Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits

Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits

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Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

ScienceDirect Advances in Space Research xxx (2015) xxx–xxx www.elsevier.com/locate/asr

Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits V.A. Alexeev a, M. Laubenstein b, P.P. Povinec c, G.K. Ustinova a,⇑ a

Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119991 Moscow, Russia b National Laboratory of Gran Sasso, INFN, I-67100 Assergi, Italy c Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, Comenius University, 84248 Bratislava, Slovakia Received 21 September 2014; received in revised form 27 April 2015; accepted 7 May 2015

Abstract Cosmogenic radionuclides produced by galactic cosmic rays (GCR) in meteorites during their motion in space are natural detectors of the GCR intensity and variations along the meteorite orbits. On the basis of measured and calculated contents of cosmogenic radionuclides in the freshly fallen Chelyabinsk and Kosˇice chondrites some peculiarities of generation of cosmogenic radionuclides of different half-lives in the chondrites of different orbits and dates of fall onto the Earth are demonstrated. Dependence of production rates of the radionuclides on the GCR variations in the heliosphere is analyzed. Using radionuclides with different half-lives it is possible to compare the average GCR intensity over various time periods. The measurement and theoretical analysis of cosmogenic radionuclides in consecutively fallen chondrites provide a unique information on the space–time continuum of the cosmogenic radionuclide production rates and their variations over a long time scale, which could be useful in correlative analyses of processes in the heliosphere. Some applications of cosmogenic radionuclide depth distribution in chondrites for estimation of their pre-atmospheric sizes are illustrated. Ó 2015 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Chondrites; Cosmogenic radionuclides; Cosmic rays; Production rates; Depth distributions; Pre-atmospheric sizes

1. Introduction Multiyear studies of processes of solar modulation of GCRs in the heliosphere have led to the great progress in this field, as well as to better understanding of the extremely high complexity of the problem (Potgieter, 2013). At the same time, appropriate ways of further development and perfection of the investigation have become clear (Mewaldt, 2013). The extensive and comprehensive studies of processes in the inner heliosphere provide long sets of homogeneous data on many important parameters and ⇑ Corresponding author.

E-mail addresses: [email protected] (V.A. Alexeev), matthias. [email protected] (M. Laubenstein), [email protected] (P.P. Povinec), [email protected] (G.K. Ustinova).

their variations, which allow investigating dynamics of the processes and structure of the heliosphere. The invaluable databases of free use on the solar activity (SA) (http:// www.sidc.be/silso/DATA/yearssn.data), on the strength B of the interplanetary magnetic fields (IMF) (http:// nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/omniweb/form/dx1.html), on the title angle a of the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) (http:// wso.stanford.edu/Tilts.html), on the total solar magnetic field (TSMF) inversions in WSO Polar Field Observation (1976present)) (http://wso.stanford.edu), etc., in combination with multiyear data of the permanent measurements of integral GCR intensity in different energy range using neutron monitors and other ground-based and underground equipments or stratospheric balloon and space IMP experiments, enable us to study comprehensive causal relationships of processes on the Earth and in the Solar

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2015.05.004 0273-1177/Ó 2015 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article in press as: Alexeev, V.A., et al. Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits. Adv. Space Res. (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2015.05.004

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system, deriving the most general and important regularities. Moreover, the investigation of correlations between parameters of different processes provides the possibilities not only to reconstitute various processes in the past, but also to forecast their development in the nearest future (Ahluwalia, 2014; Ahluwalia and Jackiewicz, 2012; Okhlopkov and Stozhkov, 2011; Belov et al., 2007). Such an approach is very useful for studying many natural processes on the Earth, including climate variations (Ahluwalia, 2014; Alexeev, 2007). Here we attract general attention on investigation of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates in freshly fallen meteorites, which has been carried out by us since 1959 (Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1990a; Alexeev and Ustinova, 2006; Alexeev et al., 2012; Ustinova and Alexeev, 1999). Indeed, cosmogenic radionuclides with different half-lives (T1/2), which are observed in meteorites, are natural detectors of cosmic rays along the meteorite orbits (2–4 AU from the Sun) during 1.5 T1/2 of their production (when 70% of their observed content is formed) before the meteorite fall on the Earth. It is clear that measurements and analysis of cosmogenic radionuclides in falling meteorites might provide invaluable information on the distribution and variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates in 3D heliosphere over a long time scale, which provide a set of homogeneous parameters for correlative analysis of operative processes in the inner heliosphere. 2. Cosmogenic radionuclides in meteorites as natural detectors of cosmic rays The analytical method of studying cosmogenic radionuclides in meteorites has been described in detail in many previous works (e.g. Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1978; 1990a,b; Ustinova and Lavrukhina,1990). Here we consider it briefly on examples of the recently fallen Kosˇice (28. 02. 2010) and Chelyabinsk (15. 02. 2013) chondrites. 2.1. Heliocentric distances of cosmogenic radionuclide production in meteorites Falls of both the Kosˇice and Chelyabinsk chondrites were photographed, so their orbits were exactly calculated (Borovicka et al., 2013; Popova et al., 2013). The Chelyabinsk orbit is much smaller than the Kosˇice one: their aphelia are 2.78 AU and 4.5 AU, respectively. Both the orbits are shown in Fig. 1 in coordinates r(t), where r is a heliocentric distance of a chondrite in a moment t of its motion on the orbit. The average heliocentric distance at which the Chelyabinsk and Kosˇice chondrites were on their orbits is ~rc ¼ 2:25 AU and ~rk ¼ 3:63 AU, respectively. The most informative cosmogenic radionuclides used for GCR studies are 26Al (T1/2 = 0.76 106 y), 60Co (T1/2 = 5.27 y), 22Na (T1/2 = 2.6 y), 54Mn (T1/2 = 312 d), 46 Sc (T1/2 = 84 d), and 48V (T1/2 = 16 d). These cosmogenic radionuclides are produced by nucleons from all the main

Fig. 1. Orbits of the Kosˇice and Chelyabinsk chondrites with rk and rc as their average heliocentric distances, respectively. The 0.75 T1/2 values of some of the radionuclides are marked on x-axis, and the corresponding average heliocentric distances for their production during 1.5 T1/2 before the chondrite falls on the Earth are marked by horizontal lines on y-axis.

elements with higher mass numbers than given radionuclides. For instance, 26Al is produced from 27Al, 28Si, 32S, 39 K, 40Ca, 48Ti, 52Cr, 55Mn, 56Fe and 58Ni. Analogically, 22 Na is produced from the same elements and, in addition, from 23Na and 24Mg. Cosmogenic 48V and 46Sc are produced from 48Ti, 52Cr, 55Mn, 56Fe and 58Ni, but 46Sc is also produced by thermal neutrons from 45Sc. At last, 54Mn is produced from 55Mn, 56Fe and 58Ni, while 60Co is produced only in the (n,c)-reaction by thermal neutrons from 59 Co. Even in the same chemical group of the chondrites, the chemical composition of the individual ones may be rather different. Therefore, analyzing cosmogenic radionuclides in a chondrite, its individual content of the main element composition must be used, e.g., the chemical compositions of the Kosˇice and Chelyabinsk chondrites, presented by Ozdı´n et al. (2015), and Galimov et al. (2013) were used here. The contribution of a target element on the production of a radionuclide depends on its content in the chondrite, as well as on the average production cross sections of the radionuclide with primary and secondary nuclear active particles, which are the highest for the nearby target elements. For instance, 54Mn is produced with the highest cross sections on 55Mn, but the content of the later is 100 times lower than 56Fe, therefore the contribution of 56Fe to the 54Mn production is dominant. However, in most cases the effect is not so clear, so to be sure, it is necessary to determine the production of all the cosmogenic radionuclides from all the target elements pointed out above. In the conditions of the nuclear statistical equilibrium, the cosmogenic radionuclides are produced and decayed during meteorite motion in an orbit, so that their contents, measured on the moment of meteorite fall are accumulated at the last part of its journey during 1.5 T1/2 of the radionuclides. Solving the Kepler equations for meteorite movement on its orbit, we may estimate the points at which the average content of each radionuclide was accumulated

Please cite this article in press as: Alexeev, V.A., et al. Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits. Adv. Space Res. (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2015.05.004

