Potassium isotope anomalies in meteorites inherited from the protosolar molecular cloud

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  09 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 41, eabd0511
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd0511


Potassium (K) and other moderately volatile elements are depleted in many solar system bodies relative to CI chondrites, which closely match the composition of the Sun. These depletions and associated isotopic fractionations were initially believed to result from thermal processing in the protoplanetary disk, but so far, no correlation between the K depletion and its isotopic composition has been found. Our new high-precision K isotope data correlate with other neutron-rich nuclides (e.g., 64Ni and 54Cr) and suggest that the observed 41K variations have a nucleosynthetic origin. We propose that K isotope anomalies are inherited from an isotopically heterogeneous protosolar molecular cloud, and were preserved in bulk primitive meteorites. Thus, the heterogeneous distribution of both refractory and moderately volatile elements in chondritic meteorites points to a limited radial mixing in the protoplanetary disk.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances