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- n. in the Goldschmidt classification, an element that forms alloys easily with iron and is concentrated in the Earth's core.
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Gold, platinum, palladium and other so-called "siderophile" elements have a strong affinity for iron.
This is rather unusual as Ni and Ir are both siderophile elements, enriched in meteorites compared to the terrestrial crust.
The abundances of the highly siderophile elements as well as their relative proportions in the mantle deviate from those predicted by equilibrium partitioning between metal and silicate during the formation of the Earth's core.
We conclude that not all highly siderophile elements were affected by core formation in the same way, and that the abundances of elements such as osmium and iridium require the addition of a late veneer.
However, whether these results can be extrapolated to all highly siderophile elements, and thereby preclude the need for a late veneer, remains to be verified.
Close to the mantle highly siderophile element ratios are data from the iron meteorite Charlotte.