Partitioning experiments in the laser-heated diamond anvil cell: Volatile content in the Earth's core

Andrew P. Jephcoat, M. Ali Bouhifd, Don Porcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The present state of the Earth evolved from energetic events that were determined early in the history of the Solar System. A key process in reconciling this state and the observable mantle composition with models of the original formation relies on understanding the planetary processing that has taken place over the past 4.5Ga. Planetary size plays a key role and ultimately determines the pressure and temperature conditions at which the materials of the early solar nebular segregated. We summarize recent developments with the laser-heated diamond anvil cell that have made possible extension of the conventional pressure limit for partitioning experiments as well as the study of volatile trace elements. In particular, we discuss liquid-liquid, metal-silicate (M-Sil) partitioning results for several elements in a synthetic chondritic mixture, spanning a wide range of atomic number-helium to iodine. We examine the role of the core as a possible host of both siderophile and trace elements and the implications that early segregation processes at deep magma ocean conditions have for current mantle signatures, both compositional and isotopic. The results provide some of the first experimental evidence that the core is the obvious replacement for the long-sought, deep mantle reservoir. If so, they also indicate the need to understand the detailed nature and scale of core-mantle exchange processes, from atomic to macroscopic, throughout the age of the Earth to the present day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4295-4314
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1883
Publication statusPublished - Nov 28 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Fibre laser
  • Helium
  • High pressure
  • Iodine
  • Laser-heated diamond anvil cell
  • Partitioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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