Beyond Equilibrium: Kinetic Isotope Fractionation in High-Temperature Environments

Igneous and metamorphic rocks exhibit greater isotopic heterogeneity than expected from equilibrium. Large nonequilibrium isotope effects can arise from diffusion and chemical reactions, such as crystal growth and dissolution. The effects are time-dependent and can, therefore, be used to probe timescales of igneous and metamorphic processes that are inaccessible to direct observation. New discoveries of isotopic variability in nature, informed by diffusion and reaction modeling, can provide unique insights into the formation of rocks in the interiors of planetary bodies.

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