EarthRef.org Reference Database (ERR)Development and Maintenance by the EarthRef.org Database Team
A composition of primitive mantle (54 elements) is estimated by a mass balance approach that does not make a priori assignments of basalt:peridotite ratios or LIL contents of these components. It is also not necessary to assume that such ratios as Rb/Sr and K/U are the same as in the crust. Primitive upper mantle is treated as a four-component system: crust, periodotite, LIL-depleted basalt (MORB), and an LIL-enriched component. These are combined to give chondritic ratios of the oxyphile refractory trace elememts. The composition of the whole mantle is estimated by requiring chondritic ratios of the major elements as well. In this way one can estimate the volatile and siderophile content of the mantle. The primitive mantle has K=152 ppm, U=0.020 ppm, Th-0.078 ppm, K/U=7724, and Rb/Sr=0.025. The ratios are significantly less than previous estimates. The inferred steady state heat flow, 0.9 μ cal/cm2 s, implies a substantial contribution of cooling to the observed heat flow. The crust and upper mantle may contain most of the terrestrial inventory of the incompatible elements, including K, U, and Th. There is no evidence that the chalcophiles are strongly partitioned into the core.