Extreme Zr stable isotope fractionation during magmatic fractional crystallization

Mauricio Ibañez-Mejia, François L.H. Tissot

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Zirconium is a commonly used elemental tracer of silicate differentiation, yet its stable isotope systematics remain poorly known. Accessory phases rich in Zr4+ such as zircon and baddeleyite may preserve a unique record of Zr isotope behavior in magmatic environments, acting both as potential drivers of isotopic fractionation and recorders of melt compositional evolution. To test this potential, we measured the stable Zr isotope composition of 70 single zircon and baddeleyite crystals from a well-characterized gabbroic igneous cumulate. We show that (i) closed-system magmatic crystallization can fractionate Zr stable isotopes at the >0.5% level, and (ii) zircon and baddeleyite are isotopically heavy relative to the melt from which they crystallize, thus driving chemically differentiated liquids toward isotopically light compositions. Because these effects are contrary to first-order expectations based on mineral-melt bonding environment differences, Zr stable isotope fractionation during zircon crystallization may not solely be a result of closed-system thermodynamic equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaax8648
JournalScience Advances
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 18 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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