Extinct 129I in Halite from a Primitive Meteorite: Evidence for Evaporite Formation in the Early Solar System

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Science  09 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5472, pp. 1819-1821
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5472.1819

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Halite crystals from the Zag H3-6 chondrite contain essentially pure (monoisotopic) xenon-129 (129Xe) produced in the early history of the solar system by the decay of short-lived iodine-129 (129I) (half-life = 15.7 million years). Correlated release of 129Xe and 128Xe, produced artificially from 127I by neutron irradiation, corresponds to an initial (129I/127I) ratio of (1.35 ± 0.05) × 10−4, close to the most primitive early solar system value. If the 129Xe was produced by in situ decay, then the halite formed from an aqueous fluid within 2 million years of the oldest known solar system minerals.

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