Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 160, Issue 5, pp 761–775 | Cite as

Rare earth and high field strength element partitioning between iron-rich clinopyroxenes and felsic liquids

  • P. H. OlinEmail author
  • J. A. Wolff
Original Paper


Rare earth elements are commonly assumed to substitute only for Ca in clinopyroxene because of the similarity of ionic radii for REE3+ and Ca2+ in eightfold coordination. The assumption is valid for Mg-rich clinopyroxenes for which observed mineral/melt partition coefficients are readily predicted by the lattice strain model for substitution onto a single site (e.g., Wood and Blundy 1997). We show that natural Fe-rich pyroxenes in both silica-undersaturated and silica-oversaturated magmatic systems deviate from this behavior. Salites (Mg# 48–59) in phonolites from Tenerife, ferrohedenbergites (Mg# 14.2–16.2) from the rhyolitic Bandelier Tuff, and ferroaugites (Mg# 9.6–32) from the rhyolitic Rattlesnake Tuff have higher heavy REE contents than predicted by single-site substitution. The ionic radius of Fe2+ in sixfold coordination is substantially greater than that of Mg2+; hence, we propose that, in Fe-rich clinopyroxenes, heavy REE are significantly partitioned between eightfold Ca sites and sixfold Fe and Mg sites such that Yb and Lu exist dominantly in sixfold coordination. We also outline a REE-based method of identifying pyroxene/melt pairs in systems with multiple liquid and crystal populations, based upon the assumption that LREE and MREE reside exclusively in eightfold coordination in pyroxene. Contrary to expectations, interpolation of mineral/melt partition coefficient data for heavy REE does not predict the behavior of Y. We speculate that mass fractionation effects play a role in mineral/melt lithophile trace element partitioning that is detectable among pairs of isovalent elements with near-identical radii, such as Y and Ho, Zr and Hf, and Nb and Ta.


Pyroxene Felsic magma Trace elements Partition coefficients Rare earth elements 



We would like to acknowledge Charles Knaack and Scott Cornelius of the Washington State University GeoAnalytical Laboratory for their assistance with ICP-MS and electron microprobe data collection. Early discussions with Else-Ragnhild Neumann were instrumental in initiating this study. We also thank Martin Streck for contributing Rattlesnake Tuff pyroxenes and glasses to this study. We thank Roger Nielsen, Cin-Ty Lee and Jon Blundy for their reviews, which resulted in substantial improvements to the paper. Fieldwork on Tenerife was funded by NSF grant EAR-0001013, and in the Jemez Mountains by NSF EAR-9909700.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental Science (SEES)Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Geosciences DepartmentBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

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