A unified intensity of the magnetic field in the protoplanetary disk from the Winchcombe meteoriteOPEN ACCESS 

James F. J. Bryson, Claire I. O. Nichols, Conall Mac Niocaill

Version of Record online: 19 September 2023


“One key feature of our protoplanetary disk that shaped its transformation into a system of planetary bodies was its vast magnetic field. Unique constraints on the properties of this field can be gleaned from paleomagnetic measurements of certain meteorites. Here, we apply this approach to the recent CM chondrite fall Winchcombe with the aim of constructing the most complete and reliable record to date of the behavior of the disk field in the outer solar system. We find that the interior of Winchcombe carries a stable, pre-terrestrial magnetization that likely dates from the period of aqueous alteration of the CM chondrite parent body. This remanence corresponds to a paleointensity of 31 ± 17 μT accounting for the average effect of parent body rotation. Winchcombe is rich in framboids and plaquettes of magnetite, which formed via precipitation following the dissolution of iron sulfide. This contrasts with most other CM chondrites, where magnetite formed predominantly via pseudomorphic replacement of FeNi metal. Accounting for the potential differences in recording fidelities of these types of magnetite, we find that the reported paleointensities from all CM chondrites to date are likely underestimates of the disk field intensity in the outer solar system, and use our measurements to calculate a unified intensity estimate of ~78 μT. This paleointensity is consistent with two independent values from recent studies, which collectively argue that the disk field could have played a larger role in shaping the behavior of the disk in the outer solar system than previously considered.”