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    Ureilite meteorites provide a new model of early planetesimal formation and destruction

    Rai, N. and Downes, Hilary and Smith, C. (2020) Ureilite meteorites provide a new model of early planetesimal formation and destruction. Geochemical Perspectives Letters 14 , pp. 20-25. ISSN 2410-339X.

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    Ureilite meteorites are ultramafic rocks derived from parts of the depleted silicate mantle of their parent planetesimal. We used Monte Carlo modelling to explain the observed array of oxygen isotopes and major element chemistry shown by bulk ureilites, after restoration of their missing core and silicate melt components. Despite using a wide range of primitive nebular material, our modelling shows that only a combination of proxy material resembling Allende-type FeO-rich and MgO-rich chondrules, can account for the ureilite oxygen isotope trend and the reconstructed ureilite major element chemistry. Our model predicts formation of a radial gradient in major elements and oxygen isotopes within the planetesimal, with a more Mg-rich silicate interior and a more Fe-rich silicate exterior. Temperatures recorded by ureilites were not high enough to form a magma ocean but were sufficiently high to form a metallic core and silicate melts. The ureilite parent planetesimal was then disrupted by impact. Re-accretion of the outer layers of more Fe-rich silicate material, at the expense of the more MgO-rich material and the core, explains the observed distribution of bulk rock and mineral compositions.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): planetesimal, ureilites, planetary differentiation, oxygen isotopes, geochemistry, thermochemical evolution, modelling
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2020 17:08
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:00


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