Genetic relationships of solar system bodies based on their nucleosynthetic Ti isotope compositions and sub-structures of the solar protoplanetary disk

Miriam Rüfenacht, Précillia Morino, Yi Jen Lai, Manuela A. Fehr, Makiko K. Haba, Maria Schönbächler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Nucleosynthetic isotope variations are powerful tools to investigate genetic relationships between meteorite groups and planets. They are instrumental to assess the early evolution of the solar system, including mixing and reservoir formation in the protoplanetary disk, as well as planet formation. To address these questions, we report high-precision nucleosynthetic Ti isotope compositions of a wide range of bulk meteorites, partially complemented with new Cr isotope data. New Ti isotope data confirm the first order dichotomy observed between carbonaceous chondrites (CC), representing outer solar system compositions, and non-carbonaceous (NC) meteorites from the inner solar system. The data in combination with nucleosynthetic isotope data of other elements (e.g., Cr, Ca) indicate that isotopically heterogeneous reservoirs were also present as sub-reservoirs in the inner disk (NC reservoir), generating two or more clusters i.e., (i) the Vesta-like howardites-eucrites-diogenites (HEDs), mesosiderites, angrites, acapulcoites, lodranites, and brachinites and (ii) the Earth-Mars-like ordinary chondrites (OC), aubrites, enstatite chondrites (EC), winonaites, IAB silicates, rumuruti chondrites (R), Martian and terrestrial samples. These reservoirs likely represent disk substructures such as secondary gaps and ring-structures, created by spiral arms, which were emitted from the growing Jupiter and/or Saturn. The distinct isotopic compositions of these reservoirs may reflect thermal processing of material within the disk in combination with temporal isotopic variations either due to isotopically variable infalling material from a heterogeneous molecular cloud and/or thermal processing during the infall that induced such heterogeneities. Such effects were likely reinforced by thermal processing of the material within the disk itself and by physical size- and density sorting of dust caused by the giant planets, creating gaps and pressure bumps in the disk. 

Genetic relationships of meteorite groups and their implications on parent body formation are evaluated. New high precision Ti isotope data are consistent with that (i) CH and CB meteorites derive from a common parent body, which most likely accreted material from the same isotopic reservoir as the parent body of CR chondrites, (ii) silicates of IAB irons and winonaites originate from the same parent body, and (iii) mesosiderites and HED meteorites have a common origin on Vesta. The indistinguishable Ti and Cr isotope compositions of HEDs/mesosiderites to acapulcoites are not attributed to a common parent body, because of petrologic and chemical differences in addition to their distinct O isotope compositions. Their parent bodies likely accreted in the same disk region, which showed a higher level of O isotope heterogeneity compared to that of Ti, Cr and other refractory nucleosynthetic tracers. The similarity in Ti isotope compositions of Martian meteorites and OCs indicates that OC-like material belongs to the main building blocks of Mars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-125
Number of pages16
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Early online date28 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Dichotomy
  • Disk structures
  • Dust
  • Genetic relationships
  • Isotope heterogeneity
  • Protoplanetary disk
  • Size-sorting
  • Ti nucleosynthetic variations


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