in comparison to the effect of S. This indicates that to a first order, fractional crystallization models of the Fe-Ni-S-P system that do not take into account P are appropriate for interpreting the evolution of iron meteorites if the effects of S are appropriately included in the effort.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology