Rubidium isotopic composition of the Earth, meteorites, and the Moon: Evidence for the origin of volatile loss during planetary accretionOPEN ACCESS 

Emily A. Pringle, Frédéric Moynier

Earth and Planetary Science Letters,
Volume 473, 1 September 2017, Pages 62-70


• We measured high-precision stable Rb isotope ratios in terrestrial samples, chondrites, HED meteorites, and lunar samples.
• Rb isotopes are fractionated among chondrites.
• The Moon and volatile depleted asteroids are enriched in the heavier isotopes of Rb compare to the Earth and chondrites.
• The Moon, Vesta, the angrite parent-body have loss volatile elements via evaporation.”

“Understanding the origin of volatile element variations in the inner Solar System has long been a goal of cosmochemistry, but many early studies searching for the fingerprint of volatile loss using stable isotope systems failed to find any resolvable variations.

An improved method for the chemical purification of Rb for high-precision isotope ratio measurements by multi-collector inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometry. This method has been used to measure the Rb isotopic composition for a suite of planetary materials, including carbonaceous, ordinary, and enstatite chondrites, as well as achondrites (eucrite, angrite), terrestrial igneous rocks (basalt, andesite, granite), and Apollo lunar samples (mare basalts, alkali suite). Volatile depleted bodies (e.g. HED parent body, thermally metamorphosed meteorites) are enriched in the heavy isotope of Rb by up to several per mil compared to chondrites, suggesting volatile loss by evaporation at the surface of planetesimals. In addition, the Moon is isotopically distinct from the Moon in Rb. The variations in Rb isotope compositions in the volatile-poor samples are attributed to volatile loss from planetesimals during accretion. This suggests that either the Rb (and other volatile elements) were lost during or following the giant impact or by evaporation earlier during the accretion history of Theia.”