Cosmochemical consequences of particle trajectories during FU Orionis outbursts by the early Sun

Alan P. Boss*, Conel M.O.D. Alexander, Morris Podolak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The solar nebula is thought to have undergone a number of episodes of FU Orionis outbursts during its early evolution. We present here the first calculations of the trajectories of particles in a marginally gravitationally unstable solar nebula during an FU Orionis outburst, which show that 0.1-10. cm-sized particles traverse radial distances of 10 AU or more, inward and outward, in less than 200. yrs, exposing the particles to temperatures from ~60. K to ~1500. K. Such trajectories can thus account for the discovery of refractory particles in comets. Refractory particles should acquire Wark-Lovering-like rims as they leave the highest temperature regions of the disk, and these rims should have significant variations in their stable oxygen isotope ratios. Particles are likely to be heavily modified or destroyed if they pass within 1 AU of the Sun, and so are only likely to survive if they formed in the final few FU Orionis outbursts, or were transported to the outer reaches of the solar system. Calcium, aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) from primitive meteorites are the oldest known solar system objects and have a very narrow age range. Most CAIs may have formed at the end of the FU Orionis outbursts phase, with an age range reflecting the period between the last few outbursts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Accretion disks
  • Chronometry
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Refractory inclusions
  • Short-lived radioactivities
  • Solar nebula


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