Adsorption of noble gases into solids is often posited to account for their abundance patterns in meteorites, terrestrial rocks, and planetary atmospheres. Since these elements present isotope variations among geochemical reservoirs, we have experimentally tested the possibility that adsorption of neutral noble gases could result in isotopic fractionation. Our experiment consists of a cycle of adsorption/desorption processes in which xenon is progressively lost from a reservoir by equilibrium adsorption on kerogen and on montmorillonite. Any isotopic fractionation would then be amplified by the Rayleigh-like distillation experiment. The fractionation factors α are extrapolated to be −0.18‰ ± 0.08‰ per u and −0.22‰ ± 0.07‰ per u (both at the 2σ level) for kerogen and montmorillonite, respectively. Thus, adsorption of neutral noble gases alone cannot account for the specific isotopic composition of noble gases trapped in meteorites, nor for the isotopic composition of xenon in the terrestrial and martian atmospheres.
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