Various Size-sorting Processes for Millimeter-sized Particles in the Sun’s Protoplanetary Disk? Evidence from Chondrules in Ordinary Chondrites

1K. Metzler,2D. C. Hezel,3J. Nellesen
The Astrophysical Journal 887, 230 Link to Article [DOI
https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab58d0]
1Institut für Planetologie, University of Münster, Wilhelm-Klemm-Str. 10, D-48149 Münster, Germany
2Institut für Geologie und Mineralogie, University of Cologne, Zülpicher Straße 49a, D-50674 Köln, Germany
3Fakultät Maschinenbau, Technische Universität Dortmund, Leonhard-Euler-Str. 2, D-44227 Dortmund, Germany

Chondrules are approximately millimeter-sized beads of crystallized silicate melt. They formed mainly in the first ~3 Ma of the Sun’s protoplanetary disk and are the main constituents of chondritic asteroids. Here we report on the size–frequency distributions (2D and 3D) of chondrules in the brecciated ordinary chondrite (OC) Northwest Africa (NWA) 5205. We investigated three large (centimeter- to decimeter-sized) chondritic lithic clasts of a particular textural type (“cluster chondrite”) with eye-catching different chondrule sizes. One clast shows the largest mean chondrule size (~1.5 mm) ever measured in a chondrite. As in the other OCs, we find a positive correlation between the minimum and mean chondrule size, which we consider as an argument for chondrule size sorting. Chondrule size–frequency distributions in the clasts are distinctly more symmetric than the about log-normal distributions in other OCs. Furthermore, we find a co-enrichment of chondrule types with a priori small mean sizes (type I, porphyritic) in clasts with overall small mean chondrule sizes. We consider this as the fingerprint of an additional/second size-sorting process, which acted later on these chondrule populations. This process possibly subdivided a typical LL-type chondrule population into several subpopulations with different mean chondrule sizes. We speculate that this second sorting occurred in a unidirectional gas stream or headwind, e.g., by settling of chondrules through an asteroidal atmosphere or interaction with an expanding impact plume. Possibly, fine-grained matrix was almost completely removed by this, and the size-sorted chondrule subpopulations accreted in a hot state separately in different regions of the asteroid.

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