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Pristine extraterrestrial material with unprecedented nitrogen isotopic variation.

Authors
  • Briani, Giacomo
  • Gounelle, Matthieu
  • Marrocchi, Yves
  • Mostefaoui, Smail
  • Leroux, Hugues
  • Quirico, Eric
  • Meibom, Anders
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Jun 30, 2009
Volume
106
Issue
26
Pages
10522–10527
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0901546106
PMID: 19528640
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Pristine meteoritic materials carry light element isotopic fractionations that constrain physiochemical conditions during solar system formation. Here we report the discovery of a unique xenolith in the metal-rich chondrite Isheyevo. Its fine-grained, highly pristine mineralogy has similarity with interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), but the volume of the xenolith is more than 30,000 times that of a typical IDP. Furthermore, an extreme continuum of N isotopic variation is present in this xenolith: from very light N isotopic composition (delta(15)N(AIR) = -310 +/- 20 per thousand), similar to that inferred for the solar nebula, to the heaviest ratios measured in any solar system material (delta(15)N(AIR) = 4,900 +/- 300 per thousand). At the same time, its hydrogen and carbon isotopic compositions exhibit very little variation. This object poses serious challenges for existing models for the origin of light element isotopic anomalies.

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