Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Nd isotope variation between the Earth–Moon system and enstatite chondrites

Abstract

Reconstructing the building blocks that made Earth and the Moon is critical to constrain their formation and compositional evolution to the present. Neodymium (Nd) isotopes identify these building blocks by fingerprinting nucleosynthetic components. In addition, the 146Sm–142Nd and 147Sm–143Nd decay systems, with half-lives of 103 million years and 108 billion years, respectively, track potential differences in their samarium (Sm)/Nd ratios. The difference in Earth’s present-day 142Nd/144Nd ratio compared with chondrites1,2, and in particular enstatite chondrites, is interpreted as nucleosynthetic isotope variation in the protoplanetary disk. This necessitates that chondrite parent bodies have the same Sm/Nd ratio as Earth’s precursor materials2. Here we show that Earth and the Moon instead had a Sm/Nd ratio approximately 2.4 ± 0.5 per cent higher than the average for chondrites and that the initial 142Nd/144Nd ratio of Earth’s precursor materials is more similar to that of enstatite chondrites than previously proposed1,2. The difference in the Sm/Nd ratio between Earth and chondrites probably reflects the mineralogical distribution owing to mixing processes within the inner protoplanetary disk. This observation simplifies lunar differentiation to a single stage from formation to solidification of a lunar magma ocean3. This also indicates that no Sm/Nd fractionation occurred between the materials that made Earth and the Moon in the Moon-forming giant impact.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Neodymium isotope variations of chondrites, CAIs and Earth.
Fig. 2: μ142Nd versus ε143Nd for a single-stage collisional erosion model coincident with the Moon-forming giant impact.
Fig. 3: Mixing models for enstatite chondrites with oldhamite and olivine.

Data availability

All data are available at EarthChem51. Source data are provided with this paper.

References

  1. Burkhardt, C. et al. A nucleosynthetic origin for the Earth’s anomalous 142Nd composition. Nature 537, 394–398 (2016).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. Bouvier, A. & Boyet, M. Primitive Solar System materials and Earth share a common initial 142Nd abundance. Nature 537, 399–402 (2016).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. McLeod, C. L., Brandon, A. D. & Armytage, R. M. Constraints on the formation age and evolution of the Moon from 142Nd–143Nd systematics of Apollo 12 basalts. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 396, 179–189 (2014).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Trinquier, A. et al. Orgin of nucleosynthetic isotope heterogeneity in the solar protoplanetary disk. Science 324, 374–376 (2009).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Warren, P. H. Stable-isotopic anomalies and the accretionary assemblage of the Earth and Mars: a subordinate role for carbonaceous chondrites. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 311, 93–100 (2011).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Kruijer, T. S., Burkhardt, C., Budde, G. & Kleine, T. Age of Jupiter inferred from the distinct genetics and formation times of meteorites. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, 6712–6716 (2017).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Bouvier, A., Vervoort, J. D. & Patchett, P. J. The Lu–Hf and Sm–Nd isotopic composition of CHUR: constraints from unequilibrated chondrites and implications for the bulk composition of terrestrial planets. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 273, 48–57 (2008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Boyet, M. et al. Enstatite chondrites EL3 as building blocks for the Earth: the debate over the 146Sm–142Nd systematics. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 488, 68–78 (2018).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Brennecka, G. A., Borg, L. E. & Wadhwa, M. Evidence for supernova injection into the solar nebula and the decoupling of r-process nucleosynthesis. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 110, 17241–17246 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Arlandini, C., Käppeler, F. & Wisshak, K. Neutron capture in low-mass asymptotic giant branch stars: cross sections and abundance signatures. Astrophys. J. 525, 886–900 (1999).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Hoppe, P. & Ott, U. Mainstream silicon carbide grains from meteorites. AIP Conf. Proc. 402, 27–58 (1997).

