The University of Arizona

An experimental test of Henry's Law in solid metal-liquid metal systems with implications for iron meteorites

N. L. Chabot, A. J. Campbell, J. H. Jones, M. Humayun, C. B. Agee


Experimental solid metal-liquid metal partition coefficients have been used to model the crystallization of magmatic iron meteorites and understand the evolution of asteroid cores. However, the majority of the partitioning experiments have been conducted with trace elements doped at levels that are orders of magnitude higher than measured in iron meteorites. Concern about Henrys Law and the unnatural doping levels have been cited as one reason that two recent iron meteorite studies have dismissed the experimental partition coefficients in their modeling. Using laser ablation ICP-MS analysis, this study reports experimentally determined solid metal-liquid metal trace element partition coefficients from runs doped down to the levels occurring in iron meteorites. The analyses for 12 trace elements (As, Co, Cr, Cu, Ga, Ge, Ir, Os, Pd, Pt, Re, and W) show no deviations from Henrys Law, and these results support decades of experimental work in which the partition coefficients were assumed to be independent of trace element concentration. Further, since our experiments are doped with natural levels of trace elements, the partitioning results are directly applicable to iron meteorites and should be used when modeling their crystallization. In contrast, our new Ag data are inconsistent with previous studies, suggesting the high Ag-content in previous studies may have influenced the measured Ag partitioning behavior.


Henry's Law;trace elements;asteroid;magmatic iron meteorites

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