Unraveling the role of liquids during chondrule formation processes

Maria Eugenia Varela, Ernst Zinner

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 12 May 2017


“The process/es involved in chondrule formation cover a wide range of mechanisms whose nature is still unknown. Our attention is focused on solar nebula processes mainly in untangling the origin of the initial liquid droplets that turn into chondrules. To do this, we start deciphering the processes under which the chondritic constituents of glass-rich, PO and POP chondrules from the Unequilibrated Ordinary Chondrite (UOC) Tieschitz L/H3.6 could have been formed. One constituent is the initial refractory liquid. This chilled liquid, presented as primary glass inclusions in olivine or as glass mesostasis, has trace element abundances with unfractionated patterns and lacks the chemical signature that is expected from a geochemical (liquid-crystal) fractionation. The unfractionated crystal-liquid distribution coefficients observed in the glass-rich, PO and POP chondrules indicate that formation of these objects was not dominated by an igneous process. In addition, the good correlation of elements with different geochemical and cosmochemical properties (e.g., Yb and La-Ce) that spread around the primordial ratio, indicate that a cosmochemical (condensation) instead of a geochemical process may have been involved in the origin of this refractory liquid. We end up discussing a secondary process: the alkali-Ca exchange reaction that could have taken place within a cooling nebula at sub-solidus temperatures. The extent to which these solid/gas exchange reactions took place will determine the final composition of the chondrules.”