The dissipation of the solar nebula constrained by impacts and core cooling in planetesimals

Alison C. Hunt, Karen J. Theis, Mark Rehkämper, Gretchen K. Benedix, Rasmus Andreasen & Maria Schönbächler

Nature Astronomy
Published: 23 May 2022


“Rapid cooling of planetesimal cores has been inferred for several iron meteorite parent bodies on the basis of metallographic cooling rates, and linked to the loss of their insulating mantles during impacts. However, the timing of these disruptive events is poorly constrained. Here, we used the short-lived 107Pd–107Ag decay system to date rapid core cooling by determining Pd–Ag ages for iron meteorites. We show that closure times for the iron meteorites equate to cooling in the time frame ~7.8–11.7 Myr after calcium–aluminium-rich inclusion formation, and that they indicate that an energetic inner Solar System persisted at this time. This probably results from the dissipation of gas in the protoplanetary disk, after which the damping effect of gas drag ceases. An early giant planet instability between 5 and 14 Myr after calcium–aluminium-rich inclusion formation could have reinforced this effect. This correlates well with the timing of impacts recorded by the Pd–Ag system for iron meteorites.”