1,2Manuela A. Fehr, 1Samantha J. Hammond, 1,3Ian J. Parkinson
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.10.010]
1Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space & Astronomical Research, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
2Institute of Geochemistry and Petrology, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
3Bristol Isotope Group, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, BS8 1RJ, UK
New methodologies employing a 125Te-128Te double-spike were developed and applied to obtain high precision mass-dependent tellurium stable isotope data for chondritic meteorites and some terrestrial samples by multiple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Analyses of standard solutions produce Te stable isotope data with a long-term reproducibility (2SD) of 0.064 ‰ for δ130/125Te. Carbonaceous and enstatite chondrites display a range in δ130/125Te of 0.9‰ (0.2‰ amu-1) in their Te stable isotope signature, whereas ordinary chondrites present larger Te stable isotope fractionation, in particular for unequilibrated ordinary chondrites, with an overall variation of 6.3‰ for δ130/125Te (1.3‰ amu-1). Tellurium stable isotope variations in ordinary chondrites display no correlation with Te contents or metamorphic grade. The large Te stable isotope fractionation in ordinary chondrites is likely caused by evaporation and condensation processes during metamorphism in the meteorite parent bodies, as has been suggested for other moderately and highly volatile elements displaying similar isotope fractionation. Alternatively, they might represent a nebular signature or could have been produced during chondrule formation.
Enstatite chondrites display slightly more negative δ130/125Te compared to carbonaceous chondrites and equilibrated ordinary chondrites. Small differences in the Te stable isotope composition are also present within carbonaceous chondrites and increase in the order CV-CO-CM-CI. These Te isotope variations within carbonaceous chondrites may be due to mixing of components that have distinct Te isotope signatures reflecting Te stable isotope fractionation in the early solar system or on the parent bodies and potentially small so-far unresolvable nucleosynthetic isotope anomalies of up to 0.27 ‰. The Te stable isotope data of carbonaceous and enstatite chondrites displays a general correlation with the oxidation state and hence might provide a record of the nebular formation environment.
The Te stable isotope fractionation of the carbonaceous chondrites CI and CM (and CO potentially) overlap within uncertainty with data for terrestrial Te standard solutions, sediments and ore samples. Assuming the silicate Earth displays similar Te isotope fractionation as the studied terrestrial samples, the data indicate that the late veneer might have been delivered by material similar to CI or CM (or possibly) CO carbonaceous chondrites in terms of Te isotope composition.
Nine terrestrial samples display resolvable Te stable isotope fractionation of 0.85 and 0.60‰ for δ130/125Te for sediment and USGS geochemical exploration reference samples, respectively. Tellurium isotopes therefore have the potential to become a new geochemical sedimentary proxy, as well as a proxy for ore-exploration.