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Coordinated Analyses of Presolar Grains in the Allan Hills 77307 and Queen Elizabeth Range 99177 Meteorites

  • Nguyen, Ann N.
  • Nittler, Larry R.
  • Stadermann, Frank J.
  • Stroud, Rhonda M.
  • Alexander, Conel M. O'D.
Published Article
Publication Date
Aug 02, 2010
Submission Date
Jun 22, 2010
DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/719/1/166
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We report the identification of presolar silicates (~177 ppm), presolar oxides (~11 ppm), and one presolar SiO2 grain in the Allan Hills (ALHA) 77307 chondrite. Three grains having Si isotopic compositions similar to SiC X and Z grains were also identified, though the mineral phases are unconfirmed. Similar abundances of presolar silicates (~152 ppm) and oxides (~8 ppm) were also uncovered in the primitive CR chondrite Queen Elizabeth Range (QUE) 99177, along with 13 presolar SiC grains and one presolar silicon nitride. The O isotopic compositions of the presolar silicates and oxides indicate that most of the grains condensed in low-mass red giant and asymptotic giant branch stars. Interestingly, unlike presolar oxides, few presolar silicate grains have isotopic compositions pointing to low-metallicity, low-mass stars (Group 3). The 18O-rich (Group 4) silicates, along with the few Group 3 silicates that were identified, likely have origins in supernova outflows. This is supported by their O and Si isotopic compositions. Elemental compositions for 74 presolar silicate grains were determined by scanning Auger spectroscopy. Most of the grains have non-stoichiometric elemental compositions inconsistent with pyroxene or olivine, the phases commonly used to fit astronomical spectra, and have comparable Mg and Fe contents. Non-equilibrium condensation and/or secondary alteration could produce the high Fe contents. Transmission electron microscopic analysis of three silicate grains also reveals non-stoichiometric compositions, attributable to non-equilibrium or multistep condensation, and very fine scale elemental heterogeneity, possibly due to subsequent annealing. The mineralogies of presolar silicates identified in meteorites thus far seem to differ from those in interplanetary dust particles.

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