Uranium isotopic composition and absolute ages of Allende chondrules

Brennecka, G. A., Budde, G. and Kleine, T. (2015),

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12567


“A handful of events, such as the condensation of refractory inclusions and the formation of chondrules, represent important stages in the formation and evolution of the early solar system and thus are critical to understanding its development. Compared to the refractory inclusions, chondrules appear to have a protracted period of formation that spans millions of years. As such, understanding chondrule formation requires a catalog of reliable ages, free from as many assumptions as possible. The Pb-Pb chronometer has this potential; however, because common individual chondrules have extremely low uranium contents, obtaining U-corrected Pb-Pb ages of individual chondrules is unrealistic in the vast majority of cases at this time. Thus, in order to obtain the most accurate 238U/235U ratio possible for chondrules, we separated and pooled thousands of individual chondrules from the Allende meteorite. In this work, we demonstrate that no discernible differences exist in the 238U/235U compositions between chondrule groups when separated by size and magnetic susceptibility, suggesting that no systematic U-isotope variation exists between groups of chondrules. Consequently, chondrules are likely to have a common 238U/235U ratio for any given meteorite. A weighted average of the six groups of chondrule separates from Allende results in a 238U/235U ratio of 137.786 ± 0.004 (±0.016 including propagated uncertainty on the U standard [Richter et al. 2010]). Although it is still possible that individual chondrules have significant U isotope variation within a given meteorite, this value represents our best estimate of the 238U/235U ratio for Allende chondrules and should be used for absolute dating of these objects, unless such chondrules can be measured individually.”