Zinc isotope anomalies in primitive meteorites identify the outer solar system as an important source of Earth's volatile inventory

Paul S. Savage, Frédéric Moynier*, Maud Boyet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The source of and timing of delivery of the volatile elements to Earth is a question that is fundamental to understanding how our planet evolved. Here, we show that primitive meteorites have resolved mass-independent Zn isotope anomalies from the terrestrial reservoir. Carbonaceous chondrites (CC), likely originating from the outer Solar System are distinct from non-CC, and Earth is intermediate between these two components. Modelling based on these data indicates that around 30% of Earth's budget of Zn and other moderately volatile material derives from the participation of 6% of CC-like materials during Earth's accretion, with the remaining coming from NC meteorites. This implies that, despite the relatively minor mass of Earth thought to derive from CC-like material, the CC component of Earth was relatively and significantly volatile-enriched; this is in line with the observation that the terrestrial elemental abundance pattern of moderately volatile elements could be explained by a carbonaceous source, and with the carbonaceous chondrite-like isotopic budget of more volatile-rich material accreted later in Earth's accretion history (e.g. Hg, Se, N, noble gases).
Original languageEnglish
Article number115172
Number of pages7
JournalIcarus
Volume386
Early online date9 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Meteorites
  • Cosmochemistry
  • Origin, solar system
  • Accretion

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