Infoscience

Journal article

Zr isotope anomalies in chondrites and the presence of Nb-92 in the early solar system

The presence of Zr isotope anomalies in the early solar system is demonstrated with the identification of Zr-92 excesses and Zr-96. deficits in several chondrites and the CAI Allende inclusions. The isotopic composition of Zr in carbonaceous, enstatite, and ordinary chondrites, along with four SNC meteorites, was analyzed by plasma source mass spectrometry. Most chondrite samples show negative Zr-96 anomalies, which indicate the presence of a pre-solar nucleosynthetic component. Six of them also display a distinct negative Zr-92 anomaly, reaching down to -2.7 +/- 0.8 epsilon units for Forest Vale (H4). The CAI inclusions from Allende, which are among the oldest known igneous objects of the solar system and have the highest Zr/Nb ratios, also show negative epsilon Zr-92 Of -2.4 +/- 0.5. Although a substantial fraction of the Zr isotope variability may be due to pre-solar nucleosynthetic processes, part of the Zr-92 excess must result from the decay of the now extinct Nb-92. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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