Highly siderophile element fractionation during chondrite melting inferred from olivine-rich primitive achondrites

Robert W. Nicklas, James M. D. Day, Zoltán Váci, Minghua Ren, Kathryn G. Gardner-Vandy, Kimberly T. Tait

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Available online 1 May 2023


“Metal-silicate segregation is one of the most fundamental mechanisms in planetary differentiation, with primitive achondrites offering important constraints on this process. Brachinites and brachinite-like achondrites (BLA) are olivine-dominated primitive achondrites that experienced up to ∼20% partial melt removal under relatively oxidized (ΔIW∼-1) conditions within an initially chondritic parent body and represent residues with inefficient metal-loss. We present bulk rock and in situ lithophile and highly siderophile element (HSE) abundance systematics as well as 187Re-187Os data for five olivine-rich primitive achondrites. These new data confirm classification of Reid 013 as a brachinite, three of the samples as BLA (Northwest Africa [NWA] 6874, NWA 7499, and Miller Range 090805), and the final sample as an ungrouped primitive olivine-rich achondrite (NWA 7680). An aliquot of MIL 090805 shows amongst the highest total HSE contents (>35 ppm) and the highest Pt content (∼23 ppm) of any primitive achondrite. Compiled HSE data for brachinites and BLA show correlations between total HSE abundance, Pt enrichment, and average olivine Fo. This correlation can be explained by variable melting (∼10-20%) of an H ordinary chondrite-like protolith, with retention of both Fe-metal and a Pt-rich alloy phase distinct from the observed Fe-metal phases in more depleted residues. Such a Pt-alloy phase is likely stabilized by elevated abundances of the HSE during chondrite melting and the low solubility of HSE in melts. Rhenium-Os isotope data in the studied samples has been modified by recent mobilization of Re during terrestrial weathering, with the limited range of measured 187Os/188Os in brachinites and BLA supporting minor fractionation of Re/Os during melting and an ancient (∼4.5 Ga) partial melting event to explain their compositions. These results indicate that models of planetary differentiation should consider the low solubility of Pt in chondrite melts and the potential for alloy formation to modify HSE abundances of silicate mantles.”