Experimental constraints on crystallization differentiation in a deep magma ocean

M. J. Walter, E. Nakamura, R. G. Trønnes, D. J. Frost

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83 Citations (Scopus)


Major and trace element mineral/melt partition coefficients are presented for phases on the liquidus of fertile peridotite at 23-23.5 GPa and 2300 °C. Partitioning models, based on lattice-strain theory, are developed for cations in the '8-fold' sites of majorite and Mg-perovskite. Composition-dependant partitioning models are made for cations in the 12-fold site of Ca-perovskite based on previously published data. D min/melt is extremely variable for many elements in Ca-perovskite and highly correlated with certain melt compositional parameters (e.g. CaO and Al 2O3 contents). The 8-fold sites in Mg-perovskite and majorite generally have ideal site radii between 0.8 and 0.9 Å for trivalent cations, such that among rare-earth-elements (REE) D min/melt is maximum for Lu. Lighter REE become increasingly incompatible with increasing ionic radii. The 12-fold site in Ca-perovskite is larger and has an ideal trivalent site radius of ∼1.05 Å, such that the middle REE has the maximum D min/melt. Trivalent cations are generally compatible to highly compatible in Ca-perovskite giving it considerable leverage in crystallization models. Geochemical models based on these phase relations and partitioning results are used to test for evidence in mantle peridotite of preserved signals of crystal differentiation in a deep, Hadean magma ocean. Model compositions for bulk silicate Earth and convecting mantle are constructed and evaluated. The model compositions for primitive convecting mantle yield superchondritic Mg/Si and Ca/Al ratios, although many refractory lithophile element ratios are near chondritic. Major element mass balance calculations effectively preclude a CI-chondritic bulk silicate Earth composition, and the super-chondritic Mg/Si ratio of the mantle is apparently a primary feature. Mass balance calculations indicate that 10-15% crystal fractionation of an assemblage dominated by Mg-perovskite, but with minor amounts of Ca-perovskite and ferropericlase, from a magma ocean with model peridotite-based bulk silicate Earth composition produces a residual magma that resembles closely the convecting mantle. Partition coefficient based crystal fractionation models are developed that track changes in refractory lithophile major and trace element ratios in the residual magma (e.g. convecting mantle). Monomineralic crystallization of majorite or Mg-perovskite is limited to less than 5% before certain ratios fractionate beyond convecting mantle values. Only trace amounts of Ca-perovskite can be tolerated in isolation due to its remarkable ability to fractionate lithophile elements. Indeed, Ca-perovskite is limited to only a few percent in a deep mantle crystal assemblage. Removal from a magma ocean of approximately 13% of a deep mantle assemblage comprised of Mg-perovskite, Ca-perovskite and ferropericlase in the proportions 93:3:4 produces a residual magma with a superchondritic Ca/Al ratio matching that of the model convecting mantle. This amount of crystal separation generates fractionations in other refractory lithophile elements ratios that generally mimic those observed in the convecting mantle. Further, the residual magma is expected to have subchondritic Sm/Nd and Lu/Hf ratios. Modeling shows that up to 15% crystal separation of the deep mantle assemblage from an early magma ocean could have yielded a convecting mantle reservoir with 143 Nd/ 144 Nd and 176 177 Hf isotopic compositions that remain internal to the array observed for modern oceanic volcanic rocks. If kept in isolation, the residual magma and deep crystal piles would grow model isotopic compositions that are akin to enriched mantle 1 (EM1) and HIMU reservoirs, respectively, in Nd-Hf isotopic space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4267-4284
Number of pages18
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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