Transient high-energy events such as reconnecting magnetic fields, chemical energy in amorphous solids, frictional heat (infall model) and lightning are invoked for the formation of chondrules in the solar nebula. It remains an open question whether any single one of these events, or a combination of them, is responsible for the variety of chondrule properties in meteorites. We used the Langmuir Laboratory's Triggered Lightning Research Facility on South Baldy Mountain near Socorro (New Mexico) to conduct an exploratory experiment on lightning induced alteration of refractory materials in conjunction with an ongoing experiment to study the formation of lodestone in natural deposits. Blankets of glass wool (~1 cm thick) were placed in a cylindrical container as separations between three samples of natural magnetite. The samples were placed perpendicular to its axis and were about 1 cm thick. The lightning strike passed through the container from top to bottom thereby passing through the three samples and two intervening blankets of glass wool. The passage of the lightning strike through the container left a hole in each blanket with a diameter of about 1 cm. The hole's wall in the blanket between the samples of pure magnetite sample and magnetite with some amounts of (Mg,Fe,Ca)-silicates and calcite shows an orange-brown discoloration. A spray pattern with similar discoloration occurred on this blanket surface surrounding the hole. Several millimeter-sized black spheres and (rare) black fragments were located around the hole where the lightning strike exited the blanket.
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
- Pub Date:
- March 1996
- ANALYSES: ELECTRON MICROBEAM;
- FORMATIONS: CHONDRULE;