Possible Implications of Relatively High Levels of Initial 60Fe in Iron Meteorites for the Noncarbonaceous–Carbonaceous Meteorite Dichotomy and Solar Nebula Formation

1Alan P. Boss
The Astrophysical Journal 933, 1 Open Access Link to Article [DOI 10.3847/1538-4357/ac6609]
1Earth & Planets Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, 5241 Broad Branch Road, NW, Washington, DC 20015-1305, USA; aboss@carnegiescience.edu

Cook et al. found that iron meteorites have an initial abundance ratio of the short-lived isotope 60Fe to the stable isotope 56Fe of 60Fe/56Fe ∼ (6.4 ± 2.0) × 10−7. This appears to require the injection of live 60Fe from a Type II supernova (SN II) into the presolar molecular cloud core, as the observed ratio is over a factor of 10 times higher than would be expected to be found in the ambient interstellar medium (ISM) as a result of galactic chemical evolution. The supernova triggering and injection scenario offers a ready explanation for an elevated initial 60Fe level, and in addition provides a physical mechanism for explaining the noncarbonaceous–carbonaceous (NC–CC) dichotomy of meteorites. The NC–CC scenario hypothesizes the solar nebula first accreted material that was enriched in supernova-derived nuclides, and then later accreted material depleted in supernova-derived nuclides. While the NC–CC dichotomy refers to stable nuclides, not short-lived isotopes like 60Fe, the SN II triggering hypothesis provides an explanation for the otherwise unexplained change in nuclides being accreted by the solar nebula. Three-dimensional hydrodynamical models of SN II shock-triggered collapse show that after triggering collapse of the presolar cloud core, the shock front sweeps away the local ISM while accelerating the resulting protostar/disk to a speed of several kilometers per second, sufficient for the protostar/disk system to encounter within ∼1 Myr the more distant regions of a giant molecular cloud complex that might be expected to have a depleted inventory of supernova-derived nuclides.

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