Chromium Isotopic Evidence for an Early Formation of Chondrules from the Ornans CO Chondrite

Ke Zhu (朱柯), Jia Liu, Frédéric Moynier, Liping Qin, Conel M. O’D. Alexander, and Yongsheng He

The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 873, Number 1


“Chondrules are the main components of primitive meteorites and possibly the building blocks of planetary embryos and terrestrial planets. However, their ages and modes of formation are still highly debated. Here, we present high-precision Cr isotope data of nine chondrules from one of the more primitive chondrites, the CO3 chondrite Ornans. These chondrules define an external 53Mn–53Cr isochron, with an initial 53Mn/55Mn of (7.1 ± 1.6) × 10−6, corresponding to an age of 4567.6 ± 1.3 Ma when anchored to the angrite D’Orbigny (U-corrected). This age is within error of the age of formation of calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs). All chondrules show a wide range of ε 54Cr values (+0.20 to +1.22) and a positive correlation between ε 53Cr and ε 54Cr values, suggesting mixing of different isotopic sources in the protoplanetary disk. This could reflect that silicate materials from the CAI-forming region (with complementary compositions to CAIs, i.e., low Mn/Cr and ε 54Cr) were transported to the accretion region of the CO chondrite parent body and mixed with CI-like material (high-Mn/Cr and ε 54Cr) during chondrule formation. Such mixing must have occurred prior to the formation of chondrule precursors. Furthermore, chondrules from chondrites with more CAIs (CV and CO) exhibit greater variability in ε 54Cr than chondrules from chondrites formed later with fewer CAIs (e.g., CB and CR), suggesting that the accretion regions of the former received more material transported from the inner solar system than the latter. This dichotomy may indicate the CB and CR chondrites accreted at greater orbital distances than other chondrites.”