Major and trace element geochemistry of S-type cosmic spherules.

Rudraswami, N. G., Shyam Prasad, M., Babu, E. V. S. S. K. and Vijaya Kumar, T.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12618


“Micrometeorites that pass through the Earth’s atmosphere undergo changes in their chemical compositions, thereby making it difficult to understand if they are sourced from the matrix, chondrules, or calcium–aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs). These components have the potential to provide evidence toward the understanding of the early solar nebular evolution. The variations in the major element and trace element compositions of 155 different type (scoriaceous, relict bearing, porphyritic, barred, cryptocrystalline, and glass) of S-type cosmic spherules are investigated with the intent to decipher the parent sources using electron microprobe and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The S-type cosmic spherules appear to show a systematic depletion in volatile element contents, but have preserved their refractory trace elements. The trends in their chemical compositions suggest that the S-type spherules comprise of components from similar parent bodies, that is, carbonaceous chondrites. Large fosteritic relict grains observed in this investigation appear to be related to the fragments of chondrules from carbonaceous chondrites. Furthermore, four spherules (two of these spherules enclose spinels and one comprised entirely of a Ca-Al-rich plagioclase) show enhanced trace element enrichment patterns that are drastically different from all the other 151 cosmic spherules. The information on the chemical composition and rare earth elements (REEs) on cosmic spherules suggest that the partially to fully melted ones can preserve evidences related to their parent bodies. The Ce, Eu, and Tm anomalies found in the cosmic spherules have similar behavior as that of chondrites. Distinct correlations observed between different REEs and types of cosmic spherules reflect the inherited properties of the precursors.”