This work in progress is an alternative conceptual hypothesis for:
- Planet and planetesimal formation,
- Aqueous differentiation of TNO, comet and dwarf-planets, and the
- Formation of continental tectonic plates composed of authigenic/plutonic dwarf-planet cores
Only the ABSTRACT is up-to-date with current thinking.
Four star/planet/planetesimal formation mechanisms and their object types:
1) Protostar ‘spin-off planets’:
Twin molecular hydrogen gas clouds hypothesized to pinch off from bar-mode instabilities of collapsing protostars during their molecular-hydrogen dissociation events which form their first stellar cores, isolating high-angular-momentum bar-mode arms. Each stellar component typically spins off two proto gas planets
Example: Jupiter-Saturn and Uranus-Neptune, two sets of spin-off planets from the two former binary components of our former binary Sun
(Cascades of) terrestrial planets formed by ‘hybrid core accretion’ from the core accretion of gravitational-instability planetesimals formed at the inner edge of accretion disks.
Example: Mars composed of presolar trans-Neptunian (type) objects (TNOs)
3) Merger planets—stellar-merger spin-off planets:
Formed similar to protostar spin-off planets, but at a later stage during spiral-in binary stellar mergers, similarly isolating high-angular-momentum bar-mode arms. Merger planets may suffer significant volatile depletion while in their vulnerable pithy protoplanet phase.
Example: Venus and Earth
The majority of companion stars and solitary gas planets may form by disk instability, particularly, gas planets and companion stars with the most typical orbital separations, ~ 1 AU for gas planets and 30 AU for companion stars around G-type stars like our Sun. Additionally, planetesimals may form by gravitational instability in high-pressure resonances.
Example: TNOs, comets, asteroids and perhaps our former (hypothesized) companion star
Secondary fragmentation (bifurcation) and tertiary binary-binary resonant coupling:
Stars, planets, moons and planetesimals (comets, asteroids and TNOs) formed by gravitational instability may typically fragment (bifurcate) during gravitational collapse due to excess angular momentum. Then resonant (core-collapse) coupling between binary pairs may ‘evaporate’ smaller binary pairs at the expense of the orbital energy and angular momentum of larger binary pairs.
Outer Solar System Formation and Dynamics:
Our solar system may have formed from a protostar that fragmented (bifurcated) due to excess angular momentum, forming our former binary Sun. Binary perturbation may have resulted in disk instability, ‘condensing’ a companion star from the protoplanetary disk at a distance of perhaps 30 AU. The companion star may have also bifurcated due to excess angular momentum, resulting in a quadruple star system composed of two close-binary pairs. Then progressive core collapse evaporated the binary companion outward at the expense of the binary orbital energy and angular momentum of our binary Sun, resulting in the spiral-in merger of the solar components at 4,567 Ma in a luminous red nova (LRN). Perturbation of passing stars may have caused a continual softening of the wide-binary orbit of the companion star around the solar-system barycenter (SSB), causing the companion star to lift LRN debris comets out into the Oort cloud, forming the Hills cloud. At 542 Ma, a particularly close encounter of a passing star may have given our companion star escape velocity from the Sun which also churned the Hills cloud, resulting in numerous planetesimal mergers. Then core-collapse perturbations cause merged dwarf planets to spiral down into the inner solar system from ‘evaporative’ interactions with smaller planetesimals.
Aqueous Differentiation of Planetesimals:
When binary trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) composed of highly-oxidized (Type I) presolar material spiral in and merge from external perturbation, ‘contact-binary’ heating melts salt-water oceans in their cores, initiating ‘aqueous differentiation’. Precipitation of mineral grains and their growth through crystallization eventually fall out of suspension in the microgravity ocean, forming sedimentary cores. Diagenesis of sedimentary cores cause ‘circumferential folding’, hydrothermal fluids that precipitate to form hydrothermal mineral grains. Subsequent lithification/metamorphism form gneiss-dome cores mantled with schist, quartzite and carbonate rock. By comparison, smaller aqueously-differentiated sedimentary comet cores precipitate authigenic (aqueous) Rapakivi granite. And the low Gibbs free energy of Type II comet dust and ice result in violent chemical reactions when comets composed of Type II LRN debris accrete onto highly-oxidized (presolar) TNO cores of dwarf planets in the Oort cloud, often reaching the melting point of rock, forming I-type plutonic granite.
Extinction Events and Continental Tectonic Plates:
Oort cloud mergers form dwarf planets with TNO cores which spiral in due to ‘evaporative’ dynamic encounters with less-massive planetesimals. When dwarf planets spiral down into the inner solar system, their perihelia are almost perfectly circular, matching up with the two terrestrial planets with the most circular orbits, Venus and Earth. Additionally, the higher gravity and diameter of Venus and Earth enable dwarf planets with similar perihelia but 41% greater velocity/angular-momentum to graze their limbs, resulting in impacts, whereas with Mercury and Mars, the higher angular momentum generally result in hyperbolic orbits around the planets in which their limbs do not overlap. Dwarf-planet impacts cushioned by PdV heating of compressible ices may largely clamp the impact shock wave pressure below the melting point of terrestrial target rock or dwarf-planet-core rock, largely preserving dwarf-planet cores intact which contribute to the continental tectonic plates and cause extinction events on Earth.
SPIN-OFF PLANETS, CHONDRITES, COMETS, TNOS AND DWARF PLANETS:
- Close Binary:
A ‘hard’ binary object (planetesimal, planet or star) that tends to spiral in due to external perturbation, tending for its orbit to become progressively harder orbit over time, and often merging to become a solitary object. The ‘hard’ requirement is at odds with standard definition.
- Wide Binary:
a ‘soft’ binary object (planetesimal, planet or star) that tends to spiral out due to external perturbation, tending for its orbit to become progressively softer over time. The ‘soft’ requirement is at odds with the standard definition.
Gravitational instability, whereby gas and dust condense gravitationally under pressurized conditions to form planetesimals, planets and stars
Young stellar object, comprising protostars (no core) and pre-main sequence stars (cored). The ‘core’ portion of the definition is at odds with standard definition.
- SSB: solar-system barycenter, as opposed to a binary-star barycenter in the case of a star system that may contain more than two stars
- LRN (LRNe plural):
Luminous red nova, a stellar explosion with a luminosity between that of a nova and a supernova, thought to be caused by the merger of two close-binary stars that spiraled in (or perhaps the merger between a planet and a star); however, binary mergers between protostars or YSOs may not result in LRNe, explaining the observational dearth of LRNe despite the here-hypothesized underestimation of the number of spiral-in stellar mergers
Fission of of protostars due to excess angular momentum, generally forming binary (bifurcation) protostars, but occasionally triple protostars (trifurcation) or more; however, even most multiple stars are hypothesized to form by successive bifurcations rather than trifurcations or quadfurcations and etc. Fragmentation is hypothesized to occur before the protostar converts from a protostar (no core) to a YSO (cored). The ‘no core’ requirement is at odds with the standard definition.
Circa 100 km Dia trans-Neptunian objects; however, the term is extended to include similarly sized and formed planetesimals elsewhere in the solar system. TNOs are hypothesized to form by GI from ‘Type I’ presolar material of the protoplanetary disk in regions with ‘pressure dams’, such as at the inner edge of a protoplanetary disk at the corotation zone of a star. TNOs are hypothesized to form by GI and then generally bifurcate to form binary (TNO) planetesimals.
TNOs formed by GI from Type I presolar material or comets formed by GI from Type II LRN material. Planetesimals may also sometimes include larger dwarf planets formed by core accretion of TNOs and comets.
- Dwarf Planets:
Objects formed by core accretion of TNOs, comets and possibly other dwarf planets. The term refers more to the core accretion process than to size which is at odds with the standard definition.
Planetesimals formed by GI from highly-chemically reduced Type II LRN debris, formed in (resonant) areas of elevated pressure (pressure dams)
- Type I gas, dust and GI ‘condensed’ planetesimals:
Highly-oxidized presolar protoplanetary material
- Type II gas, dust and GI ‘condensed’ planetesimals:
Highly-chemically reduced solar-plasma condensates from solar plasma expelled during LRNe, enriched in alpha-process isotopes (12 C, 16O, 20Ne, 24Mg, 28Si, 32S, 36Ar, 40Ca, 44Ti, 48Cr, 52Fe, 56Ni and 60Zn), and radionuclides (7Be, 10Be, 14C, 22Na, 26 Al, 36Cl, 41Ca, 44Ti, 53Mn, 54Mn, 60Fe, 63Ni, 91Nb, 92Nb, 107Pd, 129I, 146Sm, 182Hf and 244Pu
- Core Collapse:
A resonant perturbative process by which low mass objects tend to spiral out from high mass objects that tend to spiral in. Higher-frequency resonances of hard close-binary objects may greatly accelerate this macroscopic form of thermodynamic evaporation, and resonant perturbations of quadruple (close-binary—close-binary) systems may super-accelerate core collapse.
Inner Oort cloud, doughnut-shaped 2,000 – 5,000 AU to 20,000 AU, hypothesized to have formed by the largest circa 20 km Dia comets dropping out from the shepherding effect of the SSB at the inner 2,000 – 5,000 AU inner edge with the present SSB at 20,000 AU forming the outer edge. The SSB may constrain the IOC into a doughnut shape.
Outer Oort cloud, perhaps formed by planetesimals falling through Proxima (Centauri’s) SSB resonances and then perturbed into a spherical cloud.
- Aqueous Differentiation:
When binary planetesimals (TNOs and comets) spiral in and merge to form contact binaries, the heat absorbed may initiate aqueous differentiation, melting salt-water oceans in their cores. Dissolved compounds and suspended nebular dust may chemically react to form minerals (some aided by chemoautotrophs). When crystallization of mineral grains exceeds the buoyancy of the thermal circulation in the salt-water oceans, the mineral grains drop out of suspension, forming sedimentary cores that typically go through diagenesis and lithification. Expulsion of hydrothermal fluids during diagenesis and lithification of the sedimentary core typically precipitates hydrothermal sedimentary mantles. Violent chemical reactions in highly-chemically reduced Type II comets typically causes melting of the cores, forming plutonic rock. Dwarf planets may also undergo aqueous differentiation during core accretion, precipitating smaller mineral grains due to their greater mass and lower buoyancy of their submerged salt-water oceans.
Fragmentation (bifurcation) due to excess angular momentum apparently occurs in all size objects formed by gravitational instability (GI), from stars down to peanut-shaped comets and asteroids that spiraled in to form contact binaries. And fragmentation is hypothesized to occur during the initial gravitational collapse prior to forming a core.
After forming a hydrostatic core, protostars with bar-mode instability due to excess angular momentum may spin off smaller gas clumps during a second gravitational collapse of the first hydrostatic core, pinching off and isolating the bar-mode arms with the highest angular momentum. The second second gravitational collapse of the first hydrostatic core occurs when the internal temperature reaches 2000 K, initiating the dissociation of molecular hydrogen in an endothermic event that absorbs energy and clamps the core temperature to 2000 K. The second gravitational collapse is enabled by more than doubling the core-density while less than doubling its pressure due to (merely) doubling the number of moles of atomic hydrogen in the constant-temperature mediated gravitational-collapse event.
If the pinched off bar-mode arms are gravitationally bound within their newly-formed Roche spheres, they may go on to gravitationally collapse and form (twin) pairs of gaseous spin-off planets. Gravitationally-collapsing proto-planets typically fragment/bifurcate, forming close-binary planets with the binary-orbital energy and angular momentum to spiral out from their progenitor stars until the binary components spiral in and merge to form gaseous planets in a size range from mini-Neptunes up to brown dwarfs. Close-binary protostars may each spin off a pair of gaseous planets as in the hypothesized pairings of Jupiter-Saturn and Uranus-Neptune in our own solar system, while hot Neptunes and hot Jupiters are spin-off proto-planets that failed to bifurcate.
This alternative hypothesis suggests that planetesimals ‘condense’ by gravitational instability (GI) from accretion disks due to significant, stellar pressure gradients (pressure dams), and these pressure dams primarily occur at corotation zones of solitary or close-binary young stellar objects (YSOs). Secondary planetesimal condensation may also occur near solar-system barycenters (SSBs) between wide-binary stars in circumprimary orbits (around the larger A-stars) caused by pressure dams generated by the centrifugal force of the larger A-stars around their SSBs. (Note: the term, ‘accretion disk’, is used rather than the more specific term, ‘protoplanetary disk’, in order to include planetesimals condensed from secondary accretion disks infalling from luminous red novae (LRNe) explosions resulting from spiral-in mergers of close-binary stars.)
In our own solar system, circa 100 km planetesimals are hypothesized to have condensed by GI from the protoplanetary disk just beyond the corotation zone of our former protostar. Our original protostar may have undergone a cascade of three fragmentations to form a quadruple star system in which the second and third fragmentations likely occurred to the smallest star with the highest relative angular momentum. Then hypothesized core collapse resulted in a hierarchical ‘soft’ wide-binary pairing that spiraled out from the SSB. And each soft-binary stellar component was itself comprised of a ‘hard’ close-binary stellar pair, namely, former close-binary Sun and former close-binary Proxima. As the wide-binary components spiraled out with exponential ‘orbit inflation’, the close-binary components spiraled in, conserving quadruple-star closed-system energy and angular momentum.
Core-collapse perturbation between close-binary pairs in a wide-binary system may be particularly efficient due to closely-spaced resonances, such that by 4,567 Ma, the wide-binary Sun-Proxima separation is hypothesized to have spiraled out to about 75.6 AU. Closed-system core collapse causes increasing wide-binary separation (orbit inflation) at the cost of decreasing close-binary separation (spiral in) until the close-binary components finally merge, conserving energy and angular momentum. The former binary components of the Sun are hypothesized to have evolved into main-sequence stars prior to their spiral-in merger in a luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma. The former close-binary components of Proxima are likewise hypothesized to have spiraled in to merge in a smaller secondary LRN at 542 Ma, about 4 billion years later.
Circa 100 km diameter TNO-type planetesimals, plus or minus a sizable percentage, are hypothesized to have condensed at the corotation zone at the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk of our former protostar. The majority of the TNOs may have been shepherded outward by Proxima’s outer SSB-centric resonances, eventually shepherding them into the Oort cloud as Proxima spiraled out. Neptune was likely the next object to spiral out from its progenitor star, and Neptune similarly shepherded TNOs in its outer heliocentric resonnaces. Larger TNOs shepherded to the Kuiper belt by Neptune’s outer resonances may have fallen through the weaker shepherding resonances with increased distance from the Sun, creating a decreasing, planetesimal mass gradient with distance in the Kuiper belt beyond the Plutinos that orbit 2:3 resonance with Neptune.
Planetesimals condensed by GI typically bifurcate due to excess angular momentum during gravitational collapse, forming ‘active’ close-binary planetesimals. The ‘active’ nature of close-binary planetesimals versus the ‘degenerate’ nature of solitary planetesimals may be gleaned from the classical TNOs of the Kuiper belt. The cold, classical TNO population that orbit in low-inclination and low-eccentricity orbits between Neptune’s outer 2:3 and 1:2 resonances are typically binaries, whereas the hot, classical TNO population in higher-inclination and higher-eccentricity orbits are typically solitaries, along with the typically solitary population of Plutinos in 2:3 resonant orbits with Neptune. The hot classical population were presumably former binaries that spiraled out from the 2:3 Plutino resonance before merging to form solitaries.
Postulate: active binaries may tend to shun resonances by spiraling out from them and may tend to circularize their orbits by reducing their inclination and eccentricity.
Mars may be the beginning of a super-Earth sized planet interrupted in the process of accretion of Type I, presolar TNO-type planetesimals near the protosun’s original corotation zone by Proxima’s outward orbit inflation which shepherded it to out its current 1.52 AU semi-major axis before falling through Proxima’s SSB-centric resonances when the combination of mass and radial distance exceeded the shepherding capacity of Proxima’s resonances. Wide-binary ‘orbit inflation’ is hypothesized to be exponential over time which graphs as straight lines on log plots. The line segment prior to 4,567 Ma may be quite steep, corresponding to particularly-efficient close-binary–close-binary perturbation, while the line segment between 4,567 Ma and 542 Ma is comparatively shallow, corresponding to far less efficient close-binary–wide-binary perturbation (see graph in section: COMPANION STAR, PROXIMA (CENTAURI)); however, the line segment prior to 4,567 Ma is uncertain in slope and existence. Alternatively, if the corotation zone around the former close-binary Sun were originally at the distance of Mars, allowing Mars to accrete from GI-condensed TNO-type planetesimals, then the Sun and Proxima may have formed as a wide-binary protostar pair with an initial separation of about 75.6 AU. In this case, a circum-quaternary, Type I, presolar protoplanetary disk must have GI-condensed TNO-type planetesimals in Proxima’s outer SSB-centric resonances directly as LRN Type II comets are hypothesized to have also GI-condensed in Proxima’s SSB-centric resonances.
Venus and Earth:
If Venus and Earth are merger planets spun off from the merger of the Sun’s former binary components in the LRN, then Venus and Earth should be somewhat 16O enriched in ‘Type II’ LRN material:
- Venus and Earth with zero normalized ∆17O, defining the terrestrial fractionation line (TFL), which is partially 16O enriched in Type II LRN material
- Mars and CI chondrites with positive ∆17O due to their pristine composition from presolar ‘Type I’ material
- Vesta and carbonaceous chondrites with negative ∆17O due to their 100% composition of 16O-enriched, Type II LRN material.
This simplistic treatment, however, does not explain the exceedingly-high ∆17O of ordinary chondrites (H, L and LL) which plot above the TFL and well above Mars meteorites and the CI chondrites. If ordinary chondrites formed close enough to the Sun to be significantly 16O depleted due to the outward, (radial) fractionation diffusion of less-massive 16O isotopes, then they should be doubly δ18O enriched since the difference in atomic weight between (18O – 16O) and (17O – 16O) is 2:1, but ordinary chondrites don’t appear to be doubly δ18O enriched as the simple case of fractionation would dictate.
Following the LRN at 4,567 Ma, chondrites may have condensed by GI at the distance of Mercury due to the super-intense flare-star phase of the Sun following its binary stellar merger, temporarily pushing the corotation zone of the flare-star Sun out to Mercury’s orbit. Alternatively, Mercury may have accreted in the 3:1 to 5:2 resonant nursery of Venus, similar to the accretion of Ceres in Jupiter’s 3:1 to 5:2 resonant nursery. LRN dust and gas swirling back toward the Sun from high inclinations with low angular momentum may have spiraled in to the Sun’s corotation zone despite the centrifugal force of the Sun around the SSB due to a larger Poynting–Robertson effect, whereas in the case of GI-condensed chondrites, the strength of these opposed effects may have been reversed, causing chondrites to spiral out rather than in. So Mercury may be a core-accretion planet composed of Type II, LRN-dust-and-gas carbonaceous chondrites condensed by GI with a ∆17O similar to Vesta, due to LRN alpha-process enrichments, suggesting that perhaps one or more of the 3 types of HED meteorites (Howardites, Eucrites and Diogenites) are from Mercury rather than entirely from Vesta.
