Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 7, 2020

Quadrivalent praseodymium in planetary materials

Michael Anenburg ORCID logo, Antony D. Burnham and Jessica L. Hamilton
From the journal American Mineralogist


Praseodymium is capable of existing as Pr3+ and Pr4+. Although the former is dominant across almost all geological conditions, the observation of Pr4+ by XANES and Pr anomalies (both positive and negative) in multiple light rare earth element minerals from Nolans Bore, Australia, and Stetind, Norway, indicates that quadrivalent Pr can occur under oxidizing hydrothermal and supergene conditions. High-temperature REE partitioning experiments at oxygen fugacities up to more than 12 log units more oxidizing than the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer show negligible evidence for Pr4+ in zircon, indicating that Pr likely remains as Pr3+ under all magmatic conditions. Synthetic Pr4+-bearing zircons in the pigment industry form under unique conditions, which are not attained in natural systems. Quadrivalent Pr in solutions has an extremely short lifetime, but may be sufficient to cause anomalous Pr in solids. Because the same conditions that favor Pr4+ also stabilize Ce4+ to a greater extent, these two cations have similar ionic radii, and Ce is more than six times as abundant as Pr, it seems that Pr-dominant minerals must be exceptionally rare if they occur at all. We identify cold, alkaline, and oxidizing environments such as oxyhalide-rich regions at the Atacama Desert or on Mars as candidates for the existence of Pr-dominant minerals.


We express our gratitude to Tomas Husdal for providing us with the Stetind sample. This work was supported by Australian Research Council grant FL130100066. We acknowledge the facilities of Microscopy Australia at the Centre for Advanced Microscopy, The Australian National University. L. Crisp and C. Allen are thanked for their assistance with the LA-ICP-MS analyses. Part of this research was undertaken on the XAS beamline (12IDB) at the Australian Synchrotron through proposal ID 15793. We thank S. Morrison, D. Hummer, and M.P. Smith for peer reviews. A.G. Christy inspired this study.

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Received: 2019-10-14
Accepted: 2020-05-14
Published Online: 2020-12-07
Published in Print: 2020-12-16

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston