Refractory Minerals in Interplanetary Dust

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Science  31 Oct 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4776, pp. 590-592
DOI: 10.1126/science.234.4776.590


A newly studied interplanetary dust particle contains a unique set of minerals that closely resembles assemblages in the refractory, calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. The set of minerals includes diopside, magnesium- aluminum spinel, anorthite, perovskite, and fassaite. Only fassaite has previously been identified in interplanetary dust particles. Diopside and spinel occur in complex symplectic intergrowths that may have formed by a reaction between condensed melilite and the solar nebula gas. The particle represents a new link between interplanetary dust particles and carbonaceous chondrites; however, the compositions of its two most abundant refractory phases, diopside and spinel, differ in detail from corresponding minerals in calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions.