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Multiple origins of nitrogen isotopic anomalies in meteorites and comets

J. Aléon 1
CSNSM - Centre de Spectrométrie Nucléaire et de Spectrométrie de Masse
Abstract : Isotopic fractionation and mixing calculations compared with coupled hydrogen and nitrogen isotopic composition of organic molecules from primitive chondrites, interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), and comets C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) and 81P/Wild2 reveal that meteoritic and cometary organic matter contains three different isotopic components of different origins. (1) A major component of carbonaceous chondrites, IDPs, and comets Hale-Bopp and Wild2 shows correlated H and N isotopic compositions attributable to isotope exchange between an organic matter of solar composition and a reservoir formed by ion-molecule reactions at T < 25 K under conditions where competing reactions are strongly inhibited, possibly in the final evolutionary stages of the presolar cloud core, or more likely in the coldest outer regions of the solar protoplanetary disk. (2) In carbonaceous chondrites, IDPs, and comet Wild2, this component is mixed with a (15)N-rich component having identical (15)N and D enrichments relative to the protosolar gas. Temperatures > 100 K deduced from the low D/H ratio and an anti-correlation between the abundance of this component and meteoritic age indicate a late origin in the solar protoplanetary disk. N(2) self-shielding and the non-thermal nucleosynthesis of (15)N upon irradiation are possible but unlikely sources of this component, and a chemical origin is preferred. (3) An interstellar component with highly fractionated hydrogen isotopes and unfractionated nitrogen isotopes is present in ordinary chondrites. A dominantly solar origin of D and (15)N excesses in primitive solar system bodies shows that isotopic anomalies do not necessarily fingerprint an interstellar origin and implies that only a very small fraction of volatile interstellar matter survived the events of solar system formation.
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J. Aléon. Multiple origins of nitrogen isotopic anomalies in meteorites and comets. The Astrophysical Journal, American Astronomical Society, 2010, 722, pp.1342-1351. ⟨10.1088/0004-637X/722/2/1342⟩. ⟨in2p3-00667361⟩



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