Thulium anomalies and rare earth element patterns in meteorites and Earth: Nebular fractionation and the nugget effect

N. Dauphas, A. Pourmand

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
in press, arXiv:1503.08708

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Update (11 April):


This study reports the bulk rare earth element (REEs, La-Lu) compositions of 41 chondrites, including 32 falls and 9 finds from carbonaceous (CI, CM, CO and CV), enstatite (EH and EL) and ordinary (H, L and LL) groups, as well as 2 enstatite achondrites (aubrite). The CI-chondrite-normalized REE patterns and Eu anomalies in ordinary and enstatite chondrites show more scatter in more metamorphosed than in unequilibrated chondrites. This is due to parent-body redistribution of the REEs in various carrier phases during metamorphism. The dispersion in REE patterns of equilibrated ordinary chondrites is explained by the nugget effect associated with concentration of REEs in minor phosphate grains.
Terrestrial rocks and samples from ordinary and enstatite chondrites display negative Tm anomalies of ~-4.5 % relative to ca chondrites. In contrast, CM, CO and CV (except Allende) show no significant Tm anomalies. Allende CV chondrite shows large excess Tm (~+10 %). These anomalies are similar to those found in group II refractory inclusions in meteorites but of much smaller magnitude. The presence of Tm anomalies in meteorites and terrestrial rocks suggests that either (i) the material in the inner part of the solar system was formed from a gas reservoir that had been depleted in refractory dust and carried positive Tm anomalies or (ii) CI chondrites are enriched in refractory dust and are not representative of solar composition for refractory elements. The observed Tm anomalies in ordinary and enstatite chondrites and terrestrial rocks, relative to carbonaceous chondrites, indicate that material akin to carbonaceous chondrites must have represented a small fraction of the constituents of the Earth.