Selective Disparity of Ordinary Chondritic Precursors in Micrometeorite Flux

N. G. Rudraswami1, D. Fernandes1, A. K. Naik1, M. Shyam Prasad1, J. D. Carrillo-Sánchez2, J. M. C. Plane2, W. Feng2,3, and S. Taylor4
Astrophysical Journal 853, 38 Link to Article [DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aaa5f7]
1National Institute of Oceanography (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Dona Paula, Goa 403004, India
2School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
3NCAS, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
4Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, 72 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH 03755–1290, USA

All known extraterrestrial dust (micrometeoroids) entering the Earth’s atmosphere is anticipated to have a significant contribution from ordinary chondritic precursors, as seen in meteorites, but this is an apparent contradiction that needs to be addressed. Ordinary chondrites represent a minor contribution to the overall meteor influx compared to carbonaceous chondrites, which are largely dominated by CI and/or CM chondrites. However, the near-Earth asteroid population presents a scenario with sufficient scope for generation of dust-sized debris from ordinary chondritic sources. The bulk chemical composition of 3255 micrometeorites (MMs) collected from Antarctica and deep-sea sediments has shown Mg/Si largely dominated by carbonaceous chondrites, and less than 10% having ordinary chondritic precursors. The chemical ablation model is combined with different initial chondritic compositions (CI, CV, L, LL, H), and the results clearly indicate that high-density (≥2.8 g cm−3) precursors, such as CV and ordinary chondrites in the size range 100–700 μm and zenith angle 0°–70°, ablate at much faster rates and lose their identity even before reaching the Earth’s surface and hence are under-represented in our collections. Moreover, their ability to survive as MMs remains grim for high-velocity micrometeoroids (>16 km s−1). The elemental ratio for CV and ordinary chondrites are also similar to each other irrespective of the difference in the initial chemical composition. In conclusion, MMs belonging to ordinary chondritic precursors’ concentrations may not be insignificant in thermosphere, as they are found on Earth’s surface.

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