Large-Scale Thermal Events in the Solar Nebula: Evidence from Fe,Ni Metal Grains in Primitive Meteorites

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Science  05 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5467, pp. 839-841
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5467.839

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Chemical zoning patterns in some iron, nickel metal grains from CH carbonaceous chondrites imply formation at temperatures from 1370 to 1270 kelvin by condensation from a solar nebular gas cooling at a rate of ∼0.2 kelvin per hour. This cooling rate requires a large-scale thermal event in the nebula, in contrast to the localized, transient heating events inferred for chondrule formation. In our model, mass accretion through the protoplanetary disk caused large-scale evaporation of precursor dust near its midplane inside of a few astronomical units. Gas convectively moved from the midplane to cooler regions above it, and the metal grains condensed in these parcels of rising gas.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: meibom{at}

  • Present address: Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Building 320, Lomita Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-2115, USA.

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