A Caltech Library Service

Correlated Si isotope anomalies and large ^(13)C enrichments in a family of exotic SiC grains

Stone, J. and Hutcheon, I. D. and Epstein, S. and Wasserburg, G. J. (1991) Correlated Si isotope anomalies and large ^(13)C enrichments in a family of exotic SiC grains. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 107 (3-4). pp. 570-581. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/0012-821X(91)90102-N.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


A suite of morphologically distinctive silicon carbide (SiC) grains from the Orgueil and Murchison carbonaceous chondrite meteorites contains Si and C of highly anomalous isotopic composition. All of the SiC grains in this suite are characterized by a distinctive platy morphology and roughly developed hexagonal crystal forms that allow them to be distinguished from other types of SiC found in the host meteorites. The δ^(29)Si and δ^(30)Si values of individual SiC crystals deviate from those of normal solar material by more than 100‰, while the δ^(13)C values range from 150 to 5200‰. Isotopically normal C and Si are not found in any of these SiC crystals. The SiC grains belonging to this morphological suite are isotopically distinct from fine-grained SiC aggregates and other morphological types of SiC in unequilibrated meteorites. The ^(29)Si/^(28)Si and ^(30)Si/^(28)Si ratios of these platy grains are well correlated and define a linear array that does not pass through the composition of normal, solar Si. This behavior contrasts sharply with the diverse and poorly correlated Si isotopic compositions shown by the total SiC population. We suggest that the distinctive morphological characteristics and comparatively simple Si isotope systematics identify the platy SiC crystals as a genetically related family, formed around a single, isotopically heterogeneous presolar star or an association of related stars. The enrichments in ^(13)C and the Si isotope systematics of the platy SiC are broadly consistent with theoretical models of nucleosynthesis in low-mass, carbon stars on the asymptotic giant branch. The Si isotope array most plausibly reflects mixing between ^(28)Si-rich material, inherited from a previous generation of stars, and material enriched in ^(29)Si and ^(30)Si, produced in intershell regions by neutron capture during He-burning. ^(13)C is also produced in intershell regions by proton reactions on ^(12)C seed nuclei and is carried withs-process nuclei to the stellar envelope by convection which penetrates down to the He shell. The absence of a correlation between the Si and C isotopic compositions of the SiC suggests either episodic condensation of SiC, extending over several thermal pulses, in the atmosphere of a single star, or derivation of the SiC from several stars characterized by different rates of ^(13)C production. In the multiple star scenario, the linear correlation of the ^(29)Si/^(28)Si and ^(30)Si/^(28)Si ratios among the platy SiC indicates that these stars evolved from a common Si seed composition under similar conditions of neutron-capture nucleosynthesis. The ^(29)Si/^(30)Si ratio of the SiC, inferred by us to be produced by neutron capture in the stellar interior, is distinct from values calculated from models of nucleosynthesis in AGB stars.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Wasserburg, G. J.0000-0002-7957-8029
Additional Information:© 1991 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. Received May 5, 1991; revision accepted September 28, 1991. We thank L. Hedges for assistance with sample preparation, J. Armstrong for advice on electron probe analyses, C.A. Barnes, D.D. Clayton and G.R. Huss for valuable discussion, C.T. Pillinger and an anonymous reviewer for constructive reviews, and D. Tomlinson for manuscript preparation. J.S. acknowledges support from a Texaco Postdoctoral Fellowship. This work was supported by NASA grants NAG 9-46 (S.E.) and NAG 9-43 (G.J.W.). This is Division Contribution 4856 (691).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Texaco Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences4856
Lunatic Asylum Lab691
Issue or Number:3-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130717-082526360
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:J. Stone, I.D. Hutcheon, S. Epstein, G.J. Wasserburg, Correlated Si isotope anomalies and large13C enrichments in a family of exotic SiC grains, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 107, Issues 3–4, December 1991, Pages 570-581, ISSN 0012-821X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:39410
Deposited On:19 Jul 2013 15:00
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:44

Repository Staff Only: item control page