The Hungaria asteroids, mostly E-type, which lie on the TFL are below the 4:1 resonance with Jupiter at low eccentricity and inclinations, ranging from 16° to 34°. Only high inclinations will have survived perturbations with Mars over 4 billion years, but the average of 16° and 34° is 25°, which is close to the 23° tilt of Earth, all suggesting that enstatite chondrites are formed from terrestrial core material spun off from Earth’s binary merger. The enstatite chondrites then apparently spiraled out due to the centrifugal force of the Sun’s orbit around the SSB until they were stopped by
Jupiter’s 4:1 resonance.
CR Chondrites from 2 Pallas and ‘Young’ CB Chondrites:
The centrifugal force of the Sun around the SSB would tend to sling material out toward the SSB, creating pressure dams on the inside edge of Jovian inner resonances. E-type Hungaria asteroids were stopped by Jupiter’s 4:1 resonance by about 50 Ma when Earth’s binary components may have merged, but earlier on, the Jovian resonances may have been ‘leaky’ due to resonant interference with Jupiter’s close-binary planetary components, prior to Jupiter’s binary merger. CR chondrites with elevated presolar δ15N are thought to derive from the parent body 2 Pallas, which may have accreted from smaller GI-condensed CR chondrites, and the gas and dust which GI-condensed to form CR chondrites may have spun off from the cores of Jupiter’s binary planetary merger. Closely-related ‘young’ CB chondrules and chondrites, also with elevated presolar δ15N clasts which formed at at 4,562.7, are, perhaps, from Saturn’s binary planetary merger.
Vesta and Ceres:
The density and compositional difference between Vesta, which orbits below Jupiter’s 3:1 resonance, and Ceres which orbits above the 3:1 resonance, may be the size of the GI-condensed Type II chondrites capable of leaking through Jupiter’s 3:1 resonance. Larger-mass Type II chondrites would retain a higher percentage of volatile water vapor within their Roche spheres as they gravitationally collapsed, and larger-mass chondrites may have had a better chance of penetrating Jupiter’s 3:1 resonance.
Possible locations for GI-condensed comets include pressure dams at planetary heliocentric resonances and Proxima’s SSB-centric resonances, as well as the hypothesized, heliocentric pressure dam near the SSB due to centrifugal force of the Sun around the SSB. Additionally, the Sun’s increased luminosity during its 3-million year flare star phase, during which chondrules are hypothesized to have formed, may have selectively ‘burned off’ the gaseous component of the LRN debris, greatly greatly increasing the dust-to-gas ratio following the LRN after 4,567 Ma, allowing far-small comets to ‘condense’ by GI compared to the larger GI-condensed, presolar, Type I TNO-type planetesimals. Today the semi-major axis of the SSB is hypothesized to be at 20,000 AU explaining the typical aphelia distance of long-period comets; however, the SSB has temporarily disruption due to Proxima’s close encounter with the passing star, Alpha Centauri. So in the brief period of Alpha Centauri’s disruption of the SSB, inner solar system planetesimals, mostly asteroids, may be drifting due to planetary perturbations rather than held in place due to the (absent) outward centrifugal force of the SSB, making this a brief era of heavier than normal asteroid bombardment in the otherwise normally heavier Oort-cloud comet bombardment.
The inner Oort cloud (IOC) may be comprised of comets that fell through the centrifugal-force shepherding effect of the SSB as Proxima and the SSB spiraled out into the Oort cloud, with the largest mass comets defining its inner edge, and comets of the outer Oort cloud (OOC) may have similarly fallen through Proxima’s resonances at the greater distance of the OOC. The relatively higher density of the IOC compared to the OOC (by observed inclination and aphelia distance of long-period Oort cloud comets) may argue for a dual formation mechanism (SSB and Proxima) and perhaps a continuing shepherding mechanism (SSB) to maintain the low-inclination of the “doughnut-shaped” IOC out to the present SSB distance of 20,000 AU. By comparison, the Nice model can not explain the distance of the inner and outer edges of the IOC.
Hypothesized dwarf-planet continental masses appear to accrete granite plutons that are slightly older than their extinction-event impact age, suggesting accelerated accretion of comets by IOC dwarf planets as their perihelia spiral down into the planetary realm due to the periodic ‘grand alignment’ of the Sun-SSB-Proxima axis with the Galactic core. With the SSB at a semi-major axis of 20,000 AU, the Sun and Proxima orbit the SSB with a period of 73.6 Myr, in relative alignment with the Galactic core twice per orbital period: Grand alignment with the Galactic core: 73.6 Myr / 2 = 36.8 Myr.
Once comets and dwarf planets spiral down to the realm of the gas-giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn take over even after the periodic grand alignment between the Sun, Proxima and the Galactic core passes. Jupiter and Saturn administer gravity-assist ‘kicks’ to long-period planetesimals as their perihelia dip into the planetary realm. The gas-giant kicks are in the form of a ‘gravity assist’, also known as gravitational slingshot, gravity assist maneuver, or swing-by, imparting Jupiter’s orbital energy and linear momentum in the invariable plane, and because the kicks are increasingly perpendicular to the planetesimals as their aphelia spiral further down into the terrestrial-planetary realm, the amount of angular momentum contributed continually decreases, since the perpendicular portion of a kick contributes only energy and linear momentum to the planetesimals. So increasing linear momentum and energy with nearly-constant angular momentum causes planetesimal aphelia to spiral out and their perihelia to spiral in. Additionally, repeated kicks in the invariable plane continually reduce the inclination of planetesimals as they spiral in, progressively improving the inclination match up with Earth and Venus. In the limit, the perihelia portion of orbits with elliptical orbits with extreme eccentricities approaching 1 describe a semicircle, aligning best with the two planets in the most circular orbits, Venus and Earth. The lower masses and greater eccentricities of Mercury and Mars orbits and particularly the sinusoidal shape of Earth’s Moon around the Sun create comparatively poor targets for the circular portion of long-period planetesimal perihelia by comparison.
During intervals between grand alignments, dwarf planets, TNOs and comets apparently drift into a ‘daisy rosette’ of planetesimals as is evident from long-period comet aphelia, but as grand alignments approach, long-period aphelia may tend to precess to align with the Proxima-Sun-Galactic core. And aligned planetesimals may tend to accrete onto dwarf planets, as evidenced from the late ages of comet plutons and gneiss domes in continental masses. The period of highly eccentric planetesimals with eccentricities approaching 1 is about 1 million years, providing
a long interval for planetesimal encounters. Planetesimals in slightly higher heliocentric orbits will tend to catch up with planetesimals in slightly lower orbits, causing close encounters that may perturb ‘active’ close-binary planetesimals to spiral in, merge and initiate aqueous differentiation. Then after merging, aqueously-differentiated degenerate (solitary) planetesimals may merge with the perturbing dwarf planets in ultra-low-speed collisions, briefly initiating aqueous differentiation on the solitary, accretionary dwarf planets themselves.
Gravitational instabilities (GIs) can occur in any region of a gas disk that becomes sufficiently cool or develops a high enough surface density.
(Mayer, Boss and Nelson, 2010)
To form Neptune at 20-25 AU, Thayne Currie suggests a hybrid model for spawning 1 km planetesimals by GI by considering ice condensation as an overlooked additional source of dust-to-gas enrichment. Dust concentrates in the accretion disk midplane and super concentrates by Epstein drag. “The size of accreted planetesimals is likely to be smaller than the ∼1 km bodies formed after GI” (Currie, 2005)
The protostellar accretion disk is disrupted at several stellar radii by the stellar magnetic field, around .02 AU, and accretion onto the star follows the magnetic field lines at free-fall velocity. (C. Pinte et al.)
“Typical accretion rates of young stars are on the order of 10−6M⊙ yr−1 decreasing with the age of the disk (Armitage 2003; Manara et al. 2012).” (Kelling and Wurm, 2013) Flow of ionized gas onto the stellar surface should add angular momentum to the stellar core by dragging the magnetic field as it falls toward the center from a near Keplerian rotation rate at the disrupted inner edge of the accretion disk. A pressure increase may occur at around 2000 K toward the inner edge of the accretion disk, causing molecular hydrogen to dissociate and nearly double the gas pressure, but perhaps merely compensating for the 2000 K clamped temperature during endothermic dissociation. Once completely dissociated, the gas will go on to ionize and create a pressure dam at the inner disrupted inner edge of the accretion disk, repelled by the stellar magnetic field. But since the stellar magnetic field in YSOs would rotate faster than the Keplerian rate at a radial distance of several radii, stars accreting gas from their accretion disks may gain rather than lose relative angular momentum from the accretion disk, suggesting that protostars may need an alternative mechanism for reducing relative angular momentum in order to enter the main sequence in a timely fashion.
Two proposed mechanisms are suggested for reducing relative angular momentum: stellar fragmentation and spin-off fission. Stellar fragmentation is hypothesized to convert a protostar into a close-binary stellar pair of stars. Spin-off fission is hypothesized to spin-off plasma blobs that may condense by gravitational instability (GI) to form giant proto-planets, Neptune sized and larger. And proto-planets that go on to bifurcate due to excess angular momentum during their own gravitational collapse may spiral out from their progenitor star, as their close-binary components spiral in until they merge, ending their spiral-out ‘orbit inflation’.
The magnetic field of the star creates a pressure dam at the inner edge of the accretion disk, exponentially raising the pressure and temperature, but within the molecular-hydrogen dissociation range, the pressure is clamped at 2000 K. If dust grains grow to chondrule size, they still may sink to the midplane, increasing the dust-to-gas density as the gas tends to diffuse above and below the plane. Then chaotic swirling in the midplane may concentrate and super-pressurize the dust to the point of GI, leading to gravitational collapse, forming planetesimals.
