Insights into the mantle geochemistry of scandium from a meta-analysis of garnet data

Mathieu Chasse, William L. Griffin, Olivier Alard, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly, Georges Calas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The meta-analysis of about 13,000 analyses of scandium content in garnet grains shows that, below the spinel-garnet transition, this phase carries about three-quarters of the Sc budget of the mantle, indicating its control on Sc mobility. The Sc content of garnets in mafic rocks is low, due to a dilution effect resulting from their high modal content in garnet. Garnets from ultramafic rocks exhibit a wider range of Sc concentrations. We assess the relative influence of thermobarometry, crystal chemistry and fluid-related events on the distribution of Sc in garnet from such rocks to improve the tracking of geochemical processes in the mantle. Pressure and temperature of equilibration in the mantle are second-order factors influencing the Sc content of garnet, while crystal chemistry, in particular Cr/Cr+Al and Ca/Ca+mg, is the main parameter controlling the compatibility of Sc. Scandium is incorporated in both X and Y sites of Cr-Ca-rich garnets, resulting in a behaviour intermediate between rare-earth elements, incorporated in the X site, and trivalent transition elements, occupying the Y site. This affinity for both sites results in a mild compatibility of Sc in the garnet stability field of the mantle; hence Sc concentration in garnet increases with melt extraction and can be reduced by silicate-melt metasomatism. In contrast, metasomatism by volatile-rich fluids increases the Sc concentration in garnet. The control of garnet on the compatibility of Sc in deep lithospheric rocks demonstrates the potential of using Sc to track the conditions of formation of magmas and their residual rocks, as well as the origin and nature of metasomatic fluids. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-421
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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