Arizona State University researchers have recently conducted a series of laboratory examinations into the magnetic fields within the grains of an primeval, 1.5-pound meteorite. The team of researchers revealed that the meteorite, formed about 4.5 billion years ago, might provide clues how the solar system first created.
The study is published in the Science journal on 13th Nov. Roger Fu, the lead author of the study and a graduate student of MIT, working under Benjamin Weiss. Steve Desch is the co-author of the study from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.
“Shock waves moving with the cloud of dusty gas round the sun seemed to be a significant component in solar system’s formation.”
The Arizona State University press release states, “Even though the solar system is thought to become created around 4.5 billion years back, the development process left lots of construction debris behind.” One of the most helpful pieces of debris would be the earliest kinds of meteorites, known as the chondrites, which haven’t transformed much since they created at the birth of the solar system. Chondrites are made mainly from small stony grains, known as chondrules which are barely a millimeter in diameter.
“Chondrules themselves created through quick melting events within the dusty gas cloud — the solar nebula — that encircled the young sun. As chondrules cooled, iron-bearing minerals within them became magnetized like bits on the hard disk through the local magnetic field in the gas. These magnetic fields are maintained within the chondrules even down to the current day,” researchers said.
“The study authors plotted the magnetic fields of the chondrule grains that originated from a meteorite named Semarkona — a space rock weighing around 1 ½ pound that fell in India in 1940. Researchers discovered that the meteorite were built with a magnetic area, much like that at Earth’s surface,” as per the release.
Desch stated within the statement, “The recent experiments probe magnetic minerals in chondrules were never measured before. Moreover, they reveal that each chondrule is magnetized just like a little bar magnet, however, with ‘north’ pointing in random directions.”
This explains they became magnetized before these were built in the meteorite, not while located on Earth’s surface, Desch said.
“My modeling for the heating events shows that shock waves passing through the solar nebula is melted most chondrules. The background magnetic field could be amplified by up to 30 times, depending on the strength and size of the shock wave,” Desch explains.