Core-mantle fractionation of carbon in Earth and Mars: The effects of sulfur

1Kyusei Tsuno, 1Damanveer S.Grewal, 1Rajdeep Dasgupta
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2018.07.010]
1Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, MS 126, Houston, TX 77005, USA
Copyright Elsevier

Constraining carbon (C) fractionation between silicate magma ocean (MO) and core-forming alloy liquid during early differentiation is essential to understand the origin and early distribution of C between reservoirs such as the crust-atmosphere, mantle, and core of Earth and other terrestrial planets. Yet experimental data at high pressure (P)-temperature (T) on the effect of other light elements such as sulfur (S) in alloy liquid on alloy-silicate partitioning of C and C solubility in Fe-alloy compositions relevant for core formation is lacking. Here we have performed multi-anvil experiments at 6–13 GPa and 1800–2000 °C to examine the effects of S and Ni on the solubility limit of C in Fe-rich alloy liquid as well as partitioning behavior of C between alloy liquid and silicate melt (DCalloy/silicate). The results show that C solubility in the alloy liquid as well as DCalloy/silicate decreases with increasing in S content in the alloy liquid. Empirical regression on C solubility in alloy liquid using our new experimental data and previous experiments demonstrates that C solubility significantly increases with increasing temperature, whereas unlike in S-poor or S-free alloy compositions, there is no discernible effect of Ni on C solubility in S-rich alloy liquid.

Our modelling results confirm previous findings that in order to satisfy the C budget of BSE, the bulk Earth C undergoing alloy-silicate fractionation needs to be as high as those of CI-type carbonaceous chondrite, i.e., not leaving any room for volatility-induced loss of carbon during accretion. For Mars, on the other hand, an average single-stage core formation at relatively oxidized conditions (1.0 log unit below IW buffer) with 10-16 wt.% S in the core could yield a Martian mantle with a C budget similar to that of Earth’s BSE for a bulk C content of ∼0.25-0.9 wt.%. For the scenario where C was delivered to the proto-Earth by a S-rich differentiated impactor at a later stage, our model calculations predict that bulk C content in the impactor can be as low as ∼0.5 wt.% for an impactor mass that lies between 9-20% of present day Earth’s mass. This value is much higher than 0.05-0.1 wt.% bulk C in the impactor predicted by Li et al. (2016) because C-solubility limit of 0.3 wt.% in a S-rich alloy predicted by their models is significantly lower than the experimentally derived C-solubility of ∼1.6 wt. % for the relevant S-content in the core of the impactor.

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