The partitioning of trace elements between clinopyroxene and trachybasaltic melt during rapid cooling and crystal growth

S. Mollo*, J. D. Blundy, G. Iezzi, P. Scarlato, A. Langone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


We present the variation in trace element partition coefficients measured at the interface between rapidly cooled clinopyroxene crystals and co-existing melts. Results indicate that, as the cooling rate is increased, clinopyroxene crystals are progressively depleted in Si, Ca and Mg counterbalanced by enrichments in Al (mainly tetrahedral Aliv), Na and Ti. Partition coefficients (Ds) for rare earth elements (REE), high field strength elements (HFSE) and transition elements (TE) increase with increasing cooling rate, in response to clinopyroxene compositional variations. The entry of REE into the M2 site is facilitated by a coupled substitution where either Na substitutes for Ca on the M2 site or Aliv substitutes for Si in the tetrahedral site. The latter substitution reflects an increased ease of locally balancing the excess charge at M2 as the number of surrounding Aliv atoms increases. Due to the lower concentration of Ca in rapidly cooled clinopyroxenes, divalent large ion lithophile elements (LILE) on M2 decrease at the expense of monovalent cations. Conversely, higher concentrations of HFSE and TE on the M1 site are facilitated as the average charge on this site increases with the replacement of divalent-charged cations by Alvi. Although crystallization kinetics modify clinopyroxene composition, deviations from equilibrium partitioning are insufficient to change the tendency of a trace element to be compatible or incompatible. Consequently, there are regular relationships between ionic radius, valence of the trace element and D. At both equilibrium and cooling rate conditions, Ds for isovalent cations define parabola-like curves when plotted against ionic radius, consistent with the lattice strain model, demonstrating that the partitioning of trace elements is driven by charge balance mechanisms; cation substitution reactions can be treated in terms of the energetics of the various charge-imbalanced configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1633-1654
Number of pages22
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Clinopyroxene
  • Cooling rate
  • Lattice strain model
  • Trace element partition coefficients

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