Evidence for the late formation of hydrous asteroids from young meteoritic carbonates.

Nature communications

PubMedID: 22252551

Fujiya W, Sugiura N, Hotta H, Ichimura K, Sano Y. Evidence for the late formation of hydrous asteroids from young meteoritic carbonates. Nat Commun. 2012;3627.
The accretion of small bodies in the Solar System is a fundamental process that was followed by planet formation. Chronological information of meteorites can constrain when asteroids formed. Secondary carbonates show extremely old (53)Mn-(53)Cr radiometric ages, indicating that some hydrous asteroids accreted rapidly. However, previous studies have failed to define accurate Mn/Cr ratios; hence, these old ages could be artefacts. Here we develop a new method for accurate Mn/Cr determination, and report a reliable age of 4,563. 4+0. 4/-0. 5 million years ago for carbonates in carbonaceous chondrites. We find that these carbonates have identical ages, which are younger than those previously estimated. This result suggests the late onset of aqueous activities in the Solar System. The young carbonate age cannot be explained if the parent asteroid accreted within 3 million years after the birth of the Solar System. Thus, we conclude that hydrous asteroids accreted later than differentiated and metamorphosed asteroids.