The University of Arizona

Conditions in the protoplanetary disk as seen by the type B CAIs

Frank M. Richter, Ruslan A. Mendybaev, Andrew M. Davis


Type B coarse-grained calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) are the oldest known materials to have formed in the solar system and are a unique source of information regarding conditions and processes in the protoplanetary disk around the young sun. Recent experimental results on the crystallization and evaporation of type B-like silicate melts allow us to place the following constraints on the conditions in the protoplanetary disk during the formation of type B CAIs. 1) Once type B CAIs precursors have been condensed from a solar composition gas, they were reheated at 1250-1450 °C, as is indicated by their igneous texture. 2) The melilite mantles characteristic of type B1 CAIs could be formed by crystallization of magnesium- and silicon-depleted melt in the outer part of the partially molten droplets. Such depletion can arise when evaporation is fast compared to chemical diffusion in the melt. This requires the pressure of the surrounding solar composition gas to be at least 10^(-4) bars during the initial crystallization of melilite mantle. Type B2 CAIs with uniform distribution of melilite are expected to form at pressures less than 10^(-5) bars. 3) Evaporation calculations are used to place bounds on the thermal history of the type B CAIs. Observed compositional zoning in melilite suggests that the temperatures in the protoplanetary disk where the type B CAIs resided after crystallization could not have exceeded ~1000 °C for more than a few tens of thousands of years. A recent calculation of the physical conditions associated with nebular shocks produced transient temperatures and gas pressures very much like what we find is required to melt reasonable CAI precursors and evaporate these sufficiently quickly to make a type B1 CAI.


Solar nebula;Melilite;Evaporation;Calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs)

Full Text: