Early stages of core segregation recorded by Fe isotopes in an asteroidal mantle

J.A. Barrat, O. Rouxel, K. Wang, F. Moynier, A. Yamaguchi, A. Bischoff, J. Langlade

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 419, 1 June 2015, Pages 93–100


Ureilite meteorites are achondrites that are debris of the mantle of a now disrupted differentiated asteroid rich in carbon. They provide a unique opportunity to study the differentiation processes of such a body. We analyzed the iron isotopic compositions of 30 samples from the Ureilite Parent Body (UPB) including 29 unbrecciated ureilites and one ureilitic trachyandesite (ALM-A) which is at present the sole large crustal sample of the UPB. The δ56Fe of the whole rocks fall within a restricted range, from 0.01 to 0.11‰, with an average of +0.056±0.008‰+0.056±0.008‰, which is significantly higher than that of chondrites. We show that this difference can be ascribed to the segregation of S-rich metallic melts at low degrees of melting at a temperature close to the Fe–FeS eutectic, and certainly before the onset of the melting of the silicates (View the MathML source<1100°C), in agreement with the marked S depletions, and the siderophile element abundances of the ureilites. These results point to an efficient segregation of S-rich metallic melts during the differentiation of small terrestrial bodies.[/su_quote]