Solubility of K in Fe-S liquid, silicate-K-(Fe-S)liq equilibria, and their planetary implications

Jibamitra Ganguly, George C. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Potassium has been found to have extremely limited absolute solubility in Fe-S liquid in the P-T range of 18-40 kbars, 1050-1150°C, and f{hook}O2 within the field of metallic iron. It also partitioned to certain silicate phase highly in preference to Fe-S liquid at 30 kbars, 1100°C. The dependence of the partitioning of K between solid silicate and Fe-S liquid on f{hook}O2 and compositions of mineral solid solutions has been analyzed. These experimental data, along with those of others, limit the amount of K that could fractionate in Fe-S liquid layers or a core in the early history of the moon and, thus, act as localized heat sources in its thermal history models, and also seem to argue against a chondritic abundance of potassium for the earth. The question of fractionation of enough 40K in an Fe-S liquid outer core of the earth to provide the necessary thermal energy for the geomagnetic dynamo remains unresolved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-420
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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