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Published December 1, 2014 | public
Journal Article

Calcium-48 isotopic anomalies in bulk chondrites and achondrites: Evidence for a uniform isotopic reservoir in the inner protoplanetary disk


Thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) was used to measure the calcium isotopic compositions of carbonaceous, ordinary, enstatite chondrites as well as eucrites and aubrites. We find that after correction for mass-fractionation by internal normalization to a fixed ^(42)Ca/^(44)Ca ratio, the ^(43)Ca/^(44)Ca and ^(46)Ca/^(44)Ca ratios are indistinguishable from terrestrial ratios. In contrast, the ^(48)Ca/^(44)Ca ratios show significant departure from the terrestrial composition (from −2 ε in eucrites to +4 ε in CO and CV chondrites). Isotopic anomalies in ε^(48)Ca correlate with ε ^(50)Ti ε^(48)Ca=(1.09±0.11)×ε^(50)Ti+(0.03±0.14). Further work is needed to identify the carrier phase of ^(48)Ca–^(50)Ti anomalies but we suggest that it could be perovskite and that the stellar site where these anomalies were created was also responsible for the nucleosynthesis of the bulk of the solar system inventory of these nuclides. The Earth has identical ^(48)Ca isotopic composition to enstatite chondrites (EH and EL) and aubrites. This adds to a long list of elements that display nucleosynthetic anomalies at a bulk planetary scale but show identical or very similar isotopic compositions between enstatite chondrites, aubrites, and Earth. This suggests that the inner protoplanetary disk was characterized by a uniform isotopic composition (IDUR for Inner Disk Uniform Reservoir), sampled by enstatite chondrites and aubrites, from which the Earth drew most of its constituents. The terrestrial isotopic composition for ^(17)O, ^(48)Ca, ^(50)Ti, ^(62)Ni, and ^(92)Mo is well reproduced by a mixture of 91% enstatite, 7% ordinary, and 2% carbonaceous chondrites. The Earth was not simply made of enstatite chondrites but it formed from the same original material that was later modified by nebular and disk processes. The Moon-forming impactor probably came from the same region as the other embryos that made the Earth, explaining the strong isotopic similarity between lunar and terrestrial rocks.

Additional Information

© 2014 Elsevier B.V. Received 30 October 2013, Revised 11 August 2014, Accepted 8 September 2014, Available online 10 October 2014. This paper benefited from discussions with H.-W. Chen, C. Burkhardt, H. Kobayashi, A. Morbidelli, L. Grossman, and H. O'Neill. Justin Simon, two anonymous reviewers, and editor Tim Elliott provided comments that helped improve the manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the NASA Cosmochemistry (NNX12AH60G to ND; NNX09AG39G to AMD; 811073. to JHC) and NSF (EAR1144429 to ND) programs. The samples were generously provided by the Field Museum, United States National Museum, and Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle.

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