Many of the meteorites that swept through the atmosphere of our planet and crashed on its surface,
Deciphering the geological processes thatformed these parent bodies, could tell us more about the history of our solar system and the formation of the Earth. In order to truly understand what makes our planet capable of supporting life, and to look for habitable worlds elsewhere, it is very important to understand its inner space - past and present.
It was believed that iron meteorites arethe remains of the nuclei of their ancient, broken into parts of their parental bodies. The history of how their layers differed is recorded in their chemical composition, if readable.
There are four stable isotopes of iron. Each element contains a unique number of protons, but its isotopes have a different number of neutrons. This means that each isotope of iron has a slightly different mass than the others. As a result, some isotopes are preferable for some chemical reactions, which, in turn, affects the proportion of this isotope in the final reaction products.
Traces of this favoritism can be found in rock samples and can help figure out the processes that forged the parent bodies of the meteorite.
Previous research on isotope ratiosiron in iron meteorites led to an amazing observation: compared to the raw materials from which their mother bodies were created, they are enriched in heavy isotopes of iron.
Scientists have determined that this enrichment can be fully explained by the crystallization of the parent object's core.
The researchers used laboratory mimicryfor modeling core crystallization temperatures in parent bodies of iron meteorites: complex models of the crystallization process, including other concentrations of elements, for example, gold and iridium, as well as iron isotopes.
This improved understanding of core crystallization expands scientists' knowledge of the formation period of our solar system, the scientists conclude.
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