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Evidence of presolar SiC in the Allende Curious Marie calcium–aluminium-rich inclusion


Calcium–aluminium-rich inclusions (CAIs) are one of the first solids to have condensed in the solar nebula, while presolar grains formed in various evolved stellar environments. It is generally accepted that CAIs formed close to the Sun at temperatures above 1,500 K, where presolar grains could not survive, and were then transported to other regions of the nebula where the accretion of planetesimals took place. In this context, a commonly held view is that presolar grains are found solely in the fine-grained rims surrounding chondrules and in the low-temperature fine-grained matrix that binds the various meteoritic components together. Here we demonstrate, on the basis of noble gas isotopic signatures, that presolar SiC grains were incorporated into fine-grained CAIs in the Allende carbonaceous chondrite at the time of their formation, and have survived parent-body processing. This finding provides new clues on the conditions in the nascent Solar System at the condensation of the first solids.

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Fig. 1: Three-isotope plots showing Xe composition in the Allende Curious Marie CAI.
Fig. 2: Krypton in the Allende Curious Marie CAI.
Fig. 3: Neon in the Allende Curious Marie CAI.
Fig. 4: Correlation between 22Ne/130Xe and 86Kr/82Kr in the G noble gas component carried by the presolar SiC grains.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are provided in the Supplementary Information as Supplementary Tables 14, and are also available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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We are grateful to D. Nakashima and A. Nguyen for the constructive and thorough review and for the help provided during the editorial process. We thank P. Heck, J. Holstein, and the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies at the Field Museum for providing the Curious Marie specimen (catalogue number ME3364-3.2). This work was supported by NASA grant 80NSSC19K0508 to O.P.; a Crosby Postdoctoral Fellowships (MIT), NSF-EAR grant 1824002, and start-up funds provided by Caltech to F.L.H.T.; by NASA grants NNX17AE86G (LARS), NNX17AE87G 531 (Emerging Worlds) and 80NSSC17K0744 (Habitable Worlds) to N.D.

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Authors and Affiliations



O.P designed the study, conducted the noble gas analyses, treated the data and wrote the first draft of the paper. F.L.H.T. selected, prepared and characterized the studied sample. O.P. and S.A. interpreted the data. N.D. critically contributed to the paper presentation. All the authors contributed to the discussion of the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to O. Pravdivtseva.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Astronomy thanks Daisuke Nakashima, Ann Nguyen and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Fig. 1 and Supplementary Tables 1–4.

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Pravdivtseva, O., Tissot, F.L.H., Dauphas, N. et al. Evidence of presolar SiC in the Allende Curious Marie calcium–aluminium-rich inclusion. Nat Astron 4, 617–624 (2020).

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