The influence of melt composition on the partitioning of trace elements between anorthite and silicate melt

  • Louise SchoneveldEmail author
  • Hugh St. C. O’Neill
Original Paper


The effect of melt composition on the partitioning of trace elements between anorthite and silicate melts has been studied experimentally in five compositions in the system CaO–Al2O3–SiO2 (CAS) at ~ 1400 °C and four compositions in the system CaO–MgO–Al2O3–SiO2 (CMAS) at 1332 °C. Melt composition has a significant impact on the substitution of trace elements into anorthite, particularly if the trace-element substitution is aliovalent and requires a charge balance for substitution. Melt composition strongly influences the partitioning of the trivalent rare earth element (REE) cations into the large-cation site (M) of anorthite. Due to charge balance requirements, the activity of alumina in the melt is the most important compositional variable for the REE partitioning in anorthite. Scandium, another trivalent cation, is much more compatible than is predicted for trivalent cations partitioning on the M-site. Therefore, scandium is likely partitioning onto the tetrahedral site in place of aluminium, which requires no charge balance and therefore is not affected strongly by melt composition. Similarly, the partitioning of the small divalent cations (Be and Mg) show a stronger relationship with changing melt composition than the large divalent cations (Ca, Sr, and Ba) and therefore are likely to partition on the tetrahedral site (T) of plagioclase rather than the large-cation site (M). Detailed thermodynamic modelling of the effects of melt composition is required for an adequate parameterization of trace-element mineral/melt partition coefficients, in addition to models of the effects of mineral composition.


Trace element Partition coefficients Rare earth elements Anorthite System CMAS Lattice strain 



LS was funded by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship and a scholarship from families of Bruce Chappell and Allan White. Analytical costs were funded by ARC grant FL130100066 to HON. Many thanks to Jӧrg Hermann, Dean Scott and David Clark for advice on the experimental procedures. Chemical analysis was undertaken with the aid of Robert Rapp, Jeremy Wykes, Jung-Woo Park and the staff of the Centre for Advanced Microscopy at the ANU. We thank Ralf Dohmen and Jon Blundy for helpful reviews, and Chris Ballhaus for his editorial handling.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 80 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research School of Earth SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Mineral ResourcesAustralian Resources Research CentreKensingtonAustralia

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