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The Origin, Accretion and Differentiation of Extreme Volatiles in Terrestrial Planets


Identifying the processes by which the terrestrial planets acquired, retained and redistributed extreme volatile elements remains a fundamental science question. Although the halogens, Br, Cl and I, represent a powerful potential tracer, the concentrations of Br and I within most samples is too low for most laboratories - and the halogens have been ignored. We detail a Manchester innovation which enables halogens in these samples to be readily analysed.

We propose to: 1) Make the first direct experimental measurements of the partitioning behaviour of the halogens relevant to terrestrial mantle melting and planetesimal differentiation; 2) Establish the character of halogens available for accretion from chondrites; 3) Investigate the effect of planetesimal differentiation on the halogens from evolved meteorite glass/mineral systems; 4) Identify the role of massive impactors from lunar volcanic glasses; and 5) Identify the effect of planetary surface processes in the absence of life from alteration products in Martian meteorites.

On the Earth we will establish the first halogen mid ocean ridge and ocean island basalt halogen data base. This will enable us to: 1) Characterise the respective mantle source halogen-noble gases; 2) Test models of volatile element recycling into the mantle by exploiting the high I/Cl of the ocean sediments caused by organic sequestration; 3) Identify whether the relationship between halogens and noble gases in subducted fluids (pilot data) is preserved in the mantle; 4) Use the mantle iodine concentration together with 129Xe as a tool to quantify the mass of dead iodine recycled into the respective reservoirs. 5) Identify or devise mantle convection and primordial reservoir source models compatible with the new data set.

Call for proposal

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Wellington square university offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom

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South East (England) Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Oxfordshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Christopher John Ballentine (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Gill Wells (Ms.)
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (2)