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Qin, L. P., Carlson, R. W. & Alexander, C. M. O. Correlated nucleosynthetic isotopic variability in Cr, Sr, Ba, Sm, Nd and Hf in Murchison and QUE 97008. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 75, 7806–7828 (2011).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Sprung, P., Kleine, T. & Scherer, E. E. Isotopic evidence for chondritic Lu/Hf and Sm/Nd of the Moon. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 380, 77–87 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Lugmair, G. W. & Shukolyukov, A. Early Solar System timescales according to 53Mn–53Cr systematics. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 62, 2863–2886 (1998).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Zhang, J., Dauphas, N., Davis, A. M., Leya, I. & Fedkin, A. The proto-Earth as a significant source of lunar material. Nat. Geosci. 5, 251–255 (2012).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Wang, K. & Jacobsen, S. B. Potassium isotopic evidence for a high-energy giant impact origin of the Moon. Nature 538, 487–490 (2016).

    Article  ADS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Murphy, D. T., Brandon, A. D., Debaille, V., Burgess, R. & Ballentine, C. In search of a hidden long-term isolated sub-chondritic 142Nd/144Nd reservoir in the deep mantle: implications for the Nd isotope systematics of the Earth. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 74, 738–750 (2010).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Lock, S. J. et al. The origin of the Moon within a terrestrial synestia. J. Geophys. Res. Planets 123, 910–951 (2018).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  19. Nielsen, S. G., Bekaert, D. B. & Auro, M. Isotopic evidence for the formation of the Moon in a canonical giant impact. Nat. Commun. 12, 1817 (2021).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  20. Thiemens, M. M., Sprung, P., Fonseca, R. O., Leitzke, F. P. & Münker, C. Early Moon formation inferred from hafnium–tungsten systematics. Nat. Geosci. 12, 696–700 (2019).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Boyet, M. & Carlson, R. W. 142Nd evidence for early (>4.53 Ga) global differentiation of the silicate Earth. Science 309, 576–581 (2005).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Boyet, M. & Carlson, R. W. A new geochemical model for the Earth's mantle inferred from 146Sm–142Nd systematics. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 250, 254–268 (2006).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Bennett, V. C., Brandon, A. D. & Nutman, A. P. Hadean mantle dynamics from coupled 142–143 neodymium isotopes in Eoarchean rocks. Science 318, 1907–1910 (2007).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Hyung, E. & Jacobsen, S. B. The 142Nd/144Nd variations in mantle-derived rocks provide constraints on the stirring rate of the mantle from the Hadean to the present. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 117, 14738–14744 (2020).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  25. Peters, B. J., Carlson, R. W., Day, J. M. D. & Horan, M. F. Hadean silicate differentiation preserved by anomalous 142Nd/144Nd rations in the Reunion hotspot source. Nature 555, 89–93 (2018).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. O'Neill, H. S. C. & Palme, H. Collisional erosion and the non-chondritic composition of the terrestrial planets. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 366, 4205–4238 (2008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Allibert, L., Charnoz, S., Siebert, J., Jacobson, S. A. & Raymond, S. N. Quantitative estimates of impact induced crustal erosion during accretion and its influence on the Sm/Nd ratio of the Earth. Icarus 363, 114412 (2021).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Zindler, A. & Hart, S. Chemical geodynamics. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 14, 493–571 (1986).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Campbell, I. H. & O’Neill, H. S. C. Evidence against a chondritic Earth. Nature 483, 553–558 (2012).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Miyazaki, Y. & Korenaga, J. Dynamic evolution of major element chemistry in protoplanetary disks and its implications for Earth-enstatite chondrite connection. Icarus 361, 114368 (2021).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. Johansen, A. et al. A pebble accretion model for the formation of the terrestrial planets in the Solar System. Sci. Adv. 7, eabc0444 (2021).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  32. Jacquet, E., Alard, O. & Gounelle, M. The formation conditions of enstatite chondrites: insights from trace element geochemistry of olivine-bearing chondrules in Sahara 97096 (EH3). Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 50, 1624–1642 (2015).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Gannoun, A., Boyet, M., El Goresy, A. & Devouard, G. REE and actinide microdistribution in Sahara 97072 and ALHA77295 EH3 chondrites: a combined cosmochemical and petrologic investigation. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 75, 3269–3289 (2011).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Boyet, M. & Gannoun, A. Nucleosynthetic Nd isotope anomalies in primitive enstatite chondrites. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 121, 652–666 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Tazoe, H., Obata, H. & Gamo, T. Determination of cerium isotope ratios in geochemical samples using oxidative extraction technique with chelating resin. J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 22, 616–622 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Caro, G., Bourdon, B., Birck, J. L. & Moorbath, S. High-precision 142Nd/144Nd measurements in terrestrial rocks: constraints on the early differentiation of the Earth’s mantle. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 164–191 (2006).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. Friedman, A. M. et al. Alpha decay half lives of 148Gd 150Gd and 146Sm. Radiochim. Acta 5, 192–194 (1966).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Meissner, F., Schmidt-Ott, W. D. & Ziegeler, L. Half-life and α-ray energy of 146Sm. Z. Phys. A 327, 171–174 (1987).

