Collisions and compositional variability in chondrule-forming events

Emmanuel Jacquet

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 8 January 2021

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“Compound chondrules, i.e. chondrules fused together, make a powerful probe of the density and compositional diversity in chondrule-forming environments, but their abundance among the dominating porphyritic textures may have been drastically underestimated. I report herein microscopic observations and LA-ICP-MS analyses of lobate chondrules in the CO3 chondrites Miller Range 07193 and 07342. Lobes in a given chondrule show correlated volatile and moderately volatile element abundances but refractory element concentrations are essentially independent. This indicates that they formed by the collision of preexisting droplets whose refractory elements behaved in closed system, while their more volatile elements were buffered by the same gaseous medium. The presence of lobes would otherwise be difficult to explain, as surface tension should have rapidly imposed a spherical shape at the temperature peak. In fact, since most chondrules across chondrite groups are nonspherical, a majority are probably compounds variously relaxed toward sphericity. The lack of correlation of refractory elements between conjoined compound chondrule components is inconsistent with derivation of chondrules from the disruption of homogenized melt bodies as in impact scenarios and evokes rather the melting of independent mm-size nebular aggregates. Yet a “nebular” setting for chondrule formation would need to involve not only increased solid concentration, e.g. by settling to the midplane, but also a boost in relative velocities between droplets during chondrule-forming events to account for observed compound chondrule frequencies .”