Investigating Planetary Volatile Accretion Mechanisms Using the Halogens
Abstract:Depletion of the volatile elements in the Earth relative to the CI chondrites is roughly correlated with volatility, or decreasing condensation temperature. For the heavy halogen group elements (Cl, Br and I), volatility alone does not account for their apparent depletion, which early data has suggested is far greater than predicted [1-2]. Such depletion has been used to argue for the preferential loss of halogens by, amongst other processes, impact-driven erosive loss from Earth’s surface . Little consensus exists as to why the halogens should exhibit such preferential behavior during accretionary processes.
Early efforts to constrain halogen abundance and understand their behavior in both Earth and planetary materials [3-6] have been hampered by their typically low abundance (ppb level) in most geologic materials. We present the results of halogen analysis of 23 chondrite samples, selected to represent diverse groups and petrologic type. Halogen abundances were measured by neutron irradiation noble gas mass spectrometry (NI-NGMS). Significant concentration heterogeneity is observed within some samples. However, a single Br/Cl and I/Cl ratio of 1.9 ± 0.2 (x 10-3) and 335 ± 10 (x 10-6) can be defined for carbonaceous chondrites with a good correlation between Br and Cl (R2 = 0.97) and between I and Cl (R2 = 0.84). Ratios of I/Cl overlap with terrestrial estimates of Bulk Silicate Earth and Mid Ocean Ridge Basalts. Similarly, good correlations are derived for enstatite (E) chondrites and a sulfide- and halogen- rich subset of E-chondrites. Chlorine abundances of CI (Orgueil) in this study are lower by factor of ~ 3 than the value of ~ 700 ppm Cl (compilation in ). Our results are similar to early discarded low values for Ivuna and Orgueil from [5,6] and agree more closely with values for CM chondrites. Halogens may not be as depleted in Earth as previously suggested, or a high degree of heterogeneity in the abundance of these volatile elements in carbonaceous chondrites should be considered when we assess Earth’s halogen abundance relative to CI.
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