Ruthenium in Komatiitic Chromite


The distinction between Ru in solid solution and Ru-bearing inclusions is essential for the predictive modeling of platinum-group element (PGE) geochemistry in applications such as the lithogeochemical exploration for magmatic sulfide deposits in komatiites. This study investigates the role of chromite in the fractionation of Ru in ultramafic melts by analyzing chromite grains from sulfide-undersaturated komatiites and a komatiitic basalt from the Yilgarn Craton in Western Australia. In situ analysis using laser ablation ICP-MS yields uniform Ru concentrations in chromites both within-grain and on a sample scale, with concentrations between 220 and 540. ppb. All other platinum-group elements are below the detection limit of the laser ablation ICP-MS analysis. Carius tube digestion isotope dilution ICP-MS analysis of chromite concentrates confirms the accuracy of the in-situ method. Time resolved laser ablation ICP-MS analyses have identified the presence of sub-micron Ir-bearing inclusions in some chromite grains from the komatiitic basalt. However, Ru-bearing inclusions have not been recognized in the analyzed chromites and this combined with the in situ data suggests that Ru exists in solid solution in the crystal lattice of chromite. These results show that chromite can control the fractionation and concentration of Ru in ultramafic systems.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

accuracy assessment; chromite; concentration (composition); fractionation; geochemistry; in situ measurement; komatiite; lithology; massive sulfide; mineral exploration; platinum group element; ruthenium; Western Australia; Yilgarn Block

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Article - Journal

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© 2011 Elsevier Limited, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2011