Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rutgers Geologists Re-Create Solar Nebula History In The Lab

Date:
August 10, 2000
Source:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
Summary:
Using the lab bench as a time machine, a Rutgers geology grad student, a professor and a post-doc investigated processes that operated in the ancient solar system. They were able to simulate conditions under which products were formed some 4.5 billion years ago, and later incorporated into meteoroids.

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers scientists are looking back in time by using the laboratory to simulate forces at work billions of years ago in the solar system. In a paper appearing in the Aug. 10 issue of the journal Nature, Rutgers geology graduate student Bosmat Cohen, a resident of New Brunswick, and her Rutgers geology colleagues describe how they re-created conditions that existed at the time when the solar system was born.

"We created a mixture matching the dust out in the solar system, containing familiar elements such as iron, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, sodium, calcium and oxygen," said Cohen. "We wanted to find out how solar dust was melted and formed into chondrules, the small spherical droplets often found in meteorites. Our experiments in the lab, re-creating the physical and chemical processes responsible for chondrule formation, have enabled us to deduce more of what actually took place when the solar system was young, expanding our understanding and our knowledge."

Chondrules were created in the solar nebula, the gaseous cloud that gave rise to our solar system, during an event of intense heat early in the history of the solar system. While the exact timing of this event is uncertain, Cohen notes that these chondrules coalesced, forming asteroids about 4.5 billion years ago, which went on to contribute to meteoroids.

The authors explain that chondrules have a variety of chemical compositions. Some are rich in magnesium while others have a significant presence of iron; both types vary in silica content. However, most chondrules are similar in texture and character, appearing as a porphyry -- large crystals in a distinctly finer grain or glassy matrix.

To achieve this uniform appearance, each chemically different chondrule would have had to have been exposed to a different "just-right" temperature – a highly unlikely scenario. Suspect origins for the heating, such as solar flares or impact-induced shock waves, would all have produced about the same temperature.

Seeking a more logical explanation of the mechanisms that came into play, the investigators held temperature constant and varied the duration of the heat exposure. Using a vacuum furnace to replicate the conditions of chondrule formation (1,580 degrees centigrade in a low pressure/low oxygen environment), the samples of the simulated solar dust were subjected for different lengths of time (from one to 18 hours).

The resulting products or residues displayed the range of compositions parallel to what is found in nature while they all showed the characteristic porphyry-like appearance of chondrules. "We were able to observe minerals dissolving, elements evaporating and crystals forming, providing more precise information on the processes taking place," said Cohen.

The paper in Nature is titled "Evaporation in the Young Solar Nebula as the Origin of ‘Just-Right' Melting of Chondrules," by Cohen, Rutgers geology Professor Roger H. Hewins and Yang Yu, a former postdoctoral geology fellow at Rutgers. Journalists can view the paper prior to publication at http://press.nature.com/.

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Bosmat Cohen, department of geology at Rutgers, can be reached for interviews at (732) 445-2044 or 445-1013, or via e-mail at bosmat@eden.rutgers.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Rutgers Geologists Re-Create Solar Nebula History In The Lab." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802150052.htm>.
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. (2000, August 10). Rutgers Geologists Re-Create Solar Nebula History In The Lab. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802150052.htm
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Rutgers Geologists Re-Create Solar Nebula History In The Lab." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802150052.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins