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Chemical compositions of primitive solar system particlesChemical studies of micrometeorites are of fundamental importance primarily because atmospheric entry selection effects (such as destruction of friable objects) are less significant than those for conventional meteorites. As a result, particles that have experienced very little postaccretional processing have a significant chance of surviving the Earth encounter and subsequent collection. Thus, chemical analyses of these relatively unaltered micrometeorites may lead to a better understanding of the compositions of the most primitive materials in the solar system and thereby constrain the conditions (physical and chemical) that existed in the early solar nebula. Micrometeorites have been collected from the stratosphere, polar ices, and ocean sediments, but the stratospheric collection is the best source for the most unaltered material because they are small and are not heated to their melting points. Despite the fact that the stratospheric micrometeorites have masses in the nanogram range, a variety of microanalytical techniques have been applied to bulk chemical analyses with part-per-million sensitivity. In some cases, multi-disciplinary studies (e.g., chemistry and mineralogy) have been performed on individual particles. The first-order conclusion is that the chondrite-like particles are chemically similar to carbonaceous chondrites but in detail are distinct from members of the conventional meteorite collection. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the results to date and identify important areas for further study.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Sutton, Steve R. (Chicago Univ. Chicago, IL, United States)
Bajt, S. (Chicago Univ. Chicago, IL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on the Analysis of Interplanetary Dust Particles
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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