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New insights on Earth’s formation and differentiation processes from in situ analyses of halogens (F, Cl, Br and I) in meteorites and mantle samples

Project description

Tracing halogens in meteorites offers new insight into Earth formation

The physical and chemical evolution of Earth as well the development of life on its surface relies on volatile elements just like halogens. Fundamental questions regarding how and when the Earth acquired its volatile elements and how they are currently distributed between its geochemical reservoirs still remain unsolved. The EU-funded HAMA project will seek to shed further insight into the geochemistry of halogens by measuring the fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine elements in a diverse group of primitive meteorites. These meteorites may have been some of the building blocks from which Earth formed. Project research will reveal how halogens subducted back into the mantle behave, and how they influence magma chemistry and volcanism.


Halogens (F, Cl, Br and I) are involved in key processes of the Earth and Planetary sciences. However, some crucial challenges of halogens’ geochemistry are unsolved. They include (i) halogen abundances in the Earth’s primitive mantle (PM) with implications on their origin and evolution during Earth formation and early differentiation; (ii) their behaviour during subduction to the Earth’s mantle; and (iii), their magmatic-volcanogenic fluxes from the mantle to the crust at subduction zones (SZ). Halogen geochemistry is currently hampered by analytical and sampling limitations. The suitability of reference halogen values in glass standards for in situ analysis is disputed. It has been also shown that indirect inferences from the whole-rock compositions of magmas are limited for fully assessing the chemical geodynamics of halogens. Technique and methodology leaps are needed to allow the in situ analysis (i.e. in minerals) of mantle and crust rocks, and to address fundamental questions in halogen geochemistry. I propose to analyse halogens in the minerals of meteorites, and unique PM-like intraplate, SZ and cratonic mantle rocks. This research will enable to define new benchmark values for meteorites and PM and determine how halogens are recycled to SZ magmas and to the deeper mantle. I will produce new standards, which in combination with analytical developments, will provide unique data about the volumetrically important mantle reservoir. In the final phase of the project, I will study halogens in the mineral-hosted melt inclusions of magma-percolated mantle and crust rocks to derive partitioning coefficients and model their SZ magmatic-volcanogenic fluxes. The research will settle in an interdisciplinary, collaborative network to stimulate breakthrough outcomes in geochemistry, cosmochemistry, volcanology and economic geology. It will significant upgrade my technical and scientific capabilities and will allow me to reach a leading position in volatile geochemistry.


Net EU contribution
€ 304 724,16

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Vaud
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 304 724,16