Extreme early solar system chemical fractionation recorded by alkali-rich clasts contained in ordinary chondrite breccias

Tatsunori Yokoyama, Keiji Misawa, Osamu Okano, Chi-Yu Shih, Laurence E. Nyquist, Justin I. Simon, Michael J. Tappa, Shigekazu Yoneda

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 11 November 2016


• Multi-isotopic (K–Ca and Rb–Sr) studies on clasts from the Y-74442 and Bhola LL-breccias were carried out.
• The Y-74442 clasts yield the K–Ca age of image with the initial 40Ca/44Ca = 47.1618 ± 0.0032.
• The Rb–Sr isotope system yields the age of image with the initial 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7203 ± 0.0044.
• The source material of Y-74442 clasts could be characterized by K/Ca = 0.43, Rb/Sr = 3.45 and K/Rb ∼ 170.”

“New K–Ca and Rb–Sr isotopic analyses have been performed on alkali-rich igneous rock fragments in the Yamato (Y)-74442 and Bhola LL-chondritic breccias to better understand the extent and timing of alkali enrichments in the early solar system. The Y-74442 fragments yield a K–Ca age of 4.41±0.28 Ga4.41±0.28 Ga for λ(40K) = 0.5543 Ga−1 with an initial 40Ca/44Ca ratio of 47.1618±0.003247.1618±0.0032. Studying the same fragments with the Rb–Sr isotope system yields an age of 4.420±0.031 Ga4.420±0.031 Ga for λ(87Rb) = 0.01402 Ga−1 with an initial ratio of 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7203 ± 0.0044. An igneous rock fragment contained in Bhola shows a similar alkali fractionation pattern to those of Y-74442 fragments but does not plot on the K–Ca or Rb–Sr isochron of the Y-74442 fragments. Calcium isotopic compositions of whole-rock samples of angrite and chondrites are primordial, indistinguishable from mantle-derived terrestrial rocks, and here considered to represent the initial composition of bulk silicate Earth. The initial ε40Ca value determined for the source of the alkali clasts in Y-74442 that is ∼0.5 ε-units higher than the solar system value implies an early alkali enrichment.

Multi-isotopic studies on these alkali-rich fragments reveal that the source material of Y-74442 fragments had elemental ratios of K/Ca = 0.43 ± 0.18, Rb/Sr = 3.45 ± 0.66 and K/Rb ∼ 170, that may have formed from mixtures of an alkali-rich component (possibly an alkali-enriched gaseous reservoir produced by fractionation of early nebular condensates) and chondritic components that were flash-heated during an impact event on the LL-chondrite parent body ∼4.42 Ga ago. Further enrichments of potassium and rubidium relative to calcium and strontium as well as a mutual alkali-fractionation (K/Rb ∼ 50 and heavier alkali-enrichment) would have likely occurred during subsequent cooling and differentiation of this melt. Alkali fragments in Bhola might have undergone similar solid–vapor fractionation processes to those of Y-74442 fragments but appear to have formed via a distinct impact melting event.”