A Striking Nitrogen Isotope Anomaly in the Bencubbin and Weatherford Meteorites

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Science  22 Nov 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4728, pp. 935-937
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4728.935


The stony-iron meteorites Bencubbin and Weatherford contain nitrogen with a ratio of nitrogen-15 to nitrogen-14 larger than normal by as much as a factor of 2. The excess nitrogen-15 may be due either to a nucleosynthetic origin or to extreme isotopic fractionation. In the former case, it may reflect failure to homogenize nitrogen-15 produced in nova explosions. In the latter case, it may reflect chemical processing at temperatures below 40 K in a presolar molecular cloud.