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Nature. 2005 Mar 31;434(7033):619-22.

A non-terrestrial 16O-rich isotopic composition for the protosolar nebula.

Author information

1
Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan. kohash@ess.sci.osaka-u.ac.jp

Abstract

The discovery in primitive components of meteorites of large oxygen isotopic variations that could not be attributed to mass-dependent fractionation effects has raised a fundamental question: what is the composition of the protosolar gas from which the host grains formed? This composition is probably preserved in the outer layers of the Sun, but the resolution of astronomical spectroscopic measurements is still too poor to be useful for comparison with planetary material. Here we report a precise determination of the oxygen isotopic composition of the solar wind from particles implanted in the outer hundreds of nanometres of metallic grains in the lunar regolith. These layers of the grains are enriched in 16O by >20 +/- 4 per thousand relative to the Earth, Mars and bulk meteorites, which implies the existence in the solar accretion disk of reactions--as yet unknown--that were able to change the 17O/16O and 18O/16O ratios in a way that was not dependent strictly on the mass of the isotope. Photochemical self-shielding of the CO gas irradiated by ultraviolet light may be one of these key processes, because it depends on the abundance of the isotopes, rather than their masses.

PMID:
15800617
DOI:
10.1038/nature03432
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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