Drag from infalling dust and gas would tend to position the GI planetesimals at the inner edge of the accretion disk where mutual collisions may lead to runaway accretion and (super Earth) planet formation, thus forming planets by a hybrid process blending GI and core accretion. While planetesimals, perhaps 100 km and larger trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) may frequently bifurcate due to excess angular momentum, their merger into super-Earth-sized planets would not bifurcate, and thus the orbits of super Earths may largely represent their formation radii.
Then super Earths formed at the inner edge of accretion disks may ‘spawn’ super Earths further out, perhaps with periods typically in the range of 1:2 to 3:1 due to the strength of outer shepherding resonances of super-Earth-sized planets in low orbits that create pressure dams in the accretion disk like the magnetic field of the star itself. And thus super-Earth-sized planets may form in a cascade sequence from the inside out. And the spin-off planet Neptune may have formed and hung onto its outer resonant TNOs as it spiraled out from the Sun; however, the other 3 spin-off planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, may have lost their outer resonant GI planetesimals due to outer/inner resonant interference with adjacent spin-off planets, perhaps forming the scattered disc beyond Neptune.
Our solar system is hypothesized to have formed as a binary star system with proto-Sun and proto-Proxima (Centauri). Then both proto-Sun and proto-Proxima are hypothesized to have bifurcated, forming a quadruple star system composed of two close-binary pairs separated by 75.6 AU at 4,567 Ma. Each of the binary components of binary Sun is hypothesized to have spun off a pair of proto-planets, Jupiter and Saturn from the larger ‘A’ component and Neptune and Uranus from the smaller (likely circum-orbital) ‘B’ component. All 4 spin-off proto-planets bifurcated and spiraled out to their present orbits.
‘Core collapse’ causes ‘hard’ close-binary components to spiral in as the pairs spiral out, conserving energy and angular momentum. While the merger dates of the binary planetary components is unknown, the binary solar components are hypothesized to have merged in a luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma and binary Proxima’s components to have merged at a distance of 182,600 AU from the Sun in a smaller LRN at 542 Ma.
The solar system barycenter may have also spawned or at least have transported heliocentric planetesimals out into the Oort cloud by the centrifugal force of the Sun around the solar-system barycenter (SSB) between the Sun and Proxima, and the SSB at 20,000 AU may be the cause of long-period Oort cloud comets with typical 20,000 AU aphelia; however, by happenstance, Proxima may presently be in the temporary grip of a hyperbolic orbit around the passing star Alpha Centauri.
When icy close-binary planetesimals spiral in to merge forming ‘contact-binaries’, kinetic energy will be converted to heat, likely melting salt-water oceans in their cores which will precipitate authigenic mineral grains. These mineral grains will continue to grow through crystallization until their negative buoyancy causes them to fall out of suspension to form sedimentary cores. Then the delivery of dwarf planets to Earth (which are hypothesized to form Earth’s continental masses) will be discussed as well as an attempt to discriminate what and when various dwarf planets impacted Earth.
(Gravitational collapse of protostars with rapidly-rotating bar-mode instabilities due to excess angular momentum form stellar cores when their central temperature reach 2000 K, initiating endothermic molecular-hydrogen dissociation which promotes rapid gravitational collapse, isolating their bar-mode arms. If the isolated bar-mode arms are self gravitating, they may form pairs of gas-giant proto-planets in a process designated, bar-mode isolation’.)
Direct imaging searches have begun to discover significant numbers of giant planet candidates around stars with masses of ~1 M⊙ to ~ 2 M⊙ at orbital distances of ~20 AU to ~120 AU. Given the inability of core accretion to form giant planets at such large distances, gravitational instabilities of the gas disk leading to clump formation have been suggested as the more likely formation mechanism.
(Alan Boss, 2011)
Gas giant planets at disk radii r > 100 AU are likely to form in situ by disk instability, while core accretion plus gas capture remains the dominant formation mechanism for r < 100 AU.
The primary question regarding the core nucleated growth model is under what conditions can planets develop cores sufficiently massive to accrete gas envelopes within the lifetimes of gaseous protoplanetary disks.
(Lissauer and Stevenson, 2007)
Triple stars with interplay are understood to evolve into hierarchical wide-binaries (NASA RELEASE: 12-425, 2012). Resonant core collapse causes the larger A and B components to sink or spiral in to form a ‘hard’ close-binary, causing the C component to spiral out into a ‘soft’ wide-binary in an evaporative thermodynamic process. Planetary systems are hypothesized to similarly evolve by resonant core collapse, causing binary planets formed from fragmentations of proto-planets (also due to excess angular momentum) to spiral out from their binary progenitor stars as their close-binary planetary components spiral in until they merge.
“Duquennoy and Mayor (1991) found that the binary frequency of solar-type main-sequence stars is 60%, with a peak in the binary separation distribution at 30 AU.” (Connelley, Reipurth and Tokunaga, 2008)
Our own former protostar may have fragmented into a quadruple. If triple or quadruple fragmentations occurred in a single protostar, our star system may have had interplay before resonant core collapse caused hierarchy to emerge in the form of a ‘soft’ ‘wide binary’ in which each wide-binary component was comprised of a ‘hard’ ‘close binary’. (Note: the terms ‘wide binary’ and ‘close binary’ will be used in a special sense here, in which wide binaries are assumed to be ‘soft’, tending to spiral out from one another due to resonant and dynamic gravitational interactions, while close binaries are assumed to be ‘hard’, tending to spiral in due to resonant and dynamic gravitational interactions.) Alternatively, if the fragmentations leading to our former quadruple star system were binary and therefore occurred in succession 3 fragmentations, then our star system likely formed as a hierarchical quadruple star system without going through an interplay phase. In either case, the former hard-close-binary companion star, binary Proxima (Centauri), to our former hard-close-binary Sun is hypothesized to have mutually spiraled out to a 75.6 AU wide-binary separation by 4,567 Ma, with each wide-binary component orbiting the solar-system barycenter (SSB).
Gravitationally-bound ‘bok globules’ may collapse within molecular clouds to form solitary or multiple protostars, assumedly at wide-binary spacing. A protostar, in turn, gravitationally collapse until radiation cooling becomes inefficient, forming a ‘quasi-hydrostatic object’ of molecular hydrogen in which the ‘first (hydrostatic) core’ is formed. When compression causes the core temperature to reach about 2000 K, molecular hydrogen dissociates endothermically, and the endothermically-clamped temperature gas pressure fails to balance gravity, resulting in a second gravitational collapse. A second (hydrostatic) core forms when the molecular hydrogen dissociates completely, allowing the gas pressure to once again balance gravity. (Tomida et al, 2012/2013) (However, since dissociation of molecular hydrogen almost doubles the core gas pressure by doubling the moles of hydrogen, endothermic collapse may instead occur during the subsequent ionization phase of the hydrogen which also absorbs endothermic energy but without increasing the moles of gas in the core, or perhaps ionization constitutes a limited third phase of core collapse.)
Fragmentation (bifurcation) occurs in all size objects formed by gravitational instability (GI) from stars to peanut-shaped comets and asteroids as spiral-in contact binaries. And fragmentation is hypothesized to occur during the initial gravitational collapse prior to the protostar forming a core. Once a core is formed, the proto-object may not be capable of bifurcating into two or more relatively similar-sized objects.
By comparison, giant planets may only ‘spin off’ from protostars with a first hydrostatic core, differentiating ‘fragmentation’ from ‘spin-off fission’ by the presence or absence of protostar cores. Following fragmentation or its absence due to the specific relative angular momentum of the collapsing protostar, angular momentum may distort the protostar into a ‘bar-mode instability’, with the bars containing the excess angular momentum. The second second gravitational collapse of the first hydrostatic core (due to clamping of the core temperature at around 2000 K due to dissociation of molecular hydrogen) may pinch off the arms of the bar-mode instability and isolate the arms from the collapsing core, possibly enabling the arms to establish their own gravitational sphere of influence, their own Roche spheres. If the masses in the opposing pinched off arms are gravitationally bound within their newly-isolated Roche spheres, a pair of proto-planets may be the result.
Newly spun off proto-planets will typically fragment (bifurcate), forming binary proto-planets, having the the energy and angular momentum in their close-binary orbits to spiral out from their progenitor protostars due to resonant core collapse. Resonant, core-collapse spiral out for binary planets is the same mechanism that causes multiple star systems with interplay to evolve into hierarchical star systems, typically composed of one or more ‘hard’ close-binary pairs.
In our own solar system only the giant planets have planemo moons (except for Earth which may have formed as a trinary or triple planet), so perhaps spin-off fission occurs during the second collapse of the core caused by endothmic molecular-hydrogen dissociation in stars and giant planets (and perhaps only in gas-giant planets). As gravitational collapse of the core decreases its moment of inertia and increases its rotation rate, trapped portions of the core may exceed their Keplerian rotation rate due to the weight of overlying material until catastrophic ‘spin-off fission’ squirts out the super-Keplerian gas, returning the core to rotational stability. These (gravitationally-bound) super-Keplerian gas blobs may have sufficient excess angular momentum to bifurcate during gravitational collapse and also spin-off proto-moons. Bifurcated giant, binary spin-off planets may spiral out to 1s of AU from solitary stars, or possibly 10s of AU when spinning off from the binary components of binary star systems by getting a potential-energy head start out from the barycenter.
The minimum spin-off fission mass that will fit within its own Roche sphere and go on to gravitationally collapse is unknown, but the smallest resulting spin-off planets (following diffusion loss) may be Uranus sized, but the smallest resulting planets will be designated Neptune-sized since Neptune is an exoplanet standard, whereas Uranus is not. Shortly after spinning off, proto spin-off planets typically bifurcate due to excess angular momentum, forming close-binary giant planets. Symmetry may dictate that stars, planets and smaller planetesimals formed by gravitational instability, such as asteroids, TNOs and comets, typically bifurcate rather than trifurcate. Protostars may similarly tend to spin off twin planets, and merging binary components may also tend to spin off twin merger-planets. Trinary planets exist, including likely Earth, accounting for our likely trinary Moon and possibly Neptune, possibly accounting for its retrograde planet, Triton, but trinary objects are most likely the result of two sequential fragmentations rather than a single trifurcation.
