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Evidence for an Ancient Osmium Isotopic Reservoir in Earth

Science  19 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5567, pp. 516-518
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069119

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Abstract

Iridosmine grains from placer deposits associated with peridotite-bearing ophiolites in the Klamath mountains have extremely radiogenic 186Os/188Os ratios and old Re-Os minimum ages, from 256 to 2644 million years. This indicates the existence of an ancient platinum group element reservoir with a supra-chondritic Pt/Os ratio. Such a ratio may be produced in the outer core as a result of inner core crystallization that fractionates Os from Pt. However, if the iridosmine Os isotopic compositions are a signature of the outer core, then the inner core must have formed very early, within several hundred million years after the accretion of Earth.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: meibom{at}pangea.stanford.edu

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