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Pristine extraterrestrial material with unprecedented nitrogen isotopic variation

By Giacomo Briani, Matthieu Gounelle, Yves Marrocchi, Smail Mostefaoui, Hugues Leroux, Eric Quirico and Anders Meibom


Pristine meteoritic materials carry light element isotopic fractionations that constrain physiochemical conditions during solar system formation. Here we report the discovery of a unique xenolith in the metal-rich chondrite Isheyevo. Its fine-grained, highly pristine mineralogy has similarity with interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), but the volume of the xenolith is more than 30,000 times that of a typical IDP. Furthermore, an extreme continuum of N isotopic variation is present in this xenolith: from very light N isotopic composition (δ15NAIR = −310 ± 20‰), similar to that inferred for the solar nebula, to the heaviest ratios measured in any solar system material (δ15NAIR = 4,900 ± 300‰). At the same time, its hydrogen and carbon isotopic compositions exhibit very little variation. This object poses serious challenges for existing models for the origin of light element isotopic anomalies

Topics: Physical Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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