Pristine extraterrestrial material with unprecedented nitrogen isotopic variation
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 (delta N-15(AIR) = -310 +/- 20%), similar to that inferred for the solar nebula, to the heaviest ratios measured in any solar system material (delta N-15(AIR) = 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.
Keywords: isotopic fractionation ; pristine meteorites ; Solar System ; Organic-Matter ; Carbonaceous Chondrites ; Comet 81P/Wild-2 ; Heavy Nitrogen ; Solar-System ; Origin ; Oxygen ; Stardust ; Fractionation ; Meteorites
Record created on 2012-05-15, modified on 2016-08-09