Theoretically then, most exoplanetary systems should have even numbers of spin-off planets and merger-planets; however, a large percentage of proto-planets may dissipate, merge or be reabsorbed by either their progenitor star or by their close-binary companion star with the result that odd-numbered exoplanetary systems may be nearly as common as even-numbered systems. Finally, odd-numbered exoplanetary systems may merely represent failure to discover planets or a confusion of spin-off planets with super-Earth-sized planets due to their similarity in size at the lower mass range of spin-off planets, particularly with the typical tolerances on mass.
Thus the larger central binary A-star component of our former binary Sun may have spun off twin blobs of gas which condensed by GI to form Jupiter and Saturn, while the smaller circum-orbiting B-star component spun off the twins, Uranus and Neptune. All 4 proto-planets apparently bifurcated and spiraled out from their stellar nursery. Uranus and Neptune attained higher ultimate heliocentric orbits due to their higher initial orbits, but Jupiter and Saturn also got a head start compared to spin-off planets from solitary stars due to the barycentric orbit of the A star. So our former close-binary Sun explains the relatively wide spacing of planets in our solar system compared with exoplanets formed around solitary stars.
If protostars do in fact tend to spin off pairs of proto-planets, then as our ability to detect exoplanets continues to improve, the trend of stellar systems with even-numbered giant spin-off planets, should become apparent; however, proto-planets may often dissipate, merge or be reabsorbed by their progenitor stars or absorbed by close-binary companions stars, resulting in a significant percentage of stars with odd-numbered giant planets.
If stars bifurcate in the same relative proportion as spin-off planets appear to, forming close-binary star systems with circumbinary spin-off planets, then most bifurcated stars must go on to merge, perhaps still as YSOs without forming luminous red novae (LRNe) and merger-planets, explaining the relative dearth of LRNe discovered to date. So, perhaps, only close-binary stars that have entered the main sequence blowup to form a red-giant phase and spin off volatilely-depleted high-density Earth-sized merger-planets that typically bifurcate and spiral out from their merged stars, and perhaps close-binary stars that haven’t merged by the time they reach the main are stable and never will spiral in to merge. Merger-planets (like Venus and Earth) spun off in spiral-in stellar mergers almost immediately become deeply immersed in the expanded red-giant phase of stellar LRNe while still in their pithy, vulnerable proto-planet phase, explaining how Neptune-sized and larger merger-planets become severely volatilely depleted, losing 95% of their initial mass in the brief red-giant phase of stellar mergers (measured in months), while low-orbiting super Earths and hot Jupiters/Neptunes are apparently unaffected. The twin merger-planet pair, Earth and Venus, are hypothesized to have survived deep immersion within the Sun’s LRN at 4,567 Ma, requiring perhaps some 50 Myr to cool off and form a crust.
Proxima is not known to have exoplanets, but its flare-star status may be masking as many as 4 of its own spin-off planets. The core-collapse effect of binary Sun and as many as 4 binary spin-off planets prior to 4,567 Ma is unknown, but the mutual perturbation of two stellar pairs of binary stars may have vastly accelerated Proxima’s orbit inflation out from the SSB prior to 4,567 Ma, perhaps by orders of magnitude, such that both Proxima and the Sun may have bifurcated from the same protostar rather than merely forming as a wide-binary pair from the same bok globule. Binary Proxima’s early presents within the planetary realm could explain a disbursed accretion disk and therefore the absence of super Earths in our solar system. (See the following section for the formation of super Earths: CASCADE FORMATION OF SUPER-EARTHS BY HYBRID CORE ACCRETION OF PLANETESIMALS ‘CONDENSED’ BY GRAVITATIONAL INSTABILITY AT THE INNER EDGE OF PROTOPLANETARY DISKS). Proxima is hypothesized to have spiraled out to 162,600 AU by 542 Ma when its binary components are hypothesized to have merged in a secondary, smaller LRN, indirectly ushering in the Phanerozoic Eon on Earth.
Stellar mergers may be the origin of the recently-proposed new category of stellar transients known as ‘luminous red nova’ (LRN), with luminosities between that of novae and supernovae; although this hypothesis is based on a mere handful of occurrences to date. M85 OT2006-1 had a peak bolometric luminosity approaching 5E6 solar and a blackbody effective radius of 2.0 +.6/-.4 E4 solar radii (Rau et al., 2007) which would engulf the Kuiper belt in our own solar system, but the size of the former stellar components is unknown. Additionally, the luminous red nova M85 OT2006-1 appears to have condensed dust in the expanding shock-wave envelope:
We have presented the discovery of a strong 3.6-22 micrometer excess in M85 OT2006-1 at ~ 180 days. This thermal infrared component suggests ” a dust condensation in the matter expelled during the eruption, similar to M31 RV (Mould et al. 1990) and V838 Mon (Kimeswenger et al. 2002; Lynch et al. 2004).
(Rau et al., 2007)
This LRN dust condensation in M85 OT2006-1 is hypothesized to correspond to highly chemically reduced ‘Type II’ LRN debris in our own solar system from which chondrites and comets are hypothesized to have ‘condensed’ by gravitational instability (GI), whereas the presolar accretion-disk dust and gas is defined as highly-oxidized ‘Type I’ presolar material. Type II material is condensed from chemically-reduced solar plasma (perhaps enriched to a degree in terrestrial planetary volatiles) from the merger of former binary Sun at 4,567 Ma.
CI chondrites (without chondrules) may have condensed from the super-intense solar wind in Jupiter’s inner resonant nursery during the brief spiral-in common-envelope phase of our former binary Sun before stellar-merger alpha-process nucleosynthesis lowered δ15N by raising the 14N concentration. The Δ17O of CI chondrites lies above the the terrestrial fractionation line (TFL) on the 3-oxygen isotope plot—closer to the Δ17O of Mars basalt than to the TFL of the Earth and Moon. This finding agrees with a presolar origin for Mars and Mercury as former Type I spin-off moons of Jupiter lost to the Sun when spiraling past the smaller B-star component of former binary Sun which is hypothesized to have temporarily compressed Jupiter’s Roche sphere, causing Mercury and Mars to escape from Jupiter’s gravitational well. By comparison, Earth is part Type II material, having spun off in the merger of the Sun’s former binary components. (1/2 slope on the 3-oxygen isotope plot merely represents complete fractionation while 1 slope represents complete mixing.) Chondrule formation lasted about 3 million years, likely for the duration of the flare-star phase of our Sun following its stellar merger, and all other chondrites other than CI chondrites contain chondrules which formed by GI in Jupiter’s inner resonant nursery, most during the elevated temperature period of the flare-star phase of the Sun. CB chondrites may have condensed late, around 4,562.7 from polar jets of Type I core material from the merger of Jupiter’s former binary components, and enstatite chondrites may have similarly formed (later still) from polar jets of core material from Earth’s binary merger, explaining the convergence of E chondrites with the TFL.
The luminous red nova PTF10FQS peaked at -12.3 magnitude between the luminosity of novae (-4 to -10 mag) and supernovae (-15 to -22 mag) and decayed slowly by 1 mag over the next 68 days. (Kasliwal and Kasliwal et al., 2011) Stellar mergers may be capable of nucleosynthesis in their cores, forming the short-lived radionuclides of our early solar system and the altered stable-isotope ratios observed in the Sun, and finally, perhaps, measurably-elevating stellar metallicity.
Following proto-planet fragmentation, giant planets may spin off smaller gravitationally-bound masses that gravitationally collapse to form proto-moons with elevated metallicity, particularly if the spin-off mass is derived from the progenitor’s core, as is hypothesized. Additionally, volatile diffusion in the pithy proto phase will elevate metallicity progressively for each generation of spin-off objects.
Jupiter may be a solar system in analog in miniature with 4 spin-off planets Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. The high density of Io and Europa suggests severe volatile depletion by deep immersion in the expanded red-giant phase of the Jupiter’s binary planetary merger, perhaps at 4,562.7 Ma, explaining the origin of ‘young’ CB chondrules in CB chondrites that may have condensed from core material spun off in Jupiter’s binary planetary merger.
Proto-Earth, having survived the LRN likely bifurcated and the smaller B component likely bifurcated a second time, forming a gravitationally-bound triple planet, perhaps with interplay. The larger binary pair spiraled in, causing the smallest C component to spiral out to form our Moon. The low-density anorthosite (plagioclase feldspar) crust of the Moon compared to Earth’s mantle suggests, perhaps, the composition of the larger planetary components (and Venus’) before their spiral-in merger. The merger of Earth’s larger binary may have squirted out polar jets of core material that condensed in Jupiter’s inner resonant nursery to form enstatite chondrites that lie on the 3-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line, suggesting a telluric origin.
The solar-system barycenter (SSB) between Proxima and the Sun is hypothesized to act as a far focus attractor for heliocentric planetesimal orbits, see section, FORMATION OF TRANS-NEPTUNIAN OBJECTS (TNOs), COMETS AND ASTEROIDS BY GRAVITATIONAL INSTABILITY. In the early years of the solar system before 4,567 Ma when our solar system was a quadruple star system with binary Sun and binary Proxima spiraling out from the SSB, the heliocentric accretion disk is hypothesized to have been stretched toward the SSB by the centrifugal force of the Sun’s orbit around the SSB. The centrifugal force of the SSB may have acted as a dam to the accretion disk, pressuring the infalling dust and gas, and the elevated pressure induced by the SSB dam may have ‘condensed’ planetesimals by GI.
