Late metal–silicate separation on the IAB parent asteroid: Constraints from combined W and Pt isotopes and thermal modellingOPEN ACCESS 

Alison C. Hunt, David L. Cook, Tim Lichtenberg, Philip M. Reger, Mattias Ek, Gregor J. Golabek, Maria Schönbächler

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 482, 15 January 2018, Pages 490–500



• Tungsten and Pt isotopes in IAB irons are affected by neutron capture reactions.
• IAB iron meteorites from several sub-groups have pre-exposure ε182W = −2.90 ± 0.06.
• This corresponds to body-wide metal–silicate separation at 6.0 ± 0.8 Ma after CAI.
• Thermal models of interior evolution support heating by short-lived radionuclides.
• Models suggest the parent body accreted at ∼1.4 Ma after CAIs with a radius >60 km.”

“The short-lived 182Hf–182W decay system is a powerful chronometer for constraining the timing of metal–silicate separation and core formation in planetesimals and planets. Neutron capture effects on W isotopes, however, significantly hamper the application of this tool. In order to correct for neutron capture effects, Pt isotopes have emerged as a reliable in-situ neutron dosimeter. This study applies this method to IAB iron meteorites, in order to constrain the timing of metal segregation on the IAB parent body.

The ε182ε182W values obtained for the IAB iron meteorites range from −3.61 ± 0.10 to −2.73 ± 0.09. Correlating εiεiPt with ε182ε182W data yields a pre-neutron capture ε182ε182W of −2.90 ± 0.06. This corresponds to a metal–silicate separation age of 6.0 ± 0.8 Ma after CAI for the IAB parent body, and is interpreted to represent a body-wide melting event. Later, between 10 and 14 Ma after CAI, an impact led to a catastrophic break-up and subsequent reassembly of the parent body. Thermal models of the interior evolution that are consistent with these estimates suggest that the IAB parent body underwent metal–silicate separation as a result of internal heating by short-lived radionuclides and accreted at around 1.4±0.11.4±0.1 Ma after CAIs with a radius of greater than 60 km.”