Iron isotopic fractionation between silicate mantle and metallic core at high pressureOPEN ACCESS 

Jin Liu, Nicolas Dauphas, Mathieu Roskosz, Michael Y. Hu, Hong Yang, Wenli Bi, Jiyong Zhao, Esen E. Alp, Justin Y. Hu & Jung-Fu Lin

Nature Communications 8,
Article number: 14377 (2017)


“The +0.1‰ elevated 56Fe/54Fe ratio of terrestrial basalts relative to chondrites was proposed to be a fingerprint of core-mantle segregation. However, the extent of iron isotopic fractionation between molten metal and silicate under high pressure–temperature conditions is poorly known. Here we show that iron forms chemical bonds of similar strengths in basaltic glasses and iron-rich alloys, even at high pressure. From the measured mean force constants of iron bonds, we calculate an equilibrium iron isotope fractionation between silicate and iron under core formation conditions in Earth of ∼0–0.02‰, which is small relative to the +0.1‰ shift of terrestrial basalts. This result is unaffected by small amounts of nickel and candidate core-forming light elements, as the isotopic shifts associated with such alloying are small. This study suggests that the variability in iron isotopic composition in planetary objects cannot be due to core formation.”