Calcium–aluminum-rich inclusions in non-carbonaceous chondrites: Abundances, sizes, and mineralogyOPEN ACCESS 

E. T. Dunham, A. Sheikh, D. Opara, N. Matsuda, M.-C. Liu, K. D. McKeegan

MAPS, Version of Record online: 12 May 2023


“As the Sun was forming, calcium–aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) were the first rocks to have condensed in the hottest regions of the solar nebula disk. Carbonaceous chondrites (CCs) contain abundant CAIs but are thought to have accreted in the outer Solar System, requiring that CAIs must have been transported outward. Curiously, CAIs are rare in ordinary, enstatite, rumuruti, and kakangari chondrites, non-carbonaceous chondrites (NCs), that likely formed in the inner Solar System. Thus, CAI abundances and characteristics can provide constraints on the early dynamical evolution of the disk. In this work, we address whether the hypothesis of an early-formed proto-Jupiter “opening a gap” in the disk can explain the dichotomy in the relative abundance of CAIs in CC and NC chondrites. We searched 76 NC meteorite sections to find 232 CAIs which have an average apparent diameter of 46 μm and comprise 0.01 area%, about half the size of and ~200 times less abundant than CC CAIs on average. Unlike CC CAIs, only 4% of the NC CAIs contain melilite and most contain alteration features suggesting that NC CAIs underwent pervasive fluid-assisted thermal metamorphism on asteroidal parent bodies. However, based on NC CAI populations correlating with meteorite metamorphic grade, we argue that disk dynamics is likely the primary reason behind the existence of small (<100 μm) and rare NC CAIs. Our data support astrophysical models which suggest that, after outward transport of CAIs, formation of a gap in the disk trapped CAIs in the outer Solar System.”