Meteorite Monday: Chondrules

One of the great things about taking my meteorites course this term is that I’m learning a lot about the different aspects of meteorite studies and how it all ties into what we know about the origin of the solar system. It’s also giving me the opportunity to revisit previous Meteorite Monday posts and flesh out some concepts that were, at that time, beyond my comprehension.

One of the more well-studied aspects of meteorite research is the chondrule. These are one of the most telling aspects of a meteorite. In the simplest of terms, they are silicate spheres that are usually less than 1 mm in diameter and are found embedded in most ordinary chondrites.

Chondrules that have been separated from their meteorite parent body. (Image from MERGE)

For the purpose of this post I’m not going to get into chondrule formation as it’s a fairly involving topic and is deserving of more time than what I can give it. The important thing to know is that they’re considered some of the oldest material in the solar system. Isotopic dating tells us that they formed within the first 2 to 3 million years of the birth of the solar system. They were little molten droplets that were formed in the solar nebula and were heated to about 1900 C and then experienced rapid cooling. This high heat and quick cooling determined their texture and over all chemical components. They’re generally composed of either olivine or pyroxene and sometimes both minerals occur in the same chondrule.

These minerals can display some really beautiful textures. This is a picture of a chondrule with a barred olivine texture. The olivine crystals are the elongated structures and they’re set in a glassy matrix or body. I highly recommend clicking through the link as NAU has some spectacular pictures of other chondrule types and how they form.

Image from the Northern Arizona University Meteorite Laboratory

This next image is of a chondrule displaying a porphyritic texture. This is a way of describing a course grained chondrule where the olivine crystals are enclosed in pyroxene crystals.

Image from Meteorite Pages (click through for the link to the source page)

And this is one of my favorite chondrule images. These are two chondrules that collided while still molten in the solar nebula and fused together in a quick cooling process.

These two chondrules display a microcrystaline texture. (Image from Meteorite Pages. Click through for the link to the source page).

As I said earlier, there is a lot more behind chondrules and their formation that I can’t get into yet. At some point in the near future I plan on putting together a post that deals with what chondrules tell us about the early years of our solar system.

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2 thoughts on “Meteorite Monday: Chondrules

  1. Dear sir,
    I have developed a new hypothesis that petroleum is biotic in
    origin but without any involvement of has deep origin under
    the deep crust and flowing toward surface of earth.

    2.Sediments are good indicator for the possible presence of oil near
    by but no involvement to produce oil. (according to my experiments).
    there is another link between the two but no involvement to produce
    oil directly or indirectly.

    3. it is biotic and deep origin but no need of any life or becteria
    etc under the crust of earth . there are another reason it is biotic
    in origin. actually earth itself is a single living organism. so
    hydrocarbons and minerals are result of metabolic activity of earth
    only. this is very much common factor in all living things.

    4. my hypothesis is between the current biotic and abiotic theories
    and more fit.

    5. i have identified the more fine indicators other than sediments
    for the possible presence of oil near will make easy to find
    more oil.
    6. oil producing is ongoing process under the deep crust so never
    will end . we can use as much as we want.

    7. i am a business man in India without any qualification but
    observing it from last 25 years.

    8. crude oil is like a bark oil that is biotic and deep origin in the
    log of tree but not fossil fuel.

    9. i have also resolved the mystery of coal,gas and crude oil
    formation with complete mechanism. past forest fossils should be in
    coal mines but no role to form coal.

    10 there are many other visual and intelligent evidence showing that
    earth itself is a living thing like a tree. biotic origin of crude oil
    and minerals is a scientific evidence that earth itself is a living
    thing.pls observe the following links of some similarities and visual
    evidences. — Bark & Continents Core Crust Plate Tectonic 4. Meteoroids Seeds Asteroid Plant Volcano Lava bark Earth & Tree TREE BARKS Subduction Zone Pdf theory complete Safeda PLATE TECTONIC LINK

    Making Oil From Birch Bark fossil oil theory is
    not true and oil is producing in crust as this video.

    Primitive Birch Bark Oil Lamp


  2. Pingback: Meteorite Monday: The Chondrule Controversy | Glacial Till

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