Pb isotope evidence for rapid accretion and differentiation of planetary embryosOPEN ACCESS 

J.N. Connelly, M. Schiller, M. Bizzarro

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 525, 1 November 2019, 115722



• We report a Pb-Pb age of 4565.47 ± 0.30 Ma for the Group IVA meteorite Steinbach.
• This age represents the oldest absolute age for an achondrite to date.
• We report a model 26Al-26Mg age of 1.3 +0.5/-0.3 Myr for Al/Mg fractionation.
• These ages require extremely rapid formation of this meteorite’s parent embryo.
• Supports early chondrule formation if pebble accretion is an important mechanism.”

“Group IVA iron and siliate-iron meteorites record a large range of cooling rates attributed to an impact-related disruption of a molten and differentiated ca. 1000 km diameter planetary embryo of chondritic composition before re-accretion of mainly the metallic core with minor silicates. To better understand the timing of primary accretion, disruption, re-accretion and cooling of the Group IVA parent body, we have determined Pb-Pb and Al-Mg ages for the Group IVA silicate-iron Steinbach meteorite. A Pb-Pb age based on multiple fractions of late-phase, slowly-cooled orthopyroxene from Steinbach yields an absolute age of 4565.47 ± 0.30 Ma corresponding to a relative age of 1.83 ± 0.34 Myr after formation of calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions (CAIs). This is the oldest U-corrected Pb-Pb absolute age for a differentiated meteorite. We use the deficit Al-Mg dating method on one whole rock sample and two mineral separates to produce a model age of 1.3 +0.5/-0.3 Myr after CAI formation corresponding to the depletion age of Al relative to Mg in the source material for Steinbach. Assuming this fractionation event occurred in the pre-impact parent body, this provides a maximum time after CAI formation for the disruption of the original Group IVA parent body. Together, these ages require that the original parent body accreted very early and differentiated prior to the impact-related break up, re-accretion and cooling between 1.3 +0.5/-0.3 Myr and 1.83 ± 0.34 Myr after CAI formation. These ages are fully consistent with a growing body of evidence from meteorites and astronomical observation supporting the early and efficient growth of planetary embryos and with numerical models of pebble accretion that predict rapid growth of embryos in the presence of chondrules. This time frame for the efficient formation of planetary embryos by chondrule accretion is inconsistent with a proposed ∼1.5 Myr delay in chondrule formation, a contradiction that is resolved by a non-canonical abundance of 26Al in the inner Solar System during at least the first million years of the protoplanetary disk.”