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trapped melt in iiiab irons: solid/liquid elemental partitioning during the fractionation of the iiiab magmaGroup IIIAB, the largest iron-meteorite group, shows compositional trends (including a three-order-of-magnitude It concentration range) indicating that it formed by fractional crystallization of a metallic magma. Because about 200 irons are available, and all degrees of crystallization are well represented, IIIAB offers an excellent set of samples for the study of crystallization at all depths of the asteroidal core. On log-log Ir-Au, and Ir-As diagrams IIIAB forms a broad band; the breadth represents real meteorite-to-meteorite variations, far outside experimental or sampling uncertainties. A successful model must explain the width of this band; I suggest that it mainly resulted from the trapping of parental magma within the crystallizing solid. Because S is essentially insoluble in metal, the abundance of FeS is a measure of the fraction of trapped liquid. The trapped-melt model is supported by the observation that irons having higher S contents plot closer to the inferred composition of the magmatic parental liquid. The lowest S values are found in the irons occupying the left envelope of the IIIAB Ir-Au or Ir-As compositional fields, thus it is this set of irons that should be interpreted as the solid products of a fractionating magma. This simplifies the modeling of the crystallization process and allows inferences regarding the distribution ratios for other elements in the evolved IIIAB system. The large (multiton) Cape York irons show wide variations in their trapped-melt fractions; their compositions seem best understood in terms of a low initial S content of the IIIAB magma, about 20 mg/g. The inferred initial IIIAB distribution coefficient for Ir, 4.6, is much higher than published values based on laboratory studies of low-S systems; I suggest that low-S (and low-P) partition-ratio measurements tend to err in the direction of unity. In IIIAB distribution coefficients for Au, As, and Ni were still < 1 when the most evolved IIIAB irons formed, another indication of a low initial S content.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Wasson, John T.
(California Univ. Los Angeles, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 5, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume: 63
Issue: 18
ISSN: 0016-7037
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits