CSEDI Collaborative Research: Application of Siderophile Elements to Early Earth Processes and Mantle Mixing

Project: Research project

Project Details


Siderophile elements are those chemical elements with a strong preference for metal compared to silicates. For the Earth, the abundances of these elements were strongly affected by segregation of the metallic core, and also likely affected by processes that occurred exclusively in the silicate portion of the early Earth (mantle and crust). For this project, we will conduct collaborative, synergistic research combining observations of siderophile element concentrations and isotopic compositions, with geodynamic modeling to study the origin and evolution of chemical heterogeneities in Earth's early mantle. The outcome of this work will be an improved understanding of the global processes that led to the establishment of siderophile element abundances in the mantle, as well as provide new insights to the differentiation and mixing histories of the mantle. One specific task will be to examine the petrologic and chronologic extents of 182W isotopic anomalies in terrestrial rocks. As the decay product of the short-lived 182Hf (t = 9 million years), variations in 182W likely reflect processes that occurred within the mantle during the first 30 million years of Earth history. Both ancient rocks, such as komatiites for which we have already identified isotopic anomalies, and modern rocks, such as mid-ocean ridge basalts, oceanic peridotites, and ocean island basalts will be examined. Complementary to this work, we will model large-scale processes, such as magma ocean crystallization, with the potential to generate mantle domains characterized by the elemental abundances and fractionations necessary to produce the observed isotopic variances.
Effective start/end date7/1/147/31/17


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $150,081.00


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