Compositions of iron-meteorite parent bodies constrain the structure of the protoplanetary diskOPEN ACCESS 

Bidong Zhang, Nancy L. Chabot, and Alan E. Rubin

PNAS, Vol. 121, No. 23
28 May 28, 2024


“Magmatic iron-meteorite parent bodies are the earliest planetesimals in the Solar System, and they preserve information about conditions and planet-forming processes in the solar nebula. In this study, we include comprehensive elemental compositions and fractional-crystallization modeling for iron meteorites from the cores of five differentiated asteroids from the inner Solar System. Together with previous results of metallic cores from the outer Solar System, we conclude that asteroidal cores from the outer Solar System have smaller sizes, elevated siderophile-element abundances, and simpler crystallization processes than those from the inner Solar System. These differences are related to the formation locations of the parent asteroids because the solar protoplanetary disk varied in redox conditions, elemental distributions, and dynamics at different heliocentric distances. Using highly siderophile-element data from iron meteorites, we reconstruct the distribution of calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) across the protoplanetary disk within the first million years of Solar-System history. CAIs, the first solids to condense in the Solar System, formed close to the Sun. They were, however, concentrated within the outer disk and depleted within the inner disk. Future models of the structure and evolution of the protoplanetary disk should account for this distribution pattern of CAIs.”