Scientists have found traces of noble gases synthesized in the Sun’s interior in an iron meteorite. Because of their chemical composition, such objects are often used as models of the Earth’s metallic core.
During the formation of the Earth’s iron core some 4.5 billion years ago, it may have been exposed to the solar wind. An analysis of a meteorite found 100 years ago showed this
Iron meteorites are a rare class of space objects. They account for only five percent of all known meteorites found on Earth. Most of these objects are fragments of larger asteroids that formed the basis of metal cores during the first one to two million years of our solar system’s evolution.
An iron meteorite from Washington County is now being studied at the Claus Cheer Cosmochemistry Laboratory of the Earth Science Institute. It was discovered almost 100 years ago. This celestial body resembles a metal disk, is six centimeters thick and weighs about 5.7 kilograms. In a new study of this object, the authors were able to use a mass spectrometer to determine the helium-neon isotope ratios in it. These ratios turned out to be typical of the solar wind.
The measurement results allowed the researchers to conclude that the core of our planet may also contain “solar” atoms of noble gases. Another scientific observation confirms this assumption. Geochemists have already found isotopes of helium and neon in the igneous rocks of oceanic islands such as Hawaii and Reunion. These magmatites arise from a special form of volcanism, the source of which are mantle plumes. The high content of “solar” isotopes makes these rocks fundamentally different from the shallow-water mantle, which is characterized by volcanic activity of submarine mid-ocean ridges.
The results of the new study confirm the assumption that the “solar” isotopes of noble gases in the mantle plumes originate from the core of the planet. This, in turn, means that there must be traces of the influence of the solar wind in the Earth’s core.