HD 113766, A Binary Star System with a Dust Disk and an Icy Disk:
The 16 million year old binary star system HD 113766 composed of two F class stars may be similar to our early solar system with respect to the 30-80 AU icy accretion belt. The outer portion of the icy belt orbiting the larger A star may be controlled by the centrifugal force of the A star (HD 113766A, spectral class F3) orbiting the SSB with its slightly-smaller B star companion (HD 113766B, spectral class F5) at a wide-binary separation of 170 AU. But the inner truncation at 30 AU may be controlled by the 3:1 resonance of the smaller B star. As such there may be two planetesimal-forming elevated pressure portions of the 30-80 AU icy belt, at the inside edge up against the 3:1 shepherding resonance within the 5:2 to 3:1 planetesimal nursery of the B star and at the outer edge up against the shepherding effect of the SSB by the centrifugal force of the A star around the SSB. The “narrow” dust disk at 1.8 +/-0.2 AU seems too narrow for an inner resonant nursery below a giant planet, and so may be just beyond a binary planet spiraling out. (Calculations are needed to back up these suggestions.)
Proxima is hypothesized to have spiraled out of the inner solar system into the Oort cloud, starting from about 75.6 AU (from the Sun) at 4,567 Ma (when the Sun’s binary pair merged in an LRN) to 182,600 AU by 542 Ma when Proxima’s binary components may have merged in a second smaller LRN, placing the SSB around 20,000 AU today. Proxima is presently in a temporary hyperbolic orbit around the passing star Alpha Centauri, so the extent to which Proxima’s present 270,000 AU distance from the Sun has been influenced by Alpha Centauri and the extent to which the difference in distance (270,000 – 182,600 = 87,400 AU) may merely represent a distant point in a highly-eccentric orbit around the SSB is unknown. A log plot of Proxima’s the rate of orbit inflation over time is a straight line, with the SSB crossing Uranus’ orbit at about 4,131 Ma and Neptune’s orbit at 3,900 AU at the height of the late heavy bombardment (LHB), predicting a bimodal pulse to the LHB. (Note that the selection of the 75.6 AU as the formation point of Proxima was in order to place the SSB directly over Neptune at 3,900 Ma.)
As Proxima spiraled out into the Oort cloud, the SSB spiraled out 9.13 times slower (where 9.13 is the ratio of the Sun’s mass to Proxima’s mass), and the centrifugal force of the Sun around the SSB dropped off at a rate proportional to the increasing orbital period of the entrained planetesimals. While the SSB was still in the planetary realm up until about 3,800 AU, the giant planets and their heliocentric resonances likely had more effect on dislodging planetesimals than decreasing centrifugal force, and Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and their resonances likely stripped the SSB-tractor of its dwarf planets and TNOs, down to 100 km Dia and perhaps smaller. Most of the comets, which were smaller (1-20 km Dia) apparently remained entrained and were carried into the Oort cloud. The largest 20 km comets may have fallen behind around 2,500-3,000 AU, forming the inner edge of the inner Oort cloud (IOC), and since comet formation would have been most rapid in the early years following the LRN when the largest comets were formed, the model fits the observation that the inner edge of the IOC is the most highly populated portion of the Oort cloud.
A calculation equating Vesta at Jupiter to Sedna at Proxima [see section, COMPANION STAR, PROXIMA (CENTAURI)] suggests that Proxima may have carried dwarf planets into the Oort cloud in its inner resonances, perhaps primarily its 3:1 to 5:2 resonance. Then similar to the SSB which lost its planetesimals proportional to their mass and orbital period, Proxima may similarly have lost its resonant-nursery dwarf planets at orbital periods commensurate with their mass, including 90377 Sedna. Since the SSB was always lower than Proxima’s 3:1 barycentric resonance, the dwarf planets captured by Proxima may have been scattered outward by close encounters with the rapid rotation rate of Saturn’s former binary planetary components and captured by Proxima’s resonance nursery. With Proxima at 75.6 AU from the Sun, Proxima’s 3:1 resonance would have been at about 36 AU from the Sun. Alternatively, the dwarf planets may have condensed by GI within Proxima’s inner heliocentric resonant nursery by GI in the same way the asteroids formed in Jupiter’s inner resonant nursery, in which case, perhaps 100 km and larger TNOs were the largest objects formed by the SSB ring (?).
The longevity of both the asteroid belt and Kuiper belt may be due to the shepherding effect of the resonant nurseries between resonances and resonances themselves, particularly in the case of Neptune’s outer 2:3 Plutinos. A small piece of very recent evidence may support the resonant nursery hypothesis. The surface of Vesta is bright compared to the Moon and other celestial bodies without protective atmospheres due to the unusual absence of metal nanoparticle darkening as revealed by the Dawn spacecraft. (Pieters, Ammannito et al., 2012) Meteorite impacts expose streaks of brighter igneous material on celestial bodies, but micrometeorite ‘sputtering’ rather quickly darkens the bright igneous material on most other bodies without protective atmospheres. However, Jupiter’s resonant nursery just beyond the 3:1 resonance may confer protection to Vesta by trapping dust spiraling in toward the Sun due to Poynting-Robertson drag.
Venus’ slight retrograde rotation suggests a minute change following Venus’ synchronization with its orbital period, perhaps due to resonant coupling between Venus’ former super-intense magnetic field following its Venusian merger and the Sun’s former super-intense magnetic field following its own stellar merger. Then the retrograde motion of Venus may be due to the Sun’s slight mass loss due to its hypothesized 3 million year flare-star phase following the LRN at 4,567 Ma. Similar to Earth, Jupiter’s binary merger may have also squirt out polar jets from its rocky-iron core which perhaps condensed within Jupiter’s 5:2 to 3:1 resonant nursery to form 4 Vesta. If so, then Jupiter’s orbit inflation may have continued following the binary merger of its own binary planetary components and the Sun’s binary components in the LRN at 4,567 Ma, perhaps due to a mass loss of the Sun in its flare-star phase or perhaps from magnetic coupling between Jupiter and the Sun, causing the Sun to spin down while lifting Jupiter’s heliocentric orbit. Then 1 Ceres may have condensed by GI after 4 Vesta fell through the 3:1 shepherding resonance from LRN dust and ice after the Sun’s flare-star phase as the snow line gradually moved inward over time into the asteroid belt. Finally, CAIs formed in the LRN may have similarly squirt out of the Sun’s merging binary pair, explaining the canonical isotopic concentration of 26Al in CAIs etc., if Jupiter’s binary merger similarly formed the spallation isotope 26Al as measured in HED meteorites by the decay of 26Mg.
Mercury and Mars are outliers, unexplained by the spin-off fission hypothesis from the Sun. Mars, compared to Earth, has a diminutive size, an elevated volatile content, lower density, smaller core and an oxygen isotope ratio above the terrestrial fractionation line on the 3-oxygen isotope plot, which may point to an unusual origin compared to Earth, but of course since we don’t have meteorites from Mercury or Venus we don’t know that they don’t have equally different fractionation lines compared to Earth. Two competing hypotheses could explain Mercury and Mars:
1) For ‘M&M’ to be SSB ring condensates, Proxima would likely have had to have been formed closer to the Sun, perhaps experiencing a far-more rapid orbit inflation out to 75.6 AU by 4,567 Ma due to resonance coupling between the quadruple-star binary pairs. With similar-sized cores, M&M’s mass to orbital period can not explain both of their fall outs from the SSB, but may explain Mar’s, in which case Mercury’s low orbit may result from an ad hoc close encounter with the rapidly-rotating binary pairs of one of the giant planets, (as much as the author finds ad hoc hypotheses distasteful).
2) Alternatively, if Proxima had formed along side the Sun (say) through trifurcation of a single original collapsing mass with ‘interplay’, then core collapse still may have lifted Proxima out to 75.6 AU by 4,567 Ma, in which case Mercury and Mars could be objects condensed by GI in Proxima’s inner resonances that fell through the 3:1 resonance dependent on their mass and orbital period.
3) Finally, M&M may be spin-off moons spun off from Jupiter’s larger former binary component that spiraled out of Jupiter’s Roche sphere to be captured by the Sun, since a former binary Jupiter appears to be missing 2 spin-off moons. Normalizing Mar’s density with that of Ganymede for cousin spin-off moons would further increase Mar’s initial mass by another 30-40%. Even with a 31% mass inflation of Mars 1.48E24 kg gives a 10:1 mass ration between Mars and Ganymede which is still much less than the 21.7:1 mass ration of Jupiter to Uranus and therefore well within bounds.
Jupiter’s Galilean moons may represent a solar system in miniature with two low-density spin-off moons, Ganymede and Callisto, and two high-density ‘merger-moons’, Io and Europa. As merger-moons spun off in the merger of binary Jupiter, proto-Io and proto-Europa became volatilely depleted like the terrestrial planets Earth and Venus as they orbited inside Jupiter’s expanded ‘red-giant’ phase following its binary merger in their vulnerable, pithy proto-moon phase.
The circular orbits of the binary TNOs of the cold classical Kuiper belt (citation) suggests that close-binary orbits may have a capacity to circularize their orbits in addition to spiraling out due to core collapse. Binary comets and dwarf planets of the Kuiper belt may likewise attempt to circularize their orbits even as they are drawn out toward the SSB, in part due to the tidal influence of the Galactic core which tends to elongate orbits aligned with the Galactic core. Binaries fighting this elongation tendency may spiral in and aqueously differentiate in the Oort cloud, whereupon solitary contact binaries lose their ability to resist increases in orbital eccentricity.
