Rubidium isotopic compositions of angrites controlled by extensive evaporation and partial recondensation

Baoliang Wang, Frederic Moynier, and Yan Hu

PNAS, 121 (1) e2311402121


“The planetesimals in the solar system exhibit varying degrees of moderately volatile elements (MVEs) depletion compared to the protosolar composition. Revealing the relevant mechanisms is crucial for exploring early solar system evolution. Most volatile-depleted materials in the solar system exhibit enrichments in the heavier isotopes of MVEs, which have traditionally been attributed to the loss of volatiles through partial evaporation. Angrites are so far an exception as they are enriched in the lighter isotopes of K. This has been interpreted as reflecting condensation processes. Here, we present Rb isotopic data of angrites and find that they have lighter Rb isotopic compositions than Vesta, Mars, and the Moon. The δ87Rb value of the angrite parent body (APB) is estimated to range between −1.19‰ and −0.67‰. The extremely light Rb isotopic composition of the APB is likely a result of the kinetic recondensation of Rb after near-complete evaporation during the magma ocean stage. This finding provides further support for the partial recondensation model to explain the light Rb and K isotopic compositions of the APB. In addition, the APB, alongside other terrestrial planetary bodies (e.g., Earth, Mars, Moon, and Vesta), exhibit a strong correlation between their Rb and K isotopic compositions. This coupling of Rb and K isotopes is indicative of a volatility-driven isotopic fractionation rather than nucleosynthetic anomalies. The extremely light Rb-K isotopic signatures of the APB suggest that beyond evaporation, condensation plays an equally significant role in shaping the planetary-scale distributions of volatile elements.”