Scientists find liquid water inside a meteorite, revealing clues about the early solar system

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Sutter’s Mill meteorite is a well studied and reported on meteorite. The article like some others reports it likely originated near or out past Jupiter location and migrated inwards towards Earth before it hit. Here is something I find very interesting about the dating methods and migration reports.

I note this about the cosmic ray exposure age obtained for Sutter's Mill meteorite. Exposure history of the Sutter's Mill carbonaceous chondrite, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014M&PS...49.2056N/abstract, November 2014. "The Sutter's Mill (SM) carbonaceous chondrite fell in California on April 22, 2012. The cosmogenic radionuclide data indicate that Sutter's Mill was exposed to cosmic rays for 0.082 ± 0.008 Myr, which is one of the shortest ages for C chondrites, but overlaps with a small cluster at approximately 0.1 Myr...The presence of SCR-produced nuclides is consistent with the high SCR fluxes observed during the last few months before the meteorite's fall, when its orbit was less than 1 AU from the Sun."

I find it fascinating how the age dating methods work and how reconciliation methods for a meteorite like this can be reported to fit with the solar nebula model and 4.6 billion years old solar system. This includes the object migrating from outside Jupiter's orbit where the parent body originally formed with water and over billions of years, later arrives on Earth with a very young CRE age. All of this interpretation and methodology reconciles *all* with the early solar system and accretion disk that is said to form the planets apparently. The heliocentric solar system requires many millions or more revolutions around the Sun too remaining stable for such long time spans.

When it comes to the origin of Earth's water abundance, other reports favor pebble accretion, e.g. Long-awaited review reveals journey of water from interstellar clouds to habitable worlds, https://phys.org/news/2021-04-long-awaited-reveals-journey-interstellar-clouds.html

The Milky Way may be swarming with planets with oceans and continents like here on Earth, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210222192839.htm

Concerning measuring the age and water abundance of meteorites from other solar systems, do we have any to compare with our meteorite samples tested? Example, 55 Cnc with 5 exoplanets, TRAPPIST-1 with 7, Tau Ceti with 4 exoplanets, etc. Apparently not.
 
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There may be no better story about formation of star systems than that of water. The moons of Jupiter are believed to have a great deal of water. Europa seems to have more water than here on Earth. Jupiter would have baked-off its water, however. Uranus and Neptune are likely ice (including water) cores.

Mars would have needed a 2 bar atmosphere for liquid water, which seems unlikely, so it seems it would have had an early history closer to the Sun.

Even lunar rocks, using advanced testing, has revealed the Moon also has water in rocks. This is contrary to the earliest tests in the 70s.

The deuterium ratio seems to be important to follow when it comes to how Earth got its water. Early ratios were not that favorable for much water coming from meteoroids and asteroids, but subsequent evidence, I think, has increased that amount.

It would be interesting to learn what ratio exists in this meteorite.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
"They used microscopy techniques to look at the fragments and noticed a tiny calcite crystal harboring an even smaller (think nanoscale) liquid containing at least 15% carbon dioxide. This finding confirmed that both liquid water and also carbon dioxide can exist in ancient space rocks. "

This may be entirely irrelevant because of temperature, but the 3 components were found on the LHS side of the reversible (as stated in text) equation. . . . . . . . . . . . .
ambient carbon dioxide, due to its acidity, has a slight solubilizing effect on calcite. The overall reaction is

CaCO + 3(s) + H2O + CO2(aq) → Ca2+(aq) + 2HCO−3(aq)"

Note: Sorry the equation is difficult to post correctly - please see original.

"If the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide drops, the reaction reverses to precipitate calcite. As a result, calcite can be either dissolved by groundwater or precipitated by groundwater, depending on such factors as the water temperature, pH, and dissolved ion concentrations."
 
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Here are some related tid-bits I found in reading "When the Earth Had Two Moons" (Asphaug, 2019) [my notes]

@20K, things stick together even ions. Mantles form around cold silicate accretions of water, methane, ammonia, CO2, CO, and others.

Adding UV will make simple molecules become complex.

Most common compound is CO. Others are: CO2, CH4, NH3, HCN, and other CHON stuff. The result gives free oxygen to make oxides like H2O (2nd most common compound).

Comets are dust and ice…They include “super volatiles” – CO, CO2, U2, CH4, O2 vaporizing @ extremely low temperatures…They came apart, producing water vapor and silicate dust.

