The University of Arizona

A condensation model for the formation of chondrules in enstatite chondrites



It is proposed that the chondrules in enstatite chondrites formed near the Sun from rain-like supercooled liquid silicate droplets and condensed Fe-Ni alloys in thermodynamic equilibrium with a slowly cooling nebula. FeO formed and dissolved in the droplets in an initial stage when the nucleation of iron was blocked, and was later mostly reduced to unalloyed Fe. At high temperatures, the silicate droplets contained high concentrations of the less volatile components CaO and Al2O3. At somewhat lower temperatures the equilibrium MgO content of the droplets was relatively high. As cooling progressed, some droplets gravitated toward the Sun, and moved in other directions, depleting the region in CaO, Al2O3, and MgO and accounting for the relatively low observed CaO/SiO2, Al2O3/ SiO2, and MgO/SiO2 ratios in enstatite chondrites. At approximately 1400 K, the remaining supercooled silicate droplets crystallized to form MgSiO3 (enstatite) with small amounts of olivine and a high-SiO2 liquid phase which became the mesostases. The high enstatite content is the result of the supercooled chondrules crystallizing at a relatively low temperature and relatively high total pressure. Finally, FeS formed at temperatures below 680 K by reaction of the condensed Fe with H2S. All calculations were performed with the evaluated optimized thermodynamic databases of the FactSage thermodynamic computer system. The thermodynamic properties of compounds and solutions in these databases were optimized completely independently of any meteoritic data. Agreement of the model with observed bulk and phase compositions of enstatite chondrules is very good and is generally within experimental error limits for all components and phases.


Chondrule formation;Chondrule origin(s;Pyroxene

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