Chromitites in ophiolites: How, where, when, why? Part I. A review and new ideas on the origin and significance of platinum-group minerals

José María González-Jiménez*, William L. Griffin, Fernando Gervilla, Joaquín A. Proenza, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly, Norman J. Pearson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Platinum-group minerals are the dominant control on the budget of platinum-group elements in ophiolitic chromitites. They vary widely in distribution, morphology, chemistry and Os-isotope compositions. Their distribution in different types of chromitites, and different microstructural sites within them may reflect the role of chromite as a physical "collector" of the platinum-group elements during crystallisation of both phases from melts. The platinum-group minerals show significant Os-isotope heterogeneity on the scale of single micrometric grains enclosed within individual chromite grains. This micro-scale isotopic heterogeneity, and their random spatial distribution within the chromites, argue strongly against an origin of the platinum-group minerals via exsolution from the chromite lattice during post-magmatic cooling. A re-interpretation of their microstructures and Os isotopes analysed in situ had led us to review the traditional models, and to propose several origins for the platinum-group minerals in chromitites. (1) The suites of platinum-group minerals mainly record crystallisation during mixing of multiple different melts and physical entrapment in chromite. (2) Some platinum-group minerals in chromitites may have been scavenged from wall-rock peridotite during migration of the parental melts of the chromitite. (3) Other platinum-group minerals may have precipitated from metasomatic fluid/melts that infiltrated existing chromitites. The recrystallization of pre-existing platinum-group minerals during polyphase metamorphism or "recycling" of the chromitite into deeper mantle levels can explain the presence of micrometric platinum-group minerals with distinct Os-isotope compositions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2014


  • Assimilation
  • Melt mixing
  • Os isotopes
  • Platinum-group minerals
  • Postmagmatic veining
  • Subsolidus recrsytallisation


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