A condensation origin for the mass-dependent Silicon isotopic variations in Allende components: implications for complementarity

Rayssa Martins, Marc Chaussidon, Frédéric Moynier

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Available online 25 November 2020, 116678
In press, corrected proof



• Silicon isotopes in Allende components show large variations due to fractionation during a sequence of condensation.
• Silicon isotopic variations in Allende chondrules and matrix imply an origin from a single parent gas.
• Allende chondrules and matrix appear complementary for silicon isotopes.”

“Primitive chondrites have bulk compositions close to that of the solar photosphere, with however significant variations of elemental ratio relative to the solar composition, depending on the volatility of the elements considered. This is classically understood as indicating a primary geochemical signature due to the formation of the components of chondrites (refractory inclusions, chondrules and matrix), or of their precursors, through condensation of a gas of near solar composition, plus secondary variations due to processes such as (i) incomplete volatilization of presolar components, (ii) complex high-temperature exchanges between condensed phases and the nebular gas, and (iii) sorting and transport of grains in the accretion disk before accretion of chondrite parent bodies. Because most of the mass of chondrites is made by elements which condense at high temperatures, equilibrium condensation produces in general little isotopic fractionation for these elements. Silicon is however an exception with per mil level equilibrium isotopic fractionation at high temperature between the SiO gas and condensed Silicates, allowing to use Silicon isotopes in chondrites to constrain the origin of their components and to put at test scenarios of condensation.

Individual components (chondrule fragments, isolated olivines in the matrix, and matrix fragments) of the carbonaceous chondrite Allende were separated and analysed at high-precision for their Silicon isotopic composition. Large variations have been found among chondrules (
δ30Si from -0.86 ± 0.16‰ 2 s.e. to +0.04 ± 0.03‰ for 11 chondrules), isolated olivines (δ30Si from -0.51 ± 0.12‰ 2 s.e. to +0.20 ± 0.10 ‰ for 12 olivines), and matrix (δ30Si from -0.95 ± 0.08‰ 2 s.e. to -0.41 ± 0.01 ‰ for 17 matrix fragments). These variations distribute on both sides of the bulk δ30Si value of Allende (-0.43 ± 0.03‰ 2 s.e., Armytage et al., 2011; Pringle et al., 2013, Pringle et al., 2014; Savage and Moynier, 2013). There is a global positive trend between δ30Si values and Mg/Fe ratio for chondrules and isolated olivines. This systematics appears in agreement with what can be modeled for producing Allende components, or their precursors, from fractionated condensation of a single gaseous reservoir having initially the silicon isotopic composition of bulk Allende. Mass balance taking into account the mean abundances and δ30Si values of Allende components is consistent with their accretion in the Allende parent body in the proportions produced by the condensation of the parent parcel of nebular gas. This supports complementarity between chondrules, olivines and matrix as being a primary feature. However, this conclusion cannot be definitive because of the uncertainties in defining mean δ30Si values for Allende components.”