Neodymium diffusion in orthopyroxene: Experimental studies and applications to geological and planetary problems

Jennifer Sano, Jibamitra Ganguly, Richard Hervig, Ralf Dohmen, Xiaoyu Zhang

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22 Scopus citations


We have determined the Nd3+ diffusion kinetics in natural enstatite crystals as a function of temperature, f(O2) and crystallographic direction at 1bar pressure and applied these data to several terrestrial and planetary problems. The diffusion is found to be anisotropic with the diffusion parallel to the c-axial direction being significantly greater than that parallel to a- and b-axis. Also, D(//a) is likely to be somewhat greater than D(//b). Diffusion experiments parallel to the b-axial direction as a function of f(O2) do not show a significant dependence of D(Nd3+) on f(O2) within the range defined by the IW buffer and 1.5log unit above the WM buffer. The observed diffusion anisotropy and weak f(O2) effect on D(Nd3+) may be understood by considering the crystal structure of enstatite and the likely diffusion pathways. Using the experimental data for D(Nd3+), we calculated the closure temperature of the Sm-Nd geochronological system in enstatite during cooling as a function of cooling rate, grain size and geometry, initial (peak) temperature and diffusion direction. We have also evaluated the approximate domain of validity of closure temperatures calculated on the basis of an infinite plane sheet model for finite plane sheets showing anisotropic diffusion. These results provide a quantitative framework for the interpretation of Sm-Nd mineral ages of orthopyroxene in planetary samples. We discuss the implications of our experimental data to the problems of melting and subsolidus cooling of mantle rocks, and the resetting of Sm-Nd mineral ages in mesosiderites. It is found that a cooling model proposed earlier [Ganguly J., Yang H., Ghose S., 1994. Thermal history of mesosiderites: Quantitative constraints from compositional zoning and Fe-Mg ordering in orthopyroxene. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 58, 2711-2723] could lead to the observed ∼90Ma difference between the U-Pb age and Sm-Nd mineral age for mesosiderites, thus obviating the need for a model of resetting of the Sm-Nd mineral age by an "impulsive disturbance" [Prinzhoffer A, Papanastassiou D.A, Wasserburg G.J., 1992. Samarium-neodymium evolution of meteorites. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 56, 797-815].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4684-4698
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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