Diffusion and partition coefficients of minor and trace elements in magnetite as a function of oxygen fugacity at 1150 ºC

R. H. Sievwright, H. St C. O’Neill, J. Tolley, J. J. Wilkinson, A. J. Berry

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Lattice diffusion coefficients and partition coefficients have been determined for Li, Mg, Al, Sc, Ti, Cr, V, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, In, Lu, Hf, Ta and U in single crystals of natural magnetite as a function of oxygen fugacity (fO2) at 1150 °C and 1 bar by equilibration with a synthetic silicate melt reservoir. Most experiments were run for twelve hours, which was sufficient to generate diffusion profiles from 25 to > 1000 µm in length. The results were checked at one condition with two additional experiments at 66.9 and 161 h. The profiles were analysed using scanning laser-ablation inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometry. Diffusion coefficients (D) were calculated by fitting data from individual element diffusion profiles to the conventional diffusion equation for one-dimensional diffusion into a semi−infinite slab with constant composition maintained in the melt at the interface. Equilibrium magnetite/melt partition coefficients are given by the ratio of the interface concentrations to those in the melt. Plots of log D as a function of log fO2 produce V-shaped trends for all the investigated elements, representing two different mechanisms of diffusion that depend on (fO2)−2/3 and (fO2)2/3. Diffusion coefficients at a given fO2 generally increase in the order: Cr < Mo ≈ Ta < V < Ti < Al < Hf ≈ Nb < Sc ≈ Zr ≈ Ga < In < Lu ≈ Y < Ni < U ≈ Zn < Mn ≈ Mg < Co < Li < Cu. Thus, Cu contents of magnetites are most susceptible to diffusive reequilibration, whereas the original content of Cr should be best preserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Number of pages21
JournalContributions of Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffusion
  • Magnetite
  • Oxygen fugacity
  • Petrogenetic indicator
  • Trace element partitioning

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