Isotopic Dichotomy among Meteorites and Its Bearing on the Protoplanetary Disk

Edward R. D. Scott, Alexander N. Krot, and Ian S. Sanders

The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 854, Number 2


“Whole rock Δ17O and nucleosynthetic isotopic variations for chromium, titanium, nickel, and molybdenum in meteorites define two isotopically distinct populations: carbonaceous chondrites (CCs) and some achondrites, pallasites, and irons in one and all other chondrites and differentiated meteorites in the other. Since differentiated bodies accreted 1–3 Myr before the chondrites, the isotopic dichotomy cannot be attributed to temporal variations in the disk. Instead, the two populations were most likely separated in space, plausibly by proto-Jupiter. Formation of CCs outside Jupiter could account for their characteristic chemical and isotopic composition. The abundance of refractory inclusions in CCs can be explained if they were ejected by disk winds from near the Sun to the disk periphery where they spiraled inward due to gas drag. Once proto-Jupiter reached 10–20 M ⊕, its external pressure bump could have prevented millimeter- and centimeter-sized particles from reaching the inner disk. This scenario would account for the enrichment in CCs of refractory inclusions, refractory elements, and water. Chondrules in CCs show wide ranges in Δ17O as they formed in the presence of abundant 16O-rich refractory grains and 16O-poor ice particles. Chondrules in other chondrites (ordinary, E, R, and K groups) show relatively uniform, near-zero Δ17O values as refractory inclusions and ice were much less abundant in the inner solar system. The two populations were plausibly mixed together by the Grand Tack when Jupiter and Saturn migrated inward emptying and then repopulating the asteroid belt with roughly equal masses of planetesimals from inside and outside Jupiter’s orbit (S- and C-type asteroids).”