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A Shorter 146Sm Half-Life Measured and Implications for 146Sm-142Nd Chronology in the Solar System

Science  30 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6076, pp. 1614-1617
DOI: 10.1126/science.1215510

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Abstract

The extinct p-process nuclide 146Sm serves as an astrophysical and geochemical chronometer through measurements of isotopic anomalies of its α-decay daughter 142Nd. Based on analyses of 146Sm/147Sm α-activity and atom ratios, we determined the half-life of 146Sm to be 68 ± 7 (1σ) million years, which is shorter than the currently used value of 103 ± 5 million years. This half-life value implies a higher initial 146Sm abundance in the early solar system, (146Sm/144Sm)0 = 0.0094 ± 0.0005 (2σ), than previously estimated. Terrestrial, lunar, and martian planetary silicate mantle differentiation events dated with 146Sm-142Nd converge to a shorter time span and in general to earlier times, due to the combined effect of the new 146Sm half-life and (146Sm/144Sm)0 values.

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