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Nature. 2005 Aug 18;436(7053):989-92.

Young chondrules in CB chondrites from a giant impact in the early Solar System.

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Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics & Planetology, School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2525 Correa Rd, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA.


Chondrules, which are the major constituent of chondritic meteorites, are believed to have formed during brief, localized, repetitive melting of dust (probably caused by shock waves) in the protoplanetary disk around the early Sun. The ages of primitive chondrules in chondritic meteorites indicate that their formation started shortly after that of the calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions (4,567.2 +/- 0.7 Myr ago) and lasted for about 3 Myr, which is consistent with the dissipation timescale for protoplanetary disks around young solar-mass stars. Here we report the 207Pb-206Pb ages of chondrules in the metal-rich CB (Bencubbin-like) carbonaceous chondrites Gujba (4,562.7 +/- 0.5 Myr) and Hammadah al Hamra 237 (4,562.8 +/- 0.9 Myr), which formed during a single-stage, highly energetic event. Both the relatively young ages and the single-stage formation of the CB chondrules are inconsistent with formation during a nebular shock wave. We conclude that chondrules and metal grains in the CB chondrites formed from a vapour-melt plume produced by a giant impact between planetary embryos after dust in the protoplanetary disk had largely dissipated. These findings therefore provide evidence for planet-sized objects in the earliest asteroid belt, as required by current numerical simulations of planet formation in the inner Solar System.


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