The University of Arizona

Three-dimensional structures and elemental distributions of Stardust impact tracks using synchrotron microtomography and X-ray fluorescence analysis

A. TSUCHIYAMA, T. NAKAMURA, T. OKAZAKI, K. UESUGI, T. NAKANO, K. SAKAMOTO, T. AKAKI, Y. IIDA, T. KADONO, K. JOGO, Y. SUZUKI

Abstract


Three-dimensional structures and elemental abundances of four impact tracks in silica aerogel keystones of Stardust samples from comet 81P/Wild 2 (bulbous track 67 and carrot-type tracks 46, 47, and 68) were examined non-destructively by synchrotron radiation-based microtomography and X-ray fluorescence analysis. Track features, such as lengths, volumes and width as a function of track depth, were obtained quantitatively by tomography. A bulbous portion was present near the track entrance even in carrot-type tracks. Each impact of a cometary dust particle results in the particle disaggregated into small pieces that were widely distributed on the track walls as well as at its terminal. Fe, S, Ca, Ni, and eight minor elements are concentrated in the bulbous portion of track 68 as well as in terminal grains. It was confirmed that bulbous portions and thin tracks were formed by disaggregation of very fine fragile materials and relatively coarse crystalline particles, respectively. The almost constant ratio of whole Fe mass to track volume indicates that the track volume is almost proportional to the impact kinetic energy. The size of the original impactor was estimated from the absolute Fe mass by assuming its Fe content (CI) and bulk density. Relations between the track sizes normalized by the impactor size and impact conditions are roughly consistent with those of previous hypervelocity impact experiments.

Keywords


cometary Dust;Tomography;Impact track;XRF

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