Adrar 003 Meteorite

Labelled viewsRMS-LabelStill-Adrar003.html

View thin section

SEM views

Transmitted light
between crossed polars
Rotation point 1RMS-Rotation1-Adrar003.html
Transmitted light
plane polarised

Object movie

Reflected Light
Rotation point 2RMS-Rotation2-Adrar003.html
Chondrules - backscattered imageRMS-SEM1-Adrar003.html

Large fragment of the Adrar 003 meteorite

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3.5 cm across

Cut surface


abundant chondrules

Outer surface showing fusion crust

The solar system as we know it today formed as a consequence of many processes, but dominantly by the condensation and gravitational contraction of what was a rotating dusty cloud of gas. The centre of the cloud collapsed to form the sun and the remaining cloud formed the rest of the solar system. The early stages of the planetary forming process involved solids crystallising out of this gas. These solids are typically mm in size (or smaller) and are of two basic forms:  (1) CAIs calcium and aluminium inclusions, (2) spherical silicate clusters known as chondrules. We can still see these early solids preserved today if we look in the most primitive unaltered group of meteorites known as chondrites. These early processes in the solar system mark the start of planetary formation and began about 4.56 billion years ago. The exact conditions in the different areas within the gas cloud were slightly different hence variations in shape, size and composition are found in these early structures. By studying these differences today we can find clues to help us understand exactly how this early stage of planetary formation took place.

The Adrar 003 meteorite is a 287 gram stone from southern Algeria, that was first described in 1991 by scientists at the Open University, the Natural History Museum in London and Cambridge University. It is an extraordinary unequilibrated ordinary chondrite - a rare type of meteorite containing many spherical clusters of olivine and pyroxene crystals. The bulk of the meteorite formed 4.567 billion years old, but is unusual in containing minute presolar grains (diamonds and silicon carbides) that are even older. Presolar grains are older than the solar system and probably formed in supernova or the stellar outflows of red giant stars. By studying Adrar 003 and other meteorites containing presolar grains, scientists have been able to gain an insight into how stars work.

More information here and here.

Credits: OU/CEPSAR

Chondrules - X-ray mapRMS-SEM1-Adrar003-2.html