26Al in Eucrite Piplia Kalan: Plausible Heat Source and Formation Chronology

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Science  21 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5418, pp. 1348-1350
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5418.1348

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Aluminum-magnesium isotopic analysis of plagioclase in the eucrite Piplia Kalan, with 27Al/24Mg ratio between 2000 to 7000, reveals the presence of excess magnesium-26 resulting from in situ decay of the short-lived nuclide aluminum-26. This observation confirms aluminum-26 as a plausible heat source for melting and differentiation of the eucrite parent body in particular and for planetesimals in general. The inferred initial abundance of26Al/27Al of (7.5 ± 0.9) × 10−7 indicates that melting, differentiation, and crust formation in the parent body of Piplia Kalan was complete within 5 million years of the formation of the solar system.

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