Deep inside these orbits, amorphous solids can now get warm enough to crystallize, which is exothermic, causing wholesale decomposition of the nucleus.

The first 100 million years was frantic. Then came 4.5 Gyrs of cold storage…The outer surface layer materials became highly processed under this rotisserie, with ice-cemented carbonaceous lag on top of primeval interior. Baked caramelized ice cream is one analogy, where the best stuff is the inner ice cream.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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It is amazing to see how a single meteorite like Sutter's Mill with different age measurements obtained for the object can be fitted into explaining how Earth got its abundant liquid water supply while Earth avoided forming with too much carbon and becoming a Venus type planet including the giant impact with Theia. The miracle of catastrophism in the early solar system using time and chance, is profound here :) Helio in post #5 mentions *The first 100 million years was frantic*. Okay, this looks to have problems now based upon newer, and better ALMA observations. Planet formation may start earlier than previously thought, https://phys.org/news/2021-05-planet-formation-earlier-previously-thought.html

My observation. Here are some key ideas in this report I think. "But much remains unknown about the process.", "This is an unexpected finding because the dust disk is still in a state of considerable flux during the protostellar stage—hardly a promising place for dust to agglomerate." "So we are thinking that planet formation could be a highly dynamic process." My opinion. Planet formation as dust rings seen by ALMA must be a rapid, and very messy processes if it can take place at all. Dust grains growing suddenly in size during protostellar stage, many will likely accrete into the growing star too.
 
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It is amazing to see how a single meteorite like Sutter's Mill with different age measurements obtained for the object can be fitted into explaining how Earth got its abundant liquid water supply while Earth avoided forming with too much carbon and becoming a Venus type planet including the giant impact with Theia. The miracle of catastrophism in the early solar system using time and chance, is profound here :)
Agreed, the combination of many variables had to be just right.

Helio in post #5 mentions *The first 100 million years was frantic*. Okay, this looks to have problems now based upon newer, and better ALMA observations. Planet formation may start earlier than previously thought, https://phys.org/news/2021-05-planet-formation-earlier-previously-thought.html
so "the first 99 million years?" ;) I don't know what this ring merger hypothesis changes, if indeed it holds. The key is there is a short time window for things to form near a star before the star blows out the protoplanetary disk.

My observation. Here are some key ideas in this report I think. "But much remains unknown about the process.", "This is an unexpected finding because the dust disk is still in a state of considerable flux during the protostellar stage—hardly a promising place for dust to agglomerate."
Yes, but millions of years helps.

"So we are thinking that planet formation could be a highly dynamic process." My opinion. Planet formation as dust rings seen by ALMA must be a rapid, and very messy processes if it can take place at all. Dust grains growing suddenly in size during protostellar stage, many will likely accrete into the growing star too.
It is very dynamic. Accretion disks form over time from a fragmented cloud, so a lot of activity takes place to swing it all into a disk. Then as the tiny particles bump and stick, on occasion, to form larger tiny particles, they will begin to migrate inward, thus adding to the activity. The trick is when they reach close to 1 meter in size since their touching can easily break them apart. Models show swirling action around a protplanet lowers their mutual impact velocities to help them grow. Perhaps this region would produce a bit of a void in the disk.
 
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rod

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Some progress is made I think in Helio's post #7. However, *the first 100 million years* needs clarification. Apparently such a timescale for dust disks measured and observed around various stars is poorly constrained based upon actual observations. The evolving chemistry of protoplanetary disks, https://phys.org/news/2020-09-evolving-chemistry-protoplanetary-disks.html, ref - An Evolutionary Study of Volatile Chemistry in Protoplanetary Disks, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/ab9e71, "Abstract The volatile composition of a planet is determined by the inventory of gas and ice in the parent disk. The volatile chemistry in the disk is expected to evolve over time, though this evolution is poorly constrained observationally. We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations of C18O, C2H, and the isotopologues H13CN, HC15N, and DCN toward five Class 0/I disk candidates. Combined with a sample of 14 Class II disks presented in Bergner et al., this data set offers a view of volatile chemical evolution over the disk lifetime. Our estimates of C18O abundances are consistent with a rapid depletion of CO in the first ~0.5–1 Myr of the disk lifetime.."

