Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Platinum Group Elements

  • Nicholas Arndt
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1175-3




The platinum group elements (PGE) or metals (PGM) – ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum – have similar chemical characteristics and behave as a group during geochemical processes. They are strongly siderophile (iron-loving) and chalcophile (sulfur-loving) and are therefore concentrated in the core of the Earth and in iron meteorites, in sulfide ore deposits, and to a lesser extent in the Earth’s mantle. An important geological application of the PGE is the use of iridium as a tracer of meteoritic material, most famously in the development of the meteorite impact hypothesis for the origin of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. The isotopic system rhenium-osmium is used to date mafic-ultramafic rocks and as a tracer of processes in the Earth’s mantle. The occurrence of small excesses of PGE in the mantle has been often indicated as evidence of a late contribution of chondritic material to the Earth (Late Veneer hypothesis).

See Also


Mass Extinction Platinum Group Element Iron Meteorite Small Excess Radiogenic Isotope 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maison des GéosciencesLGCA, Université J. FourierSt-Martin d’HèresFrance