Rhenium-Osmium Isotope Constraints on the Age of Iron Meteorites

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Science  28 Feb 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5048, pp. 1118-1121
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5048.1118


Rhenium and osmium concentrations and the osmium isotopic compositions of iron meteorites were determined by negative thermal ionization mass spectrometry. Data for the IIA iron meteorites define an isochron with an uncertainty of approximately ±31 million years for meteorites ∼4500 million years old. Although an absolute rheniumosmium closure age for this iron group cannot be as precisely constrained because of uncertainty in the decay constant of 187Re, an age of 4460 million years ago is the minimum permitted by combined uncertainties. These age constraints imply that the parent body of the IIAB magmatic irons melted and subsequently cooled within 100 million years after the formation of the oldest portions of chondrites. Other iron meteorites plot above the IIA isocbron, indicating that the planetary bodies represented by these iron groups may have cooled significantly later than the parent body of the IIA irons.

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