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Residual platinum-group minerals from highly depleted harzburgites of the Lherz massif (France) and their role in HSE fractionation of the mantle.

Luguet, A. and Shirey, S. B. and Lorand, J-P. and Horan, M. F. and Carlson, R. W. (2007) 'Residual platinum-group minerals from highly depleted harzburgites of the Lherz massif (France) and their role in HSE fractionation of the mantle.', Geochimica et cosmochimica acta., 71 (12). pp. 3082-3097.


In order to constrain the highly siderophile elements (HSE: Re and platinum group elements (PGE: Os, Ir, Ru, Pt and Pd)) host mineral(s) in refractory, base metal sulfide-free mantle residues, four very depleted spinel–harzburgites from the Lherz massif (France) have been analyzed for HSE in whole-rock and in major mineral separates (olivine, orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene and spinel) by isotope dilution. In addition, HSE host minerals have been separated and analyzed with a scanning electron microscope. Olivine and spinel show the highest HSE concentration especially for Os, Ir, Ru and Pt (up to 10 ppb) among the modally-major minerals, while the pyroxenes are 1–2 orders of magnitude poorer in HSE. The major minerals account for less than 30% of the whole-rock platinum group element budget. On the other hand, rare, micron to submicron platinum group minerals (PGM), such as Ru–Os ± Ir sulfides and Pt–Ir ± Os alloys, likely located in the intergranular spaces of the refractory depleted harzburgite, account for 50–100% of the HSE budget. The PGM grains are interpreted to be residual, having formed in response to the complete consumption of the base-metal sulfides by the high degree of partial melting (i.e. 23–24%) experienced by these samples. As they sequester the compatible platinum group elements (Os, Ir, Ru and Pt) in the mantle residue, these PGM provide key constraints for the modelling of PGE contents in terrestrial basalts (e.g. the solid/liquid partition coefficients needed to account for the compatible behavior of these elements in the mantle residue) and for understanding the long-lived Os isotope heterogeneities of the upper mantle, especially the old Re–Os ages found in young oceanic mantle. In fact, because of their Os-rich compositions and high melting temperatures, these microphases are likely to preserve their initial Os isotopic compositions unmodified over multiple events of mantle melting and mixing, and therefore generate, through recycling, heterogeneous Os isotopic signatures at different scales in the convecting mantle.

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Record Created:23 Feb 2009
Last Modified:08 Apr 2009 16:36

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