Planetary-Scale Strontium Isotopic Heterogeneity and the Age of Volatile Depletion of Early Solar System Materials

Moynier, F, Day JMD, Okui W, Yokoyama T, Bouvier A, Walker RJ, Podosek FA.  2012.  Planetary-Scale Strontium Isotopic Heterogeneity and the Age of Volatile Depletion of Early Solar System Materials. The Astrophysical Journal. 758(1):45.


Isotopic anomalies in planetary materials reflect both early solar nebular heterogeneity inherited from presolar stellar sources and processes that generated non-mass-dependent isotopic fractionations. The characterization of isotopic variations in heavy elements among early solar system materials yields important insight into the stellar environment and formation of the solar system, and about initial isotopic ratios relevant to long-term chronological applications. One such heavy element, strontium, is a central element in the geosciences due to wide application of the long-lived 87Rb-87Sr radioactive as a chronometer. We show that the stable isotopes of Sr were heterogeneously distributed at both the mineral scale and the planetary scale in the early solar system, and also that the Sr isotopic heterogeneities correlate with mass-independent oxygen isotope variations, with only CI chondrites plotting outside of this correlation. The correlation implies that most solar system material formed by mixing of at least two isotopically distinct components: a CV-chondrite-like component and an O-chondrite-like component, and possibly a distinct CI-chondrite-like component. The heterogeneous distribution of Sr isotopes may indicate that variations in initial 87Sr/86Sr of early solar system materials reflect isotopic heterogeneity instead of having chronological significance, as interpreted previously. For example, given the differences in 84Sr/86Sr between calcium aluminum inclusions and eucrites (ε84Sr > 2), the difference in age between these materials would be ~6 Ma shorter than previously interpreted, placing the Sr chronology in agreement with other long- and short-lived isotope systems, such as U-Pb and Mn-Cr.