1 Natural History Museum of Denmark, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Geological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet3 Education Board, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet4 Victoria University of Wellington5 Geological Institute6 Geologisk Museum, Københavns Universitet7 Victoria University of Wellington8 Natural History Museum of Denmark, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
Long- and short-lived radioactive isotopes and their daughter products in meteorites are chronometers that can test models for Solar System formation. Differentiated meteorites come from parent bodies that were once molten and separated into metal cores and silicate mantles. Mineral ages for these meteorites, however, are typically younger than age constraints for planetesimal differentiation. Such young ages indicate that the energy required to melt their parent bodies could not have come from the most likely heat source-radioactive decay of short-lived nuclides (Al and Fe) injected from a nearby supernova-because these would have largely decayed by the time of melting. Here we report an age of 4.5662 ± 0.0001 billion years (based on Pb-Pb dating) for basaltic angrites, which is only 1 Myr younger than the currently accepted minimum age of the Solar System and corresponds to a time when Al and Fe decay could have triggered planetesimal melting. Small Mg excesses in bulk angrite samples confirm that Al decay contributed to the melting of their parent body. These results indicate that the accretion of differentiated planetesimals pre-dated that of undifferentiated planetesimals, and reveals the minimum Solar System age to be 4.5695 ± 0.0002 billion years.