Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Earliest meteorites provide new piece in planetary formation puzzle

20.09.2005


Researchers trying to understand how the planets formed have uncovered a new clue by analysing meteorites that are older than the earth.



The research shows that the process which depleted planets and meteorites of so-called volatile elements such as zinc, lead and sodium, must have been one of the first things to happen in our nebula.

The implication of this clue is that ’volatile depletion’ may be an inevitable part of planet formation - a feature not just of our Solar System, but of many other planetary systems too.


The researchers at Imperial College London reached their conclusions after analysing the composition of primitive meteorites, coal-like rocks that are older than the earth and which have barely changed since the Solar System was made up of fine dust and gas.

Their analysis, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that all the components that make up these rocks are depleted of volatile elements. This means that volatile element depletion must have occurred before the earliest solids had formed.

Dr Phil Bland, from Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, who led the research, explains: "Studying meteorites helps us to understand the initial evolution of the early Solar System, its environment, and what the material between stars is made of. Our results answer one of a huge number of questions we have about the processes that converted a nebula of fine dust and gas into planets."

For planetary scientists, the most valuable meteorites are those that are found immediately after falling to earth, and so are only minimally contaminated by the terrestrial environment. The researchers analysed around half of the approximately 45 primitive meteorite falls in existence around the world.

All of the terrestrial planets in the Solar System as far out as Jupiter, including Earth, are depleted of volatile elements. Researchers have long known that this depletion must have been an early process, but it was unknown whether it occurred at the beginning of the formation of the Solar System, or a few million years later.

Dr Phil Bland is a member of the Impacts and Astromaterials Research Centre (IARC), which combines planetary science researchers from Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum.

Laura Gallagher | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physicists edge closer to controlling chemical reactions
11.12.2018 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

nachricht UA-led OSIRIS-REx discovers water on asteroid, confirms Bennu as excellent mission target
11.12.2018 | University of Arizona

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests

11.12.2018 | Studies and Analyses

Researchers image atomic structure of important immune regulator

11.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

Physicists edge closer to controlling chemical reactions

11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>