Closed system oxygen isotope redistribution in igneous CAIs upon spinel dissolution

Jérôme Aléon

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 482, 15 January 2018, Pages 324–333



• Pyroxene in most igneous CAIs becomes 16O-enriched during crystallization.
• O isotopes in type A, type B and FUN CAIs are consistent with spinel dissolution.
• CAIs behaved as closed-system with regard to O during cooling.
• 16O-depletion of CAI melts is related with melilite partial melting/crystallization.”

“In several Calcium–Aluminum-rich Inclusions (CAIs) from the CV3 chondrites Allende and Efremovka, representative of the most common igneous CAI types (type A, type B and Fractionated with Unknown Nuclear isotopic anomalies, FUN), the relationship between 16O-excesses and TiO2 content in pyroxene indicates that the latter commonly begins to crystallize with a near-terrestrial 16O-poor composition and becomes 16O-enriched during crystallization, reaching a near-solar composition. Mass balance calculations were performed to investigate the contribution of spinel to this 16O-enrichment. It is found that a back-reaction of early-crystallized 16O-rich spinel with a silicate partial melt having undergone a 16O-depletion is consistent with the O isotopic evolution of CAI minerals during magmatic crystallization. Dissolution of spinel explains the O isotopic composition (16O-excess and extent of mass fractionation) of pyroxene as well as that of primary anorthite/dmisteinbergite and possibly that of the last melilite crystallizing immediately before pyroxene. It requires that igneous CAIs behaved as closed-systems relative to oxygen from nebular gas during a significant fraction of their cooling history, contrary to the common assumption that CAI partial melts constantly equilibrated with gas. The mineralogical control on O isotopes in igneous CAIs is thus simply explained by a single 16O-depletion during magmatic crystallization. This 16O-depletion occurred in an early stage of the thermal history, after the crystallization of spinel, i.e. in the temperature range for melilite crystallization/partial melting and did not require multiple, complex or late isotope exchange. More experimental work is however required to deduce the protoplanetary disk conditions associated with this 16O-depletion.”