Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crystals On Meteorite Reveal Clues To Early Solar System Evolution

Date:
August 4, 2007
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
A new study has uncovered tiny zircon crystals in a meteorite originating from Vesta (a large asteroid between Mars and Jupiter) shedding light on the formation of planetesimals, small astronomical objects that form the basis of planets. To date, studying zircons in eucrites -- meteorites formed by volcanic activity -- has been difficult due to impact- induced fracturing and their small size, typically less than five microns.

To date, studying zircons in eucrites – meteorites formed by volcanic activity – has been difficult due to impact- induced fracturing and their small size, typically less than five microns. Most eucrites are formed within the asteroid belt that orbits Mars and Jupiter, a heap of astronomical debris from the earliest epoch of the solar system. In a study published in the recent issue of Science, researchers collected samples from eucrites found in Antarctica believed to have originated from Vesta. The researchers used new technology to reveal that asteroid’s boiling rock turned solid and crystallized within less than 10 million years of solar system formation.

samples from eucrites found in Antarctica believed to have originated from Vesta. The researchers used new technology to reveal that asteroid’s boiling rock turned solid and crystallized within less than 10 million years of solar system formation.

“Until now we have not been able to determine this time frame unambiguously,” says lead author Professor Gopalan Srinivasan of U of T’s Department of Geology. “By pinpointing the timeframe we’re able to add one more piece to the geological and historical map of our solar system.”

Scientists believe that at some point Vesta was quickly heated and then melted into a metallic and silicate core, a similar process that happened on the Earth. The energy for this process was released from the radioactive decay that was present in abundance in the early solar system. What has been unclear is when this process occurred.

Equipped with the ion microprobe at the Swedish National Museum, Srinivasan and colleagues from four institutions set to analyze the zircons in the eucrites, which formed when a radioactive element – hafnium-182 – was still alive. Radioactive hafnium-182 decays to another element – tungsten-182 – with a nearly 9 million year half-life span. By studying zircons for their 182 tungsten abundance, the researchers were able to determine the crystallization ages of eucrites occurred within that timeframe.

“Zircons on Earth and in space have basically the same characteristics,” Srinivasan says. “They occur when boiling rock crystallizes and turns into solid form primary crystallization products or they could be secondary products caused by heating from impacts. We know Vesta became inactive within first 10 million years of solar system formation which is nearly 4.5 billion years ago. This provides a snapshot of the early solar system and clues to the early evolution of Earth’s mantle and core.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Crystals On Meteorite Reveal Clues To Early Solar System Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070803140904.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2007, August 4). Crystals On Meteorite Reveal Clues To Early Solar System Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070803140904.htm
University Of Toronto. "Crystals On Meteorite Reveal Clues To Early Solar System Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070803140904.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Scientists say when the moon was young, it was deformed by the Earth's gravitational pull, which gave it a lemon-like shape. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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