Exploring Magnetization Preserved for Billions of Years

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Rare Layered Meteorite Sample

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X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source assisted researchers to develop that the moms and dad planetesimal of uncommon meteorites, like the one revealed here, had a molten core, a strong crust, and an electromagnetic field comparable in strength to the Earth’s electromagnetic field. Credit: Carl Agee, Institute of Meteoritics, University of New Mexico. Background modified by MIT News.

Berkeley Lab researchers add to study checking out magnetization protected for billions of years in meteorite samples.

X-ray experiments at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) played an essential function in solving the origin of uncommon, odd meteorites that have actually puzzled researchers because their discovery a half-century earlier. Known as type IIE iron meteorites, they appear to have actually stemmed from a moms and dad body that had a structure including both completely melted and unmelted parts – other meteorite types show just one structure.

Researchers utilized Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), a synchrotron user center that produces light varying from infrared to X-rays for a range of experiments, to produce 3D restorations of the comprehensive patterns of magnetic orientation inscribed in samples from 2 of these uncommon meteorites. Only 9 of these meteorites have actually been discovered on Earth.

The magnetization pockets indicated their most likely origin in a big “planetesimal” – an item that took shape throughout the developmental phase of our planetary system – that undoubtedly was both unmelted and melted. The item likely had a molten metal core, a strong crust, and an electromagnetic field that might have measured up to the Earth’s in strength. The research study was released online July 24 in Science Advances.

The ALS experiments utilized an X-ray microscopy strategy referred to as XPEEM, combined with a strategy referred to as XMCD that produced higher contrast, to create more than 500 pictures of the 3D-reconstructed magnetization for each sample.

“We helped the research team to get this quantitative information about the direction and magnitude of the magnetization” in the samples, stated Berkeley Lab’s Andreas Scholl, who initially consulted with scientists on the group in 2015. Scholl is a senior personnel researcher, beamline researcher, and science deputy at the ALS.

Rajesh Chopdekar, an ALS task researcher and a beamline researcher, kept in mind that the X-rays were tuned particularly to determine the magnetic iron present in the samples. Thousands of magnetic images were assembled to create analytical self-confidence in the magnitude and instructions of the ancient electromagnetic field inscribed into the meteorites.

Read Family of Oddball Meteorites Stumped Researchers for Decades for more on this research study.

Reference: “Meteorite evidence for partial differentiation and protracted accretion of planetesimals” by Clara Maurel, James F. J. Bryson, Richard J. Lyons, Matthew R. Ball, Rajesh V. Chopdekar, Andreas Scholl, Fred J. Ciesla, William F. Bottke and Benjamin P. Weiss, 24 July 2020, Science Advances.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba1303

The Advanced Light Source is a DOE Office of Science user center.

The research study group was led by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and likewise included involvement by scientists at the University of Cambridge, University of Chicago, and the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets. The research study was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the NASA Discovery Program, the NASA Emerging Worlds program, and the University of Cambridge.



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