Extended chondrule formation intervals in distinct physicochemical environments: Evidence from Al-Mg isotope systematics of CR chondrite chondrules with unaltered plagioclase

Travis J. Tenner, Daisuke Nakashima, Takayuki Ushikubo, Naotaka Tomioka, Makoto Kimura, Michael K. Weisberg, Noriko T. Kita

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Al-Mg isotope systematics of twelve FeO-poor (type I) chondrules from CR chondrites Queen Alexandra Range 99177 and Meteorite Hills 00426 were investigated by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Five chondrules with Mg#’s of 99.0–99.2 and Δ17O of −4.2‰ to −5.3‰ have resolvable excess 26Mg. Their inferred (26Al/27Al)0 values range from (3.5 ± 1.3) × 10−6 to (6.0 ± 3.9) × 10−6. This corresponds to formation times of 2.2 (−0.5/+1.1) Myr to 2.8 (−0.3/+0.5) Myr after CAIs, using a canonical (26Al/27Al)0 of 5.23 × 10−5, and assuming homogeneously distributed 26Al that yielded a uniform initial 26Al/27Al in the Solar System. Seven chondrules lack resolvable excess 26Mg. They have lower Mg#’s (94.2–98.7) and generally higher Δ17O (−0.9‰ to −4.9‰) than chondrules with resolvable excess 26Mg. Their inferred (26Al/27Al)0 upper limits range from 1.3 × 10−6 to 3.2 × 10−6, corresponding to formation >2.9 to >3.7 Myr after CAIs. Al-Mg isochrons depend critically on chondrule plagioclase, and several characteristics indicate the chondrule plagioclase is unaltered: (1) SIMS 27Al/24Mg depth profile patterns match those from anorthite standards, and SEM/EDS of chondrule SIMS pits show no foreign inclusions; (2) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) reveals no nanometer-scale micro-inclusions and no alteration due to thermal metamorphism; (3) oxygen isotopes of chondrule plagioclase match those of coexisting olivine and pyroxene, indicating a low extent of thermal metamorphism; and (4) electron microprobe data show chondrule plagioclase is anorthite-rich, with excess structural silica and high MgO, consistent with such plagioclase from other petrologic type 3.00–3.05 chondrites. We conclude that the resolvable (26Al/27Al)0 variabilities among chondrules studied are robust, corresponding to a formation interval of at least 1.1 Myr. Using relationships between chondrule (26Al/27Al)0, Mg#, and Δ17O, we interpret spatial and temporal features of dust, gas, and H2O ice in the FeO-poor chondrule-forming environment. Mg# ≥ 99, Δ17O ∼ −5‰ chondrules with resolvable excess 26Mg initially formed in an environment that was relatively anhydrous, with a dust-to-gas ratio of ∼100×. After these chondrules formed, we interpret a later influx of 16O-poor H2O ice into the environment, and that dust-to-gas ratios expanded (100× to 300×). This led to the later formation of more oxidized Mg# 94–99 chondrules with higher Δ17O (−5‰ to −1‰), with low (26Al/27Al)0, and hence no resolvable excess 26Mg. We refine the mean CR chondrite chondrule formation age via mass balance, by considering that Mg# ≥ 99 chondrules generally have resolved positive (26Al/27Al)0 and that Mg# < 99 chondrules generally have no resolvable excess 26Mg, implying lower (26Al/27Al)0. We obtain a mean chondrule formation age of 3.8 ± 0.3 Myr after CAIs, which is consistent with Pb-Pb and Hf-W model ages of CR chondrite chondrule aggregates. Overall, this suggests most CR chondrite chondrules formed immediately before parent body accretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-160
Number of pages28
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept 1


  • Cosmochemistry
  • Early Solar System chronology
  • Protoplanetary disk evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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