Natural variations in the rhenium isotopic composition of meteorites.

Liu, R., Hu, L. and Humayun, M.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12803


“Rhenium is an important element with which to test hypotheses of isotope variation. Historically, it has been difficult to precisely correct the instrumental mass bias in thermal ionization mass spectrometry. We used W as an internal standard to correct mass bias on the MC-ICP-MS, and obtained the first precise δ187Re values (~±0.02‰, 2SE) for iron meteorites and chondritic metal. Relative to metal from H chondrites, IVB irons are systematically higher in δ187Re by ~0.14 ‰. δ187Re for other irons are similar to H chondritic metal, although some individual samples show significant isotope fractionation. Since 185Re has a high neutron capture cross section, the effect of galactic cosmic-ray (GCR) irradiation on δ187Re was examined using correlations with Pt isotopes. The pre-GCR irradiation δ187Re for IVB irons is lower, but the difference in δ187Re between IVB irons and other meteoritic metal remains. Nuclear volume-dependent fractionation for Re is about the right magnitude near the melting point of iron, but because of the refractory and compatible character of Re, a compelling explanation in terms of mass-dependent fractionation is elusive. The magnitude of a nucleosynthetic s-process deficit for Re estimated from Mo and Ru isotopes is essentially unresolvable. Since thermal processing reduced nucleosynthetic effects in Pd, it is conceivable that Re isotopic variations larger than those in Mo and Ru may be present in IVBs since Re is more refractory than Mo and Ru. Thus, the Re isotopic difference between IVBs and other irons or chondritic metal remains unexplained.”