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Concentration of Platinum Group Elements during the Early Earth Evolution: A Review*

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DOI: 10.4236/nr.2017.83012    1,031 Downloads   1,546 Views Citations


Numerous unique geological processes [1] took place during the early Earth evolution; several of them, especially those occurring in the Hadean—Early Archean and later, are reflected in the modern geological (geophysical, geochemical, etc.) pattern. One such significant enigmatic feature is the preservation of extremely dense and heavy platinum group elements (PGEs): Pt, Pd, Rh, Ru, Ir, Os. Concentration of PGEs during this period could have taken place in two ways: 1) presence of particular matter capable of preserving PGEs near the earth's surface, 2) transportation of PGEs by magma flows from deep lithospheric (asthenospheric) layers (slabs) to the subsurface. Clearly, much of the dense and heavy PGEs did not sink through to the Earth’s mantle (core) at the time of the magma-ocean, and occur near Earth’s surface in abundances for formation of ore deposits with PGE concentrations found to be 2 - 3 orders of magnitude greater than those in their host media. Their enrichments are associated in numerous cases with such enigmatic phenomena as formation of anorthosites and anorthosite-bearing layered magmatic intrusions. PGE deposits and mineralization zones are also found in associations with chromitites, dunites and serpentinites. In this review, problems related to the initial concentration and preservation of PGEs, their association with anorthosites, and formation of layered intrusions are discussed in detail. The main aim of this article is analysis of the requirements—initial concentration and preservation of PGE and PGM (Platinum Group Minerals) during the early Earth evolution, as well as examination of the distribution behavior of some PGEs in different ore deposits and meteorites. It is supposed that meteoritic bombardment of Earth has played a significant role in formation of PGEs deposits. Some conclusions made in this article may be useful for developing and enhancing strategies of prospecting for PGEs deposits.

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Pilchin, A. and Eppelbaum, L. (2017) Concentration of Platinum Group Elements during the Early Earth Evolution: A Review*. Natural Resources, 8, 172-233. doi: 10.4236/nr.2017.83012.

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