Probably the most precise laboratory measurements made of magnetic fields held in grains inside a primeval meteorite are providing significant clues to the way the early solar system developed.
The recent study states that, “Shock waves moving with the cloud of dusty gas round the sun seemed to be a significant component in solar system’s formation.”
According to an Arizona State University press release, “Although 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 bits 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.
Arizona State University researchers stated, “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.”
The study is published in the Science journal on 13th Novemeber. The lead author of the study Roger Fu, 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.
According to the release, “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.”
Desch stated within the statement, “The brand new experiments probe magnetic minerals in chondrules never measured before. Additionally, 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.
Desch explains, “My modeling for the heating events shows that shock waves passing through the solar nebula is exactly 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.”