s-Process Os isotope enrichment in ureilites by planetary processing

S. Goderis, A.D. Brandon, B. Mayer, M. Humayun

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 431, 1 December 2015, Pages 110–118


“Ubiquitous nucleosynthetic isotope anomalies relative to the terrestrial isotopic composition in Mo, Ru, and other elements are known from both bulk chondrites and differentiated meteorites, but Os isotope ratios reported from such meteorites have been found to be indistinguishable from the terrestrial value. The carriers of s- and r-process Os must thus have been homogeneously distributed in the solar nebula. As large Os isotope anomalies are known from acid leachates and residues of primitive chondrites, the constant relative proportions of presolar s- and r-process carriers in such chondrites must have been maintained during nebular processes. It has long been assumed that partial melting of primitive chondrites would homogenize the isotopic heterogeneity carried by presolar grains. Here, ureilites, carbon-rich ultramafic achondrites dominantly composed of olivine and low-Ca pyroxene, are shown to be the first differentiated bulk Solar System materials for which nucleosynthetic Os isotope anomalies have been identified. These anomalies consist of enrichment in s-process Os heterogeneously distributed in different ureilites. Given the observed homogeneity of Os isotopes in all types of primitive chondrites, this Os isotope variability among ureilites must have been caused by selective removal of s-process-poor Os host phases, probably metal, during rapid localized melting on the ureilite parent body. While Mo and Ru isotope anomalies for all meteorites measured so far exhibit s-process deficits relative to the Earth, the opposite holds for the Os isotope anomalies in ureilites reported here. This might indicate that the Earth preferentially accreted olivine-rich restites and inherited a s-process excess relative to smaller meteorite bodies, consistent with Earth’s high Mg/Si ratio and enrichment of s-process nuclides in Mo, Ru, and Nd isotopes. Our new Os isotope results imply that caution must be used when applying nucleosynthetic isotope anomalies as provenance indicators between different classes of meteorites.”