Following the LRN, a highly-reduced Type II debris disk may have replaced the former highly-oxidized Type I protoplanetary disk in the inner solar system, again spiraling in toward the twin focuses of the Sun and SS-barycenter. And once again, a pressure increase at the debris-disk aphelia just beyond the SS-barycenter may have led to GI, condensing proto-comets that frequently bifurcated during gravitational collapse.
Proto-comets also apparently bifurcate, forming binary comets that spiral and merge to form ‘peanut-shaped’ contact binaries that initiate aqueous differentiation. While TNOs may have had sufficient mass for Neptune to steal them from the SSB-tractor, most of the largest comets may have escaped to be carried into the Oort cloud by the SSB-tractor and perhaps only dropped out at 2,500 to 3,000 AU, forming the inner edge of the inner Oort cloud (IOC).
Similar to the pressure increase caused by centrifugal force around the SSB, Jupiter’s inner resonances may have similarly experienced a pressure increase against Jupiter’s inner shepherding resonances, similarly condensing asteroids by GI following the LRN. (Prior to the LRN, Jupiter’s resonances may have been thinly populated with dust and gas from the protoplanetary disk due to the passage of Uranus, Neptune and Saturn, and highly-oxidized presolar Type I material would only condense 100 km and larger planetesimals like the TNOs. The dry condition of chondrites condensed from highly-reduced, LRN solar-plasma Type II material may have resulted from the increased luminosity of the Sun in its flare-star phase following the LRN. And a super-intense solar wind emanating from the flare-star Sun may have propelled chondrules out to the dry, dusty asteroid belt and beyond to the cold, icy SSB belt, explaining the explaining refractory minerals and chondrules found in comets from the ‘Stardust’ sample-return mission to and from comet, Wild 2 (81P/Wild).
The tonalite–trondhjemite–granodiorite (TTG) to granodiorite–granite (GG) transition of comet core composition in the late Archean implies that comets were still condensing at the end of the Archean, likely in Proxima’s inner resonances wafted into the inner Oort cloud by solar wind. And over time as the LRN dust and ice increased in volatility, chlorine concentrations may have increased in comets formed by GI against Proxima’s inner shepherding resonances. As the volatile chlorine concentration rose over time up to the late Archean, the salinity may have risen in comet cores when binary comets spiraled in to merge, initiating aqueous differentiation. KCl is far-more temperature sensitive than NaCl and KCl is also more soluble in water above 35 degrees C. But below about 35 degrees C, NaCl is more soluble, perhaps causing potassium feldspar to precipitate at the cold junction of the ice-water boundary while sequestering sodium in solution, enriching granite in pink K-feldspar in late Archean granites.
S-type granite may be authigenic granite precipitates in aqueously-differentiated comet cores that failed to reach the melting point while the high Gibbs free energy of highly-chemically-reduced Type II dust and ice composing comets more often does reach the melting point of the sedimentary core, forming plutonic I-type granite. Young leucogranites may be syn-collisional granites formed on Earth by tectonic collisions, and young A-type granites may be also be terrestrial remelts formed over terrestrial ‘hot spots’.
At about 182,600 AU, Proxima’s close binary pair merged in a smaller LRN at 542 Ma, ushering in the Cambrian explosion of life on Earth in dwarf-planet oceans. With Proxima at 182,600, the SS-barycenter stalled at 20,000 AU, the SSB-tractor is still at work lifting comets and dwarf planets toward the 20,000 AU SSB into exceedingly eccentric elliptical orbits as the tidal influence of the Galactic core pumps energy but not angular momentum into the sub-SSB orbital comets and dwarf planets. So to conserve angular momentum, as aphelia stretch out to the SSB, perihelia likewise stretch inward to the Sun, bring comets and dwarf planets into the planetary realm of the inner solar system.
If the merger of Proxima’s binary pair in an LRN at 542 Ma precipitated the Cambrian Explosion, then perhaps VCDP mergers at the SS-barycenter have initiated glaciations on Earth, most notably the Marinoan glaciation, ending the Cryogenian period known as ‘Snowball Earth’. A binary dwarf-planet merger might overwhelm the Sun’s heliosphere and the Earth’s magnetosphere, exposing Earth to planetary-merger radiation and Galactic cosmic rays that create increased cloud cover, like the effect of ionizing radiation in a cloud chamber. Increased cloud cover would reflect more of the Sun’s radiation, cooling the Earth, and the resulting ice cover itself would have raised Earth’s albedo, sustaining the period of glaciation. Since carbonate solubility is inversely proportional to ocean temperature, its dissolved concentration would have increased as the oceans cooled. Perhaps the slow-moving debris wave caused solar flares, raising ocean temperatures, and/or perhaps the debris wave debris-wave soot covered glaciers, exposed land mass and even the exposed ocean surface lowering the planet’s albedo, causing the oceans to dump their carbonate load as authigenic cap carbonate. An overshoot of ocean temperature would have increased the dissolved content of the majority of the other mineral and ion species with positive solubility vs. temperature. Then as ocean temperatures cooled back to normal temperatures, the ocean precipitated its dissolved mineral load as authigenic sea-floor cements, which lithified and metamorphosed into argillite facies over the cap carbonate.
CASCADE FORMATION OF SUPER-EARTHS BY HYBRID CORE ACCRETION OF PLANETESIMALS ‘CONDENSED’ BY GRAVITATIONAL INSTABILITY AT THE INNER EDGE OF PROTOPLANETARY DISKS:
Thayne Currie suggests a compelling hybrid mechanism for forming (giant) planets by accretion from a population of 1 km planetesimals, in which the planetesimals are ‘condensed’ by gravitational instability (GI). (Currie, 2005)
Suggested Alterations to Thayne Currie’s Hybrid Model:
1) Planet Type:
This hybrid mechanism may be limited to forming terrestrial super-Earth–type planets and not the cores of gas-giant planets as supposed. Gas planets, including mini-Neptunes, are hypothesized to form by an alternative mechanism, designated, ‘bar-mode isolation’.
2) Hybrid Planetesimal Size:
Presolar (Type I) planetesimals forming super Earths may be vastly larger than the 1 km Dia planetesimal size envisioned. Indeed, comets composed of (Type II) stellar-merger debris may have condensed as small as 1 km Dia as far out as 200 AU, but presolar planetesimals may have condensed at the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk in a size range of (circa) 100 km Dia and larger. Many presolar planetesimals may still reside in the Kuiper belt where they are designated, trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). For this reason, presolar planetesimals forming super Earths and left over presolar planetesimals will be designated, ‘TNO-type planetesimals’, or just ‘TNOs’ for short.
3) Formation Location of TNO-type Planetesimals:
TNOs may have condensed dramatically closer to their host stars than the comets of our early solar system. The density and pressure necessary to form self-gravitating masses capable of condensing by GI in protoplanetary disks with high gas-to-dust ratios may require the assistance of intense ‘pressure dams’ developed by infalling dust and gas against the truncated inner edge of protoplanetary disks. In solitary, young stellar objects (YSOs), the inner edge of protoplanetary disks may be controlled by the corotation radius of YSO magnetic fields. In the case of close-binary YSOs with circumbinary protoplanetary disks, the inner edge may be gravitationally rather than magnetically truncated by a combination of binary-orbit corotation resonances (CRs) and outer Lindblad resonances (OLRs) in the range of 1.8a to 2.6a, where ‘a’ designates the binary-stellar semi-major axis. (Artymowicz and Lubow 1994) Higher binary-stellar eccentricity increases the radius of the inner edge due to the increased strength of higher-order OLRs, so a circumbinary protoplanetary disk with an inner edge as far as 2.6a beyond the stellar barycenter should be quite eccentric.
An accreting super-Earth will attempt to clear its orbit of TNOs, but it may only be successful upon reaching a super-Earth-sized mass. This likely involves a combination of raising the orbits of the remaining TNOs while lowering its own orbit, such that the angular momentum of the TNO reservoir including the mass of the super Earth remains constant in the closed system.
Two alternatives come to mind for forming Cascades of super-Earth-sized exoplanets smaller than Neptune. The first is that the vast majority of TNOs condense at the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk prior to the growth by core accretion of a cascade of super-Earths from the initial TNO reservoir. Alternatively, the mass of super-Earths at their orbital periods may be sufficient to ‘open up a gap’ in the protoplanetary disk, in essence, clearing their orbits of dust and gas as well as TNO-type planetesimals. In this alternative case, TNOs may condense in cascades over time as a progression of super-Earths pushes the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk further and further out; however, this alternative mechanism might tend to require increasingly-larger super-Earths to ‘open up a gap’ in the protoplanetary disk at larger orbital periods, perhaps resulting in more of a size progression of super-Earths.
Gas-giant binary ‘spin-off planets’ formed by GI from may disrupt the cascade of super-Earths as they spiral out from their progenitor stars, perhaps stalling and squeezing in between existing super-Earths. And rates of spiral-out ‘orbit inflation’ may vary orders of magnitude between binary gas-giant planets spiraling out from solitary stars and those spiraling out from binary stars, due to the with the advantage of binary-binary resonant coupling, such our four spin-off planets, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter may have quickly bypassed our only stunted super-Earth, Mars, without significantly altering its semi-major axis; however, the first spin-off planet out of the stellar realm, Neptune, may have cleared out the remaining TNOs with its outer resonances.
By comparison, a vastly slower rate of orbit inflation of binary gas-giant planets spiraling out from solitary stars may significantly disrupt the semi-major axes of super-Earths in the act of overrunning them in slow motion.
Finally, Mini-Neptune-sized spin-off planets may be confused with super-Earths of similar mass where planetary density or spectroscopic data are unavailable to distinguish between ‘terrestrial’ super-Earths and gas-/ice-planet mini-Neptunes.
