Oxygen isotopic compositions of fresh rooftop micrometeorites from the Budel collection—Insights into the contemporary cosmic dust fluxOPEN ACCESS 

Guido Jonker, Flore van Maldeghem, Matthias van Ginneken, Lisa Krämer Ruggiu, Steven Goderis

MAPS, Version of Record online: 06 February 2024


“Cosmic dust particles originate from a wide variety of solar system and interstellar objects, including sources not identified among meteorite collections. Particles that survive atmospheric entry are retrieved on the Earth’s surface as micrometeorites. The recovery of these micrometeorites has recently advanced to rooftop sites. Here, we present the results of an extensive isotopic study on this type of rooftop micrometeorite from the Budel collection, the Netherlands, accreted to the Earth between October 31, 2018 and June 16, 2021. The triple oxygen isotopic compositions of 80 silica-dominated cosmic spherules (CSs) with diameters ranging between 105 and 515 μm are obtained relying on 213 in situ spot analyses determined using ion microprobe. Our analyzed population spans a large range of isotopic compositions and is dominated by carbonaceous chondritic sources. In situ measurements on several CSs support a possible continuum between 16O-rich and 16O-poor compositions following the CM mixing line, showing that 16O-poor CSs may be genetically related to aqueously altered carbonaceous chondrites. We demonstrate that weathering in the terrestrial environment has negligible effects on the isotopic compositions of the studied CSs and attempt to quantify the effects of kinetic mass-dependent fractionation and admixture of terrestrial oxygen during atmospheric entry. The results further corroborate previously suggested relations between CS texture and the duration and intensity of the heating pulse experienced during atmospheric deceleration. Finally, the young and well-constrained terrestrial age of the collection provides insights into the most recent flux of cosmic dust. Our results indicate no major recent changes in the global flux compared with collections sampled over thousand- to million-year time scales and demonstrate that 16O-poor material is still represented in the modern-day cosmic dust flux at a relative abundance of ~13%–15%. As such, rooftop micrometeorites represent a valuable reservoir to study the characteristics of the contemporary cosmic dust flux.”