Mass-Independent Isotope Effects in Planetary Atmospheres and the Early Solar System

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Science  15 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5400, pp. 341-345
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5400.341

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A class of isotope effects that alters isotope ratios on a mass-independent basis provides a tool for studying a wide range of processes in atmospheres of Earth and other planets as well as early processes in the solar nebula. The mechanism for the effect remains uncertain. Mass-independent isotopic compositions have been observed in O3, CO2, N2O, and CO in Earth's atmosphere and in carbonate from a martian meteorite, which suggests a role for mass-independent processes in the atmosphere of Mars. Observed mass-independent meteoritic oxygen and sulfur isotopic compositions may derive from chemical processes in the presolar nebula, and their distributions could provide insight into early solar system evolution.

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