The catastrophic break-up of the ureilite parent body: Modeling constraints on the debris sizeOPEN ACCESS 

Andrea Patzer, Julia Kowalski, Tommaso Di Rocco, Andreas Pack

MAPS, Version of Record online: 12 March 2024


“The ureilite parent body (UPB) was, in all likelihood, completely broken apart when hit by another object early in its history and reassembled into daughter bodies. We here present a study tailored to constrain the dimensions of the impact debris produced in the catastrophic disruption. Using a customized Python code to simulate the thermal evolution of the UPB fragments, we compared the FeO profiles modeled for different depths within those fragments with those measured across the reduction rims in olivines of 12 different ureilites (n = 37). Our profile data were fitted to the theoretical cooling profiles determined with a transient thermal model. The results are coherent and consistent with earlier studies and, despite using simplified boundary conditions (fragments described as ideal spheres and maximum radiation), our data provide valuable context on possible cooling pathways of the UPB debris. In detail, we found that the average depths within the given fragments from which our samples of ureilites originated were limited to 0.3–0.4 ± 0.1 m, with only few exceptions (e.g., one highly reduced sample lacked suitable reduction profiles suggesting either a depth of origin of >2 m or shielding of this fragment from rapid cooling, e.g., due to hovering in the center of a relatively dense cloud of debris). In addition, we calculated that the cooling from 1473 to 1100 K of the average fragment at the depth of our samples took no more than 3–4 days, suggesting that the reassembly of the ureilite daughter bodies could have been a very fast process.”