Trace element partitioning between type B CAI melts and melilite and spinel: Implications for trace element distribution during CAI formation

C. C. Lundstrom, A. L. Sutton, M. Chaussidon, W. F. McDonough, R. Ash

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Calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), occurring in chondritic meteorites and considered the oldest materials in the solar system, can provide critical information about the environment and time scale of creation of planetary materials. However, interpretation of the trace element and isotope compositions of CAIs, particularly the light elements Li, Be, and B, is hampered by the lack of constraint on melilite-melt and spinel-melt partition coefficients. We determined melilite-melt and spinel-melt partition coefficients for 21 elements by performing controlled cooling rate (2 °C/h) experiments at 1 atmosphere pressure in sealed platinum capsules using a synthetic type B CAI melt. Trace element concentrations were measured by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and/or laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Melilites vary only slightly in composition, ranging from Åk31-43. Results for the partitioning of trace elements between melilite and melt in three experiments and between spinel and melt in two experiments show that partition coefficients are independent of trace element concentration, are in good agreement for different analytical techniques (SIMS and LA-ICP-MS), and are in agreement with previous measurements in the literature. Partition coefficients between intermediate composition melilites and CAI melt are the following: Li, 0.5; Be, 1.0; B, 0.22; Rb, 0.012; Sr, 0.68; Zr, 0.004; Nb, 0.003; Cs, 0.002; Ba, 0.018; La, 0.056; Nd, 0.065; Sm, 0.073; Eu, 0.67; Er, 0.037; Yb, 0.018; Hf, 0.001; Ta, 0.003; Pb, 0.15; U, 0.001; Th, 0.002. Site size energetics analysis is used to assess isovalent partitioning into the different cation sites. The Young's modulus deduced from +2 cations partitioning into the melilite X site agrees well with the bulk modulus of melilite based on X-ray diffraction methods. The changes in light element partitioning as melilite composition varies are predicted and used in several models of fractional crystallization to evaluate if the observed Li, Be, and B systematics in Allende CAI 3529-41 are consistent with crystallization from a melt. Models of crystallization agree reasonably well with observed light element variations in areas previously interpreted to be unperturbed by secondary processes [Chaussidon, M., Robert, F., McKeegan, K.D., 2006. Li and B isotopic variations in an Allende CAI: Evidence for the in situ decay of short-lived 10Be and for the possible presence of the short-lived nuclide 7Be in the early solar system. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 224-245], indicating that the trends of light elements could reflect fractional crystallization of a melt. In contrast, areas interpreted to have been affected by alteration processes are not consistent with crystallization models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3421-3435
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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