Apparently observations measuring the accretion rates and lifetime of various dust disks around *young* stars is difficult so how the first 100 million years of our solar system evolution was worked out *precisely* is suspect I think. Another important note. Sutter's Mills meteorite has at least 3 different ages published for it. 4.563 billion years old, an isochron plot of 1 billion years old, TL dating some 100,000 years old.

The Sutter's Mill meteorite: Thermoluminescence data on thermal and metamorphic history, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014M&PS...49.2047S/abstract

^187Re-^187Os Isotopic and Highly Siderophile Element Abundance Systematics of the Sutter's Mill Meteorite: Clues to Late-Stage Secondary Processes Acting on Chondrites, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013LPI....44.1964W/abstract

Different age dates like this found on the same meteorite should be made clear to the public when explaining the origin of Earth's abundant water we enjoy.
 
Some progress is made I think in Helio's post #7. However, *the first 100 million years* needs clarification.
The depletion of gas in the inner disk, especially, is quick, but dust is a different story. [Here] "Our results show dust density values of around 10-100 times the gas density with a steady state pebble flux between 3.5×10−4 and 2.5×10−3MEarth/year for the models with St=0.01 and St=0.1. The grain size and pebble flux for model St=0.01 compares well with dust evolution models of the first million years of disk evolution "

Apparently observations measuring the accretion rates and lifetime of various dust disks around *young* stars is difficult so how the first 100 million years of our solar system evolution was worked out *precisely* is suspect I think.
Indeed. I think it's fair to say it hasn't been worked out, though some models show promise.

It wasn't that long ago that accretion disks were observed, giving strong support for that given model(s). This made them look harder as to how stars could accrete to grow as they do. Eventually, magnetic field models showed where radial influx is likely between field concentrations, IIRC.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Helio et al. When it comes to reports of dust disks or accretion disks around various stars reported today, perhaps like the exoplanet sites, I may find a site disclosing all about the accretion disk mass in earth masses reported, etc. as a quick, drop down list :) Some stars indicated as young with disks I have documented show small amounts of gas like 1 to 13 earth masses or less, other much more. Example reports on DM Tau or HOPS 383, nearly 17,000 earth masses reported.

Getting back to Sutter's Mill meteorite, here is more.

Mid-infrared study of stones from the Sutter's Mill meteorite, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014M&PS...49.2017N/abstract, Nov-2014

Mid‐infrared study of stones from the Sutter's Mill meteorite, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/maps.12269, 04-March-2014.

My observation. This report indicates separating original meteorite water from the rain water that took place is difficult (at least in 2014 reports for Sutter's Mill). The CRE age of 51,000 years was found along with potential that the meteorite, orbited <= 0.5 au from the Sun in the past. Sutter's Mill meteorite radiometric age ~ 4.563E+9 years old, CRE age 5.1E+4 years old to 1E+5 years old with TL age dating similar, and an isochron reported as 1E+9 years old plot (see post #8), along with an orbit at some time in the past <=0.5 au from the Sun but like the space.com report, Sutter's Mill likely originated from a larger body near or past Jupiter's position initially. Meteorites used to explain the origin of Earth's abundant water supply inherited during the early solar system accretion process using catastrophism some 4.5E+9 years ago, is a tricky and difficult work.
 
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Helio et al. When it comes to reports of dust disks or accretion disks around various stars reported today, perhaps like the exoplanet sites, I may find a site disclosing all about the accretion disk mass in earth masses reported, etc. as a quick, drop down list :) Some stars indicated as young with disks I have documented show small amounts of gas like 1 to 13 earth masses or less, other much more. Example reports on DM Tau or HOPS 383, nearly 17,000 earth masses reported.
I would bet the gas to dust ratio has everything to do with the age of the disk. The clouds that stars come from are about 99% gas, IIRC. If that value is somewhat correct for all clouds, give or take, then I think the star's radiation and wind would be the active force to alter that ratio, though some gas condenses. About 90%, IIRC, of the clouds gas escapes the region around a forming star.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Helio, "I remarkably good argument for telescopes, something the dinosaurs should have considered. :)"

HeHe! You have me there!. The point I was making (or trying to make) was that the dinosaurs were around for - what was it? 160 million years or something - without extra terrestrial problems. Without telescopes, let alone rockets - they just got unlucky. That was my point (see left): Approaching asteroid? Is this THE one, or, perhaps "It just takes one".

Cat :)
 
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