Chondrules from high-velocity collisions: Thermal histories and the agglomeration problem

Nick Choksi, Eugene Chiang, Harold C. Connolly, Zack Gainsforth, Andrew J. Westphal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We assess whether chondrules, once-molten mm-sized spheres filling the oldest meteorites, could have formed from super-km s−1 collisions between planetesimals in the solar nebula. High-velocity collisions release hot and dense clouds of silicate vapour which entrain and heat chondrule precursors. Thermal histories of CB chondrules are reproduced for colliding bodies ∼10-100 km in radius. The slower cooling rates of non-CB, porphyritic chondrules point to colliders with radii ≳ 500 km. How chondrules, collisionally dispersed into the nebula, agglomerated into meteorite parent bodies remains a mystery. The same orbital eccentricities and inclinations that enable energetic collisions prevent planetesimals from re-accreting chondrules efficiently and without damage; thus the sedimentary laminations of the CB/CH chondrite Isheyevo are hard to explain by direct fallback of collisional ejecta. At the same time, planetesimal surfaces may be littered with the shattered remains of chondrules. The micron-sized igneous particles recovered from comet 81P/Wild-2 may have originated from in-situ collisions and subsequent accretion in the proto-Kuiper belt, obviating the need to transport igneous solids across the nebula. Asteroid sample returns from Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx may similarly contain chondrule fragments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3297-3308
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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