Nucleosynthetic isotope anomalies of zinc in meteorites constrain the origin of Earth’s volatiles

1Rayssa Martins,1Sven Kuthning,1Barry J. Coles,1Katharina Kreissig,1Mark Rehkämper
Science 379, 6630 Link to Article [DOI: 10.1126/science.abn1021]
1Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.
Reprinted with permission from AAAS

Material inherited from different nucleosynthesis sources imparts distinct isotopic signatures to meteorites and terrestrial planets. These nucleosynthetic isotope anomalies have been used to constrain the origins of material that formed Earth. However, anomalies have only been identified for elements with high condensation temperatures, leaving the origin of Earth’s volatile elements unconstrained. We determined the isotope composition of the moderately volatile element zinc in 18 bulk meteorites and identified nucleosynthetic zinc isotope anomalies. Using a mass-balance model, we find that carbonaceous bodies, which likely formed beyond the orbit of Jupiter, delivered about half of Earth’s zinc inventory. Combined with previous constraints obtained from studies of other elements, these results indicate that ~10% of Earth’s mass was provided by carbonaceous material.


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