Back to overview Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Volume (Issue) 46(7)
Page(s) 989 - 1006


We analyzed cosmogenic He and Ne in more than 60 individual chondrules separated from small chips from the carbonaceous chondrites Allende and Murchison. The goal of this work is to search for evidence of an exposure of chondrules to energetic particles-either solar or galactic-prior to final compaction of their host chondrites and prior to the exposure of the meteoroids to galactic cosmic rays (GCR) on their way to Earth. Production rates of GCR-produced He and Ne are calculated for each chondrule based on major element composition and a physical model of cosmogenic nuclide production in carbonaceous chondrites (Leya and Masarik 2009). All studied chondrules in Allende show nominal exposure ages identical to each other within uncertainties of a few hundred thousand years. Allende chondrules therefore show no signs of a precompaction exposure. The majority of the Murchison chondrules (the "normal'' chondrules) also have nominal exposure ages identical within a few hundred thousand years. However, roughly 20% of the studied Murchison chondrules (the "pre-exposed'' chondrules) contain considerably or even much higher concentrations of cosmogenic noble gases than the normal chondrules, equivalent to exposure ages to GCR at present-day fluxes in a 4 pi irradiation of up to about 30 Myr. The data do not allow to firmly conclude whether these excesses were acquired by an exposure of the pre-exposed chondrules to an early intense flux of solar energetic particles (solar cosmic rays) or rather by an exposure to GCR in the regolith of the Murchison parent asteroid. However, we prefer the latter explanation. Two major reasons are the GCR-like isotopic composition of the excess Ne and the distribution of solar flare tracks in Murchison samples.