Partitioning of Ni, Co and V between spinel-structured oxides and silicate melts: Importance of spinel composition

Kevin Righter, W. P. Leeman, Richard Hervig

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114 Scopus citations


Partitioning of Ni, Co and V between Cr-rich spinels and basaltic melt has been studied experimentally between 1150 and 1325 °C, and at controlled oxygen fugacity from the Co-CoO buffer to slightly above the hematite-magnetite buffer. These new results, together with new Ni, Co and V analyses of experimental run products from Leeman [Leeman, W.P., 1974. Experimental determination of the partitioning of divalent cations between olivine and basaltic liquid, Pt. II. PhD thesis, Univ. Oregon, 231-337.], show that experimentally determined spinel-melt partition coefficients (D) are dependent upon temperature (T), oxygen fugacity (fO2) and spinel composition. In particular, partition coefficients determined on doped systems are higher than those in natural (undoped) systems, perhaps due to changing activity coefficients over the composition range defined by the experimental data. Using our new results and published runs (n=85), we obtain a multilinear regression equation that predicts experimental D(V) values as a function of T, fO2, concentration of V in melt and spinel composition. This equation allows prediction of D(V) spinel/melt values for natural mafic liquids at relevant crystallization conditions. Similarly, D(Ni) and D(Co) values can be inferred from our experiments at redox conditions approaching the QFM buffer, temperatures of 1150 to 1250 °C and spinel composition (early Cr-bearing and later Ti-magnetite) appropriate for basic magma differentiation. When coupled with major element modelling of liquid lines of descent, these values (D(Ni) sp/ melt=10 and D(Co) sp/melt=5) closely reproduce the compositional variation observed in komatiite, mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB), ocean island basalt (OIB) and basalt to rhyolite suites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalChemical Geology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 20 2006


  • Chromite
  • Fractional crystallization
  • Magnetite
  • Spinel
  • Trace element partitioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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