Remnants of the Early Solar System Water Enriched in Heavy Oxygen Isotopes

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Science  13 Jul 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5835, pp. 231-233
DOI: 10.1126/science.1142021

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Oxygen isotopic composition of our solar system is believed to have resulted from mixing of two isotopically distinct nebular reservoirs, 16O-rich and 17,18O-rich relative to Earth. The nature and composition of the 17,18O-rich reservoir are poorly constrained. We report an in situ discovery of a chemically and isotopically unique material distributed ubiquitously in fine-grained matrix of a primitive carbonaceous chondrite Acfer 094. This material formed by oxidation of Fe,Ni-metal and sulfides by water either in the solar nebula or on a planetesimal. Oxygen isotopic composition of this material indicates that the water was highly enriched in 17O and 18O (δ17,18OSMOW = +180‰ per mil), providing the first evidence for an extremely 17,18O-rich reservoir in the early solar system.

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