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during its 1.5 T½ (the effective production rate) before the chondrite fall on the Earth. It is clear that the long-lived 26 Al is accumulating during many revolutions of a meteorite round the Sun. It is produced on some target elements of a meteorite during its irradiation by average GCR intensity over a million years at average heliocentric distance of the meteorite orbit. On the other hand, the short-lived 46Sc and 48V are accumulated under irradiation of falling meteorites by average GCR intensity near the Earth, during the last 125 and 25 days, respectively, before the meteorite fall. That intensity used to be known from stratospheric balloon measurements or IMP data. It is natural therefore to correlate the average GCR intensity with the average heliocentric distance at which the meteorite is during the last 1.5 T1/2 before its fall (see Fig. 1). Because of atmospheric ablation (which removes surface meteorite layers), cosmogenic radionuclides are found mainly inside of meteorite bodies where they were mainly produced by GCRs with energy E > 100 MeV. The integral fluxes of the primary component of GCRs of energy E > 100 MeV have been measured monthly in stratospheric balloon experiments since 1957, so that the long sequences of invaluable homogeneous data on the GCR intensity at 1 AU are available (Stozhkov et al., 2009). By comparing the GCR intensity at the average heliocentric distances of freshly fallen meteorites (which is obtained from the measured cosmogenic radionuclides of different T1/2), with that estimated at 1 AU from the stratospheric data for the same time period, it is possible to estimate GCR gradients (E > 100 MeV) for different time scales and for different positions in the heliosphere. It is especially valuable, that in this method an effect of the solar energetic particles (SEP-component) in the distribution of cosmic rays, and their variations from minimum to maximum are minimized (McKibben et al., 2003). Such investigations may bring information on the structure, as well as on the nature of the solar modulation mechanism (Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1981, 1990a; Ustinova, 1983, 1995; Ustinova and Lavrukhina, 1987; Alexeev and Ustinova, 2006). This approach was elaborated and used by us for the first time for the derivation of information on the GCR modulation in the 19th and 20th solar cycles, basing on the cosmogenic radionuclide data in freshly fallen chondrites with known orbits such as Pribram, Lost City and Innisfree (Lavrukhina et al., 1971; Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1979). 2.2. Cosmogenic radionuclides in the Kosˇice and Chelyabinsk chondrites Non-destructive low-level measurements of radionuclide contents were carried out using underground gamma-ray spectrometers, where a background reduction by more than a factor of ten could be achieved (Laubenstein et al., 2004; Povinec et al., 2005; 2015). The excellent energy resolution and high detection efficiency of large volume high purity germanium (HPGe) detectors, which permits selective and non-destructive analyses of several

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radionuclides in composite samples, have been the main reasons why these detectors have been used for analysis of radionuclides emitting gamma-rays in meteorites. Using the ultra low-level HPGe-spectrometers, the contents of cosmogenic radionuclides 26Al, 60Co, 22Na, and 54 Mn were measured in 5 samples of the Chelyabinsk chondrite (see them on the first 5 lines of Table 1). In the Kosˇice chondrite the contents of 26Al, 60Co, 22Na, 54Mn, 46Sc, and 48 V were measured in 19 fragments (Povinec et al., 2015), the average values of which are also presented in Table 1. 2.3. Analytical method of calculation of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates in meteorites The contents of cosmogenic radionuclides in meteorites (i.e. their production rates under saturation conditions) obey strict rules and depend on many factors including the intensity and energy spectrum of primary cosmic radiation and secondary nuclear-active particles, the production cross sections of the radionuclides, duration of the cosmic ray irradiation of meteorites in space, their chemical composition, and their pre-atmospheric sizes. The most important investigation here is the depth distribution of cosmogenic radionuclides inside meteorites, conditioned by the cascade development of nuclear-active particles of several generations initiated by incident GCR isotropic irradiation of the meteorite. We have developed an analytical method, based on the cascade-evaporation model of GCR interactions with meteoritic matter. Radionuclide production cross section data from thin target accelerator experiments or from elaborated systematics (Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1971) were used for constructing excitation functions for radionuclide production, which then were weighted in accordance with energy spectra of primary and secondary nuclear-active particles (e.g. Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1978, 1990a,b; Ustinova and Lavrukhina, 1990). The analytical method of simulating nuclear reactions in isotropic irradiated cosmic bodies of different size and composition is an efficient quantitative method of using cosmogenic radionuclides as natural detectors of cosmic rays. As the whole problem is expressed in an analytical form, the Table 1 Measured contents (in dpm kg1) of radionuclides in different samples of the Chelyabinsk chondrite (the first 5 lines), and their averaged values in the Kosˇice chondrite (the averaged values which take into account the weight of each point are expressed as “weighted”). The uncertainties are given at 1 sigma. Sample

26

60

6–21 10–64 10–85 10–116 4–63 Kosˇice, averaged Kosˇice, weighted

29 ± 3 35 ± 7 20 ± 3 6±2 3±1 60 ± 2 51 ± 2

28 ± 2 37 ± 9 27 ± 5 34 ± 3 14 ± 2 76 ± 12 45 ± 6

Al

Co

22

Na

55 ± 4 31 ± 11 49 ± 4 11 ± 2 5±1 95 ± 3 93 ± 2

54

Mn

68 ± 6 75 ± 11 59 ± 5 15 ± 2 6±1 162 ± 8 164 ± 7

Please cite this article in press as: Alexeev, V.A., et al. Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits. Adv. Space Res. (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2015.05.004

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method can be easily used in any specific case, i.e., for estimation of content of any cosmogenic radionuclide, produced by cosmic rays of any energy spectrum and intensity at any depth of cosmic body of any size and composition (for instance, meteorites of approximated spherical shape are isotropically irradiated in 4p-geometry, while the surface of the Moon is irradiated in 2p-geometry). The precision of the analytical method was proven in the direct experiment on 4p-irradiation of a spherical thick target, rotating in two plates, with a 660 MeV proton beam of the Dubna synchrocyclotron (Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1990a; Lavrukhina et al., 1973; Ustinova and Lavrukhina, 1993). 2.4. Determination of pre-atmospheric sizes of chondrites and locations of specimens As pointed out, the cosmogenic radionuclides were produced from all target elements of the Chelyabinsk and Kosˇice compositions (Ozdı´n et al., 2015; Galimov et al., 2013). An essential problem is the determination of the specimen locations inside meteorites. Many approaches to estimate a pre-atmospheric size of meteorites and shielding depths of the specimens were elaborated, which used specific regularities of various cosmogenic stable and radioactive nuclides, produced in cosmic bodies of different size and composition (Ustinova et al., 1989; Lavrukhina and Ustinova, 1990a). The most sensitive radionuclide to the size of a chondrite is 60Co (Eberhardt et al., 1963), however, the best approach to estimate shielding depths of investigated samples is the track method (measurement of the VH (very heavy) -nuclear track density), if the

cosmic-ray exposure age of the chondrite is known (Bhattacharya et al., 1973; Bhandari et al., 1980). When the track data are not available, the ratios of cosmogenic nuclides with very different depth profiles (e.g., 60 Co/26Al) may be used to estimate the sample depths and reduce some uncertainties near the surface. These estimations for the Kosˇice and Chelyabinsk chondrites are presented in Fig. 2. The density of tracks of VH-nuclei was studied in 24 and 59 olivine grains sampled from the Kosˇice and Chelyabinsk chondrites, respectively. For the Kosˇice chondrite (sample N 57) the average density of tracks of VH-nuclei was 1.5 105 cm2, which (for the exposure age of the chondrite 6 Myr (Povinec et al., 2015)) correlates (Bhattacharya et al., 1973) with the shielding depth of the sample of d  9 cm. The activity ratio 60 Co/26Al = 0.68 in that sample depth fits the pre-atmospheric size R  50 cm for the Kosˇice chondrite. The measured radionuclide data in the Kosˇice chondrite are very scattered, apparently, because of an essential deviation of its shape from the spherical one, therefore it is better to consider their average values (or the weighted values, Table 1). As follows from Fig. 2, the corresponding averaged values of 60Co/26Al correlate with sample depth of 10.5 cm and 17 cm in the Kosˇice chondrite of R  50 cm. A similar pre-atmospheric size of the Kosˇice meteorite was estimated by the Monte Carlo method (Povinec et al., 2015). Quite a different situation is demonstrated by the 60 Co/26Al ratios in the Chelyabinsk chondrite, testifying to its large size R  80  1 cm. Indeed, different methods predicted its pre-atmospheric size might be 200–1800 cm (Popova et al., 2013; Povinec et al., 2013; Nishiizumi et al., 2013). Fig. 2 shows that at R > 200 cm the