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. Marks, N. E., Borg, L. E., Hutcheon, I. D., Jacobsen, B. & Clayton, R. N. Samarium–neodymium chronology and rubidium–strontium systematics of an Allende calcium–aluminum-rich inclusion with implications for 146Sm half-life. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 405, 15–24 (2014).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. Boyet, M., Carlson, R. W. & Horan, M. Old Sm–Nd ages for cumulate eucrites and redetermination of the solar system initial 146Sm/144Sm ratio. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 291, 172–181 (2010).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. Andreasen, R. & Sharma, M. Solar nebula heterogeneity in p-process samarium and neodymium isotopes. Science 314, 806–809 (2006).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Carlson, R. W., Boyet, M. & Horan, M. Chondrite barium, neodymium, and samarium isotopic heterogeneity and early Earth differentiation. Science 316, 1175–1178 (2007).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. O’Neil, J., Carlson, R. W., Francis, D. & Stevenson, R. K. Response to Comment on “Neodymium-142 evidence for Hadean mafic crust”. Science 325, 267 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  44. Fukai, R. & Yokoyama, T. Neodymium isotope heterogeneity of ordinary and carbonaceous chondrites and the origin of non-chondritic 142Nd compositions in the Earth. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 474, 206–214 (2017).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. Fukai, R. & Yokoyama, T. Nucleosynthetic Sr–Nd isotope correlations in chondrites: evidence for nebular thermal processing and dust transportation in the early Solar System. Astrophys. J. 879, 79 (2019).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  46. Gannoun, A., Boyet, M., Rizo, H. & El Goresy, A. 146Sm–142Nd systematics measured in enstatite chondrites reveals a heterogeneous distribution of 142Nd in the solar nebula. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 7693–7697 (2011).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  47. Saji, N. S., Wielandt, D., Holst, J. C. & Bizzarro, M. Solar System Nd isotope heterogeneity: insights into nucleosynthetic components and protoplanetary disk evolution. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 281, 135–148 (2020).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  48. Andreasen, R. & Sharma, M. Fractionation and mixing in a thermal ionization mass spectrometer source: implications and limitations for high-precision Nd isotope analyses. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 285, 49–57 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  49. Garçon, M. et al. Factors influencing the precision and accuracy of Nd isotope measurements by thermal ionization mass spectrometry. Chem. Geol. 476, 493–514 (2018).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  50. Hezel, D. C. & Palme, H. Constraints for chondrule formation from Ca–Al distribution in carbonaceous chondrites. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 265, 716–725 (2008). 2008.

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  51. Johnston, S. et al. Extended Data Files for 'Nd isotope variation between the Earth–Moon system and enstatite chondrites’, published in Nature, Version 1.0. IEDA https://doi.org/10.26022/IEDA/112516 (2022).

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank the NASA Emerging Worlds Program for funding via award #NNX16AI28G and #80NSSC21K0275, and DFG for funding via award RA1797-1. A visit of A.B. at Freie Universität Berlin was funded by DFG CRC-TRR 170 (Project-ID 263649064). We thank M. Feth and K. Hammerschmidt for assistance and discussions. We thank the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, USA, and the Antarctic Meteorite Collection at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, USA, for samples. This is TRR 170 publication no. 168.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

S.J. performed lab work and measurements and took the lead in writing the paper and interpretation. A.B. conceived the project, supervised all work at University of Houston, performed lab work and measurements. C.M. performed lab work and measurements. K.R. performed lab work and measurements. H.B. supervised all work at Freie University. P.C. provided guidance for the study. All authors contributed to interpretation and editing the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alan Brandon.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Peer review

Peer review information

Nature thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Extended data figures and tables

Extended Data Fig. 1 Nucleosynthetic anomaly patterns for Nd.

The expected s-deficit Nd anomalies when using stellar model abundances and an internal 146Nd/144Nd normalization.

Extended Data Fig. 2 Nd isotope compositions of chondrite groups and CAIs.

The top panel shows the weighted average μiNd compositions for enstatite chondrites (EC), ordinary chondrites (OC), carbonaceous chondrites (CC) and CAIs. The external reproducibility of the JNdi standard (2 s.d.) is shown for each isotope as a grey bar. 143Nd is not represented as any measured deviation is mostly radiogenic. The bottom panel shows the relative contributions of p-, s- and r-process nucleosynthesis for each Nd isotope are show below as percentages10.

Extended Data Fig. 3 Nd isotope variations in chondrites, CAI’s and accessible Earth.

A) μ142Nd versus μ145Nd, B) 142Nd versus 148Nd, (C) For μ142Nd versus μ150Nd, D) μ148Nd versus μ150Nd, E) 145Nd versus 148Nd, and F) 145Nd versus 150Nd. The modelled s-deficit lines (black) for an Earth with present-day μ142Nd = 0 ± 1.1 are plotted. Group averages are from Supplementary Tables 1 and 4: enstatite chondrites, ordinary chondrites, carbonaceous chondrites, CAIs, Allende and CAI-free Allende are plotted in each figure. Also plotted are group averages using only data from Burkhardt et al.1. for enstatite chondrites, ordinary chondrites, Allende and CAI-free Allende. In each figure, the stellar s-deficit line is shown as solid black, the SiC s-deficit line is shown as dotted black and the chondrite leachate s-deficit line is shown as dashed black. For A, B and C that plot μ142Nd on the y axis, the modelled s-deficit lines (green) for an Earth with present-day μ142Nd = −7.3 ± 1.6 (green diamond) are plotted. The mixing lines between CAI’s and CAI-free Allende that go through the Allende values are shown in solid grey. All μ142Nd values for CAIs and chondrites have been corrected for radiogenic ingrowth. All uncertainties show the 95% CI for the weighted group average. Where no error bars are shown, the symbols for the respective compositions are larger than the errors. Note that for diagrams D–F that do not plot μ142Nd on the y axis, all Earth μNd values are 0 and only one set of s-deficit lines are needed and used. In these diagrams, all of the group averages show that the differences in chondrites and Earth at 0 are consistent with s-process abundance differences and confirms earlier studies1. The deviations in the carbonaceous chondrite group average from the s-deficit lines relative to Earth in E and F, may reflect and additional and poorly constrained Nd isotope component in the CC nebular region not found in the inner Solar System. Alternatively, it may reflect the lack of removal of a CAI component in these rocks, which cannot be done without additional study (i.e. not enough data for CAIs on these meteorites. In all 6 diagrams, the group averages using all data from the literature and this study (Supplementary Table 2) are consistent within uncertainty to group averages using only data from Burkhardt et al,1. Slopes for the s-deficit lines for each diagram is from Burkhardt et al.1. See main text for additional discussion.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Table 1

Compilation of measured and calculated Nd isotope compositions for bulk chondrites, CAIs and the present-day accessible mantle. Reference numbers listed as [XX]. Values not used in group averages in grey shading. μ148Nd values for Berlin measurements (this study) are highlighted in green shade and not used in group averages. See Methods for discussion on data filtering.

Supplementary Table 2

Nd isotope ratios and values for samples and standards analysed in this study. Measured 143Nd/144Nd Values are reported in Extended Data Table 3.

Supplementary Table 3

Measured and corrected 142Nd values.

Supplementary Table 4

Average Nd isotope compositions for chondritic and terrestrial sample groups.

Supplementary Table 5

Compilation of Nd isotope data used to calculate group averages for Allende CAIs and Allende.

Supplementary Table 6

Values used for collisional erosion models in Fig. 2. Equations used for Sm–Nd isotope evolution are adapted from ref. 24 (Supplementary equations (1) and (2)).

Supplementary Table 7

Values used for mixing models in Fig. 3.

Source Data Table 1

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Johnston, S., Brandon, A., McLeod, C. et al. Nd isotope variation between the Earth–Moon system and enstatite chondrites. Nature 611, 501–506 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05265-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05265-0

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing