Crystal-melt partitioning of noble gases (helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon) for olivine and clinopyroxene

Veronika S. Heber*, Richard A. Brooker, Simon P. Kelley, Bernard J. Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    146 Citations (Scopus)


    Mineral-melt partition coefficients of all noble gases (min/meltDi) have been obtained for olivine (ol) and clinopyroxene (cpx) by UV laser ablation (213 nm) of individual crystals grown from melts at 0.1 GPa mixed noble gas pressure. Experimental techniques were developed to grow crystals virtually free of melt and fluid inclusions since both have been found to cause profound problems in previous work. This is a particularly important issue for the analysis of noble gases in crystals that have very low partition coefficients relative to coexisting melt and fluid phases. The preferred partitioning values obtained for the ol-melt system for He, Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe are 0.00017(13), 0.00007(7), 0.0011(6), 0.00026(16), and 0.0006(- 6) (+ 9), respectively. The respective cpx-melt partition coefficients are 0.0002(2), 0.00041(35), 0.0011(7), 0.0002(2), and 0.0002(- 2) (+ 3). The data confirm the incompatible behaviour of noble gases for both olivine and clinopyroxene but unlike other trace elements these values show little variation for a wide range of atomic radius. The lack of dependence of partitioning on atomic radius is, however, consistent with the partitioning behaviour of other trace elements which have been found to exhibit progressively lower dependence of min/meltDi on radius as the charge decreases. As all noble gases appear to exhibit similar min/meltDi values we deduce that noble gases are not significantly fractionated from each other by olivine and clinopyroxene during melting and fractional crystallisation. Although incompatible, the partitioning values for noble gases also suggest that significant amounts of primordial noble gases may well have been retained in the mantle despite intensive melting processes. The implication of our data is that high primordial/radiogenic noble gas ratios (3He/4He, 22Ne/21Ne, and 36Ar/40Ar) characteristic of plume basalt sources can be achieved by recycling a previously melted (depleted) mantle source rather than reflecting an isolated, non-degassed primordial mantle region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1041-1061
    Number of pages21
    JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2007


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