Fig. 2. Depth distributions of 60Co/26Al activity ratios in the Kosˇice and Chelyabinsk chondrites. The open circle is the ratio in sample N 57 at the depth (d = R-r) of 9 cm, estimated by the track method; the full circle and the triangle are weighted (0.79 ± 0.12) and averaged (1.25 ± 0.19) values of the ratios in 19 specimens of the Kosˇice chondrite, which correspond (for R50 cm) to the average shielding depths of (10.5 ± 1.5) cm and (16 ± 2) cm, respectively. Measured 60Co/26Al ratios in the Chelyabinsk samples (dashed horizontals), crossing the curve for R 1, pointed out to their shielding depths from the surface of a large body at 2p-geometry irradiation (dashed verticals).

Please cite this article in press as: Alexeev, V.A., et al. Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits. Adv. Space Res. (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2015.05.004

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When pre-atmospheric sizes of chondrites, location of the specimens, as well as average heliocentric distances, at which the radionuclides were produced by GCRs before the chondrite fall, are determined, we may calculate the radionuclide production rates under the same conditions inside the chondrites, but using available GCR stratospheric data at 1 AU for the same time periods (1.5 T1/2). A comparison of the measured and calculated radionuclide contents allows estimating the differences in the radionuclide production rates at various heliocentric distances along the chondrite orbits from those at 1 AU, i.e. their spatial variations in the heliosphere for various time periods (Alexeev et al., 2012). In other words, the measurement and theoretical analysis of cosmogenic radionuclides in consecutively fallen chondrites might provide a unique space–time continuum of the cosmogenic radionuclide production rates and their variation over a long time scale, which might be useful in correlative analysis of operative processes in the inner heliosphere. Acknowledgments Fig. 3. Depth distribution of 46Sc in the Kosˇice chondrite at different preatmospheric radii, which is calculated using an average GCR intensity near the Earth (stratospheric data from (Stozhkov et al., 2009)) during 125 days before the chondrite fall. The points are weighted (13.1 ± 0.8) dpm kg1 and averaged (12.6 ± 0.5) dpm kg1 measured values of 46Sc in 11 samples of the chondrite (average depths of (9.5 ± 2) cm and (17 ± 3) cm, respectively), which confirm the radius R50 cm.

production rates of radionuclides correspond to the 2p-geometry irradiation (R  1). It is seen that two groups of samples might exist: at d  10–20 cm from the surface, and at the much deeper locations (e.g. at d  70– 120 cm), which should be analyzed separately. In deep samples this correlates with the absence of tracks in > 60% of the grains; in close to surface samples the track density was 5102 cm2, which at the exposure age of the chondrite 1.2 Myr (Haba et al., 2014) corresponds to d 6 20 cm. Because the short-lived radionuclides 46Sc and 48V (produced near the Earth) were also measured in the Kosˇice chondrite, we may verify estimates of its size, calculating their depth profiles by use of the stratospheric GCR data (Stozhkov et al., 2009) for 125 and 25 days, respectively, before the chondrite fall. It is well seen for 46Sc (Fig. 3) that its average measured values fit the curve for R50 cm. A similar result demonstrates the 48V case, but uncertainties in this case are large. 3. Conclusions and further perspectives on cosmogenic radionuclides On the basis of measured and calculated contents of cosmogenic radionuclides in the freshly fallen Chelyabinsk and Kosˇice chondrites some peculiarities of generation of cosmogenic radionuclides of different half-lives in the chondrites of different orbits and dates of fall onto the Earth have been demonstrated, which helped to estimate their pre-atmospheric dimensions.

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Please cite this article in press as: Alexeev, V.A., et al. Variations of cosmogenic radionuclide production rates along the meteorite orbits. Adv. Space Res. (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2015.05.004