Titanium Isotope Cosmochemistry

  • Niel Williams

Student thesis: Phd


High precision measurements of Ti isotopes within terrestrial and extra-terrestrial materials were made in order to investigate the processes at work within the early solar system. Variations of Ti isotopes also enabled the investigation of the specific stellar sources that created the material that formed the solar system. Titanium was chosen as it is a refractory element, relatively resistant to secondary processes and found abundantly in all solar system materials. Measurements were performed using a Thermo Fischer Neptune MC-ICPMS at the Open University, Milton Keynes. Various samples of carbonaceous chondrites, ordinary chondrites, enstatite chondrites, achondrites, lunar, terrestrial and early solar system components were analysed. Mass independent measurements of various solar system materials revealed a correlation between ε50/47Ti49/47 and ε46/47Ti49/47 defining a best line with a slope of 5.34 ± 0.34. The correlation indicates that solar system materials contain nucleosynthetic components that match a SNII stellar source. Utilising aliquots previously analysed for Zr isotopes for Ti isotope analyses revealed a correlation between ε50/47Ti49/47 and ε96/90Zr94/90 for the carbonaceous chondrites that is controlled by the CAI content of the particular carbonaceous chondrite group. Step wise dissolution of ordinary chondrites and carbonaceous chondrites revealed multiple nucleosynthetic Ti components contributing to the solar system.Stepwise leachate dissolutions were conducted on the carbonaceous chondrites Allende, Murchison and Orgueil to compliment the study of the same samples for Zr by Schönbächler et al. (2005). In addition, sample aliquots of QUE 97008 and Murchison from the work of Qin et al. (2011) were also investigated for Ti. The two investigations allow the comparison of Ti in different phases to be compared with other isotope systems such as Zr (Schönbächler et al. 2005) and Cr, Sr, Ba, Sm, Nd and Hf (Qin et al. 2011).Mass dependent fractionation and absolute nucleosynthetic anomalies of Ti within solar system materials was determined by utilising the double spike procedure. Mass dependent analysis enabled the Stable isotope composition of terrestrial materials to be investigated, revealing mass dependent fractionation between terrestrial basalts and andesite's. Utilising the double spike procedure also enabled the calculation of absolute nucleosynthetic anomalies for Ti within solar system materials. The absolute nucleosynthetic anomalies data revealed that CAI's contain two different compositions with one representing an exotic stellar source and the other representing the mainstream solar system composition.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMaria Schonbachler (Supervisor), Ian Lyon (Supervisor) & Karen Theis (Supervisor)


  • solar system formation
  • meteorites
  • cosmochemistry
  • Isotope
  • titanium

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