EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF IRRADIATION-DRIVEN HYDROGEN ISOTOPE FRACTIONATION IN ANALOGS OF PROTOPLANETARY HYDROUS SILICATE DUST
Roskosz et al
The origin of hydrogen in chondritic components is poorly understood. Their isotopic composition is heavier than the solar nebula gas. In addition, in most meteorites, hydrous silicates are found to be lighter than the coexisting organic matter. Ionizing irradiation recently emerged as an efficient hydrogen fractionating process in organics, but its effect on H-bearing silicates remains essentially unknown. We report the evolution of the D/H of hydrous silicates experimentally irradiated by electrons. Thin films of amorphous silica, amorphous "serpentine," and pellets of crystalline muscovite were irradiated at 4 and 30 keV. For all samples, irradiation leads to a large hydrogen loss correlated with a moderate deuterium enrichment of the solid residue. The entire data set can be described by a Rayleigh distillation. The calculated fractionation factor is consistent with a kinetically controlled fractionation during the loss of hydrogen. Furthermore, for a given ionizing condition, the deuteration of the silicate residues is much lower than the deuteration measured on irradiated organic macromolecules. These results provide firm evidence of the limitations of ionizing irradiation as a driving mechanism for D-enrichment of silicate materials. The isotopic composition of the silicate dust cannot rise from a protosolar to a chondritic signature during solar irradiations. More importantly, these results imply that irradiation of the disk naturally induces a strong decoupling of the isotopic signatures of coexisting organics and silicates. This decoupling is consistent with the systematic difference observed between the heavy organic matter and the lighter water typically associated with minerals in the matrix of most carbonaceous chondrites.