Magmatic platinum nanoparticles in metasomatic silicate glasses and sulfides from Patagonian mantle xenoliths

José María González-Jiménez*, Josep Roqué-Rosell, Abigail Jiménez-Franco, Santiago Tassara, Fernando Nieto, Fernando Gervilla, Sandra Baurier, Joaquín A. Proenza, Edward Saunders, Artur P. Deditius, Manuel Schilling, Alexandre Corgne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Platinum-rich nanonuggets (s.l., nanoparticles) are commonly produced in experiments attempting to quantify the solubility or partitioning of noble metals in silicate and sulfide melts. However, it has been thought that these represent artifacts produced during quenching of the experimental runs. Here, we document nanoparticles (~ 20–80 nm) of Pt-rich alloys and arsenides dispersed in high-temperature metasomatic silicate glasses and in base-metal sulfides (BMS) entrained in them, found interstitially between minerals of mantle peridotite xenoliths from southern Patagonia. Pt-rich nanoparticles found in the interstitial silicate glasses are frequently attached to, or in the proximities of, oxides (ilmenite or Cr-spinel) suggesting a close link between the formation of the oxides and the Pt-rich nanoparticles. The interstitial glasses in the studied xenoliths correspond to quenched alkaline basaltic melts that infiltrated the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) at > 1000 °C at an oxygen fugacity (fO2) near the fayalite–magnetite–quartz (FMQ) buffer. Experimental works indicate that at these conditions the crystallization of oxides such as ilmenite or Cr-spinel may lower fO2 to promote the precipitation of Pt-rich nanoparticles. The investigation of four Pt-rich nanoparticles hosted in two different pentlandite grains using a combination of focused ion beam and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (FIB/HRTEM) show that these nanoparticles consists of polycrystalline aggregates < 10 nm that are randomly oriented relative to their sulfide host matrices. These observations suggest that these nanoparticles could be segregated either directly from the infiltrating alkaline basaltic melt prior to sulfur saturation in the silicate melt, or from droplets of immiscible sulfide melt once sulfur saturation was achieved. The formation of Pt-rich nanoparticles in high-temperature melts, either silicate or sulfide, provides new clues on the processes of fractionation, transport and concentration of Pt in the mantle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanoparticles
  • Platinum
  • Silicate glass
  • Sulfides
  • Focused ion beam (FIB)
  • Mantle xenoliths


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