Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 110, Issue 4, pp 488–499 | Cite as

Experimentally determined mineral-melt partition coefficients for Sc, Y and REE for olivine, orthopyroxene, pigeonite, magnetite and ilmenite

  • Roger L. Nielsen
  • William E. Gallahan
  • Florence Newberger


Our current lack of understanding of the partitioning behavior of Sc, Y and the REE (rare-earth elements) can be attributed directly to the lack of a sufficiently large or chemically diverse experimental data set. To address this problem, we conducted a series of experiments using several different natural composition lavas, doped with the elements of interest, as starting compositions. Microprobe analyses of orthopyroxene, pigeonite, olivine, magnetite, ilmenite and co-existing glasses in the experimental charges were used to calculate expressions that describe REE partitioning as a function of a variety of system parameters. Using expressions that represent mineral-melt reactions (versus element ratio distribution coefficients) it is possible to calculate terms that express low-Ca pyroxene-melt partitioning behavior and are independent of both pyroxene and melt composition. Compositional variations suggest that Sc substitution in olivine involves either a paired substitution with Al or, more commonly, with vacancies. The partitioning of Sc is dependent both on melt composition and temperature. Our experimentally determined olivine-melt REE Ds (partition coefficients) are similar to, but slightly higher than those reported by McKay (1986) and support their conclusions that olivines are strongly LREE depleted. Y and REE mineral/melt partition coefficients for magnetite range from 0.003 for La to 0.02 for Lu. Ilmenite partition coefficients range from 0.007 for La to 0.029 for Lu. These experimental values are two orders of magnitude lower than many of the published values determined by phenocryst/matrix separation techniques.


Magnetite Olivine Partition Coefficient Ilmenite Distribution Coefficient 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger L. Nielsen
    • 1
  • William E. Gallahan
    • 1
  • Florence Newberger
    • 2
  1. 1.College of OceanographyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Board of Earth SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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