This raises the question of the origins of our hypothesized former, binary companion star, Proxima (Centauri), prior to spiraling out into the Oort cloud. Proxima is hypothesized to have orbited at about 75 AU from the Sun at 4,567 Ma when our binary Sun is hypothesized to have spiraled in and merged in a luminous red nova (LRN), but whether Proxima originally formed as a wide-binary 10s of AU from our former binary Sun or whether a solitary protostar fragmented repeatedly causing binary Proxima to spiral out from its central progenitor, collecting the vast majority of TNOs in its outer resonances along the way is unknown, but this second scenario is preferred. A single progenitor star could explain the distance of the Martian orbit if Mars was carried to its current distance from the Sun before falling through Proxima’s resonances, as the resonant strength decreased in intensity with distance. If so, then the Kuiper-belt TNOs either condensed after Proxima spiraled past them or Proxima’s resonances were leaky, leaving TNOs behind for Neptune to shepherd out in its outer resonances. And Proxima may have continued to condense TNOs prior to 4,567 Ma as it rapidly spiraled out to 75 AU on the strength of its binary-Sun–binary-Proxima resonant coupling.
Cascades of super-Earths tend to exhibit adjacent orbital-period ratios of 1:3 to 2:3; however, the outermost super-Earth tends to have a higher orbital-period ratio, somewhat reminiscent of a single steel ball bearing bouncing off the end of a train of ball bearings in a ‘Newton’s cradle’ arrangement. And similarly, perhaps the spin-down energy and angular momentum of the central star transfers through super-Earth cascades to the inflate the orbit of the outermost super-Earth, accounting for its typically higher orbital-period ratio.
Tau Ceti and HD 40307 are apparently five and six super-Earth exoplanet star systems, respectively, formed inside out by resonance cascades of condensed planetesimals that accreted to form super Earths. These two systems appear to be uncomplicated by stellar mergers or spin-off planets.
HD 10180 may be a former binary star stellar components spiraled in and merged like our Sun, with:
4 spin-off planets (e, f, g and h),
3 super-Earth-sized planets (c, d and j), and
2 merger-planets (b and i)
Finally, aqueously-differentiated gneiss-dome TNO cores may be visible on Mars in a number of chasmas and impact basins (Melas Chasma, Hellas Planitia, the central uplift in Becquerel Crater and etc.) where prevailing winds have removed sand dunes, revealing Mars’ internal composition.
FORMATION OF TRANS-NEPTUNIAN OBJECTS (TNOs), COMETS AND ASTEROIDS BY GRAVITATIONAL INSTABILITY:
Matese et al. calculated the aphelia and direction of long period comets and concluded: “The results support a conjecture that there exists a companion of mass ~ 1 − 4 MJupiter orbiting in the innermost region of the outer Oort cloud.” (Matese and Whitmire, 2011) Alternatively, this section argues that typical long-period comet aphelia distances of 20,000 AU may be influenced by the solar-system barycenter (SS-barycenter) between solar-companion, Proxima (Centauri), and the Sun, prior to Proxima’s recent close encounter with the passing star, Alpha Centauri. John J. Matese et al. have discovered that Oort cloud comets with about 20,000 aphelia (and perihelia in the planetary realm where they become visible) are distributed on a plane inclined about 103 degrees (nearly perpendicular) to the Galactic plane. Comets with 20,000 AU aphelia and 10,000 AU semi-major axes have an orbital period of about 1 million years.
Heliocentric elliptic(al) orbits have one ‘near’ focus at the Sun and symmetrical ‘far’ focus. The simplest explanation for the typical 20,000 aphelia with extremely-high eccentricity approaching 1 that dip into the planetary realm at perihelia may be a new physical principle that tends to force ‘aphelia-foci’ to the SS-barycenter.
The stationary action of the Lagrangian conservation of kinetic and potential energy determines the shape of elliptical orbits, but a second conserved Lagrangian pair of complementary energies may tend to pull long-period comets in lower orbits out to the SS-barycenter, acting as an aphelia-foci attractor of long-period Oort cloud comets. The kinetic energy of the centrifugal force of the Sun orbiting the SS-barycenter (which reaches a maximum at comet perihelia) and the potential energy of the gravitational attraction of Proxima (which reaches a maximum at comet aphelia) may constitute the second Lagrangian pair of conserved energies acting through the SS-barycenter, and Oort cloud orbits with aphelia less than 20,000 will experience greater centrifugal force than gravitational attraction to Proxima, tending to stretch their major axes out to the aphelia-focus of the SS-barycenter in order to balance the second Hamiltonian force pair acting through the SS-barycenter.
The planer daisy-rosette of the long-period comets with about 20,000 aphelia shows that Proxima is unable to exert a significant degree of aphelia precession, perhaps due to the significant degree of linear momentum of the incoming and outgoing ‘legs’ of highly-eccentric orbits. At the SS-barycenter, an object is about 1/9.13 the distance to Proxima, and Proxima has about about 1/9.13 the mass of the Sun, so the ratio of gravitational attraction of Proxima to that of the Sun at the SS-barycenter is about (1/9.13)^2(1/9.13) = 1/761. And since this figure is constant with distance, even for the early days of the solar system, Proxima was as unlikely to have caused aphelia precession on solid bodies then as today; however, the viscosity and friction of the dense accretion disk may have aligned the accretion disk with the Sun-Proxima axis, resulting in aphelia precession in the early years.
The Sun-Proxima period around the SS-barycenter at 20,000 AU is 73.6 Myr, just about twice the period of the 36±2 Myr periodicity of >100 km impacts on Earth as discovered by Eugene Shoemaker, so long-period comet orbits with aphelia in the neighborhood of 20,000 AU which do not precess with the SS- barycenter must receive a kick twice per solar orbit around the SS-barycenter, causing long-period comets to spiral in toward the two foci. And the kick must come from outside the solar system since the daisy rosette of comet aphelia describes a symmetrical plane within the solar system. This external influence is most likely from the gravitational tidal influence of the Galactic core. This is a classic example of the Michelson Morley experiment in which a more parallel alignment with the Galactic core would result in a greater lag (greater rate of spiral in) of comet periods than a more perpendicular alignment with the Galactic core.
The present angular difference between the intersection of the ecliptic plane with the Galactic plane and the intersection of the long-period-comet plane with the Galactic plane is about 55.8 degrees (calculation). And the tilt of the ecliptic from perpendicular to the Galactic plane is about 40 degrees while the tilt of the long-period comet plane from perpendicular to the Galactic plane is only about 13 degrees. If maximum bombardment of Earth and Venus with long-period Oort cloud objects occurs when the three planes are relatively aligned, then the 13 degree inclination of long-period orbits to the Galactic plane should make the present a relatively quiescent period; however, the inclination of the best fit long-period plane to the ecliptic plane is only about 23 degrees with about a 45 degree phase offset as gleaned from Fig. 6, Persistent Evidence of a Jovian Mass Solar Companion in the Oort Cloud, (Matese and Whitmire, 2011).
Vesta-sized or Vesta-class dwarf planets (VCDPs) are defined as dwarf planets carried into the Oort cloud by Proxima’s 5:2 to 3:1 inner-resonant nursery, the same resonant nursery that includes the largest asteroid, 1 Ceres, and formerly may have contained the second most massive asteroid 4 Vesta. 4 Vesta is hypothesized to have fallen through the 3:1 shepherding resonance of Jupiter in the early years of the solar system when Jupiter’s orbit was raised slightly, perhaps by slowing the Sun’s rapid early rotation rate through magnetic interactions. Proxima is hypothesized to have spiraled out from the Sun in the first 4 billion years before the spiral-in merger of its former binary components at a solar distance of 182,600 AU and 542 Ma. (See section, COMPANION STAR, PROXIMA (CENTAURI) for calculations.)
A majority of dwarf planets may have spiraled out into Proxima’s resonant nursery in the years following the LRN when Proxima’s own orbit inflation was at its minimum but resonant coupling between binary objects and binary Proxima may have perturbed binary objects to spiral out and catch Proxima’s inner 3:1 resonance. Prior to 4,567 Ma, Proxima itself was presumably at its highest orbit-inflation rate due to its resonant coupling with binary Sun, so Proxima may have remained ahead of binary GI objects until after 4,567 Ma. With Proxima at 75.6 AU from the Sun, dwarf planets would have had to spiral out from their formation distance of under 8 AU out to 36.3 AU to reach Proxima’s 3:1 resonance. Once having reached Proxima’s 5:2 to 3:1 inner resonant nursery, the affect of the 5:2 shepherding resonance may have been greater than that of binary resonant coupling, causing binary dwarf planets, now designated VCDPs, to spiral outward in concert with Proxima until their mass x orbital-period caused them to fall through the 3:1 resonance like 4 Vesta at Jupiter.
So far, 90377 Sedna is the only confirmed VCDP. VCDPs may form in two alternative pathways by gravitational instability (GI), either by spinning off from larger proto-planets, likely during fragmentation due to excess angular momentum, or by GI directly from high-pressure concentrations of dust and gas from the protoplanetary disk at aphelia beyond the solar-system barycenter (SS-barycenter), as we shall see. By either GI formation mechanism, fragmentation during gravitational contraction may have allowed dwarf planets to spiral out into Proxima’s strongest resonant nursery by resonant coupling with Proxima’s close-binary pair.
Long-period barycenter-aphelia objects (including comets and VCDPs) on CCW orbits like the planets that spiral down into the planetary realm with their perihelia at a shallow inclination to the invariable plane will first encounter the trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) of the Kuiper belt at perihelia speeds about 40% greater than TNOs in comparatively circular orbits. With repeated circulations through the Kuiper belt, VCDPs may accrete 100 km and larger Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) which would decrease the specific angular momentum and specific energy of the VCDPs, also decreasing their orbital period and aphelia. