Tracing the history of an unusual compound presolar grain from progenitor star to asteroid parent body hostOPEN ACCESS 

Sheryl A. Singerling, Larry R. Nittler, Jens Barosch, Elena Dobrica, Adrian J. Brearley, Rhonda M. Stroud

Accepted for publication in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta on January 17, 2023


“We conducted a TEM study of an unusual oxide-silicate composite presolar grain (F2-8) from the unequilibrated ordinary chondrite Semarkona. The presolar composite grain is relatively large, has an amoeboidal shape, and contains Mg-rich olivine, Mg-Al spinel, and Ca-rich pyroxene. The shape and phase assemblage are reminiscent of amoeboid-olivine-aggregates and add to the growing number of TEM observations of presolar refractory inclusion-like (CAIs and AOAs) grains. In addition to the dominant components, F2-8 also contains multiple subgrains, including an alabandite-oldhamite composite grain within the olivine and several magnetite subgrains within the Mg-Al spinel. We argue that the olivine, Mg-Al spinel, and alabandite-oldhamite formed by equilibrium condensation, whereas the Ca-rich pyroxene formed by non-equilibrium condensation, all in an M-type AGB star envelope. On the other hand, the magnetite subgrains are likely the result of aqueous alteration on the Semarkona asteroidal parent body. Additional evidence of secondary processing includes Fe-enrichment in the Mg-Al spinel and olivine, elevated Al contents in the olivine, and beam sensitivity and a modulated structure for the olivine. Compound presolar grains record condensation conditions over a wide range of temperatures. Additionally, the presence of several different presolar phases in a composite grain can impart information on the relative rates and effects of post-condensation processing in a range of environments, including the interstellar medium, solar nebula, and the host asteroid parent body. The TEM observations of F2-8 provide insights across the lifetime of the grain from its formation by condensation in an M-type AGB star envelope, its transit through the interstellar medium, and aqueous alteration during its residence on Semarkona’s asteroidal parent body.”