Insights on the origin of oldhamite in enstatites meteorites from Ca stable isotopes

Wei Dai, Frederic Moynier, Julien Siebert

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 20 April 2024


“In order to understand the origin of oldhamite (CaS) in enstatite meteorites, we report Ca isotopic compositions (δ44/40Ca) of oldhamite (obtained from water leachate of bulk chondrites and aubrites and mineral separates from the Norton County aubrite) and silicate minerals from different types of enstatite chondrites and aubrite. The δ44/40Ca of the bulk enstatite chondrites range from 1.05 ‰ to 1.24 ‰, with an average of 1.13 ± 0.12 ‰, higher than that of the estimate of the bulk silicate earth (∼0.94 ‰). Major and trace element analyses show that the water leachates of enstatite chondrites are mainly composed of oldhamite, and they take over 20.6–68.5 % Ca of the bulk meteorite Ca budget. The Ca isotope fractionation between oldhamite and residual silicate (Δ44/40Ca oldhamite-silicate) for the studied enstatite chondrites is minimum (−0.44 ‰) for Abee (impact-melt breccia) and maximum (+0.16) for St.Marks (EH5). The Ca isotope fractionation between oldhamite (individual mineral grains and leachate) and silicates in Norton County varies from −0.47 ‰ to −0.31 ‰ with an average of −0.41 ‰. These Δ44/40Ca oldhamite-silicate correlate well with previous theoretical calculation and suggests that the oldhamites in Norton County are in isotopic equilibrium with co-existing silicates, and therefore were formed during magmatic processes. However, in enstatite chondrites, the large variation on Δ44/40Ca oldhamite-silicate and its negative correlation with metamorphic temperature reflects the redistribution and equilibration of Ca isotopes during metamorphism. The variable Δ44/40Ca oldhamite-silicate found in unequilibrated chondrites reflect kinetic Ca isotope fractionation between oldhamite and nebular gas and therefore is evidence for the formation of oldhamite by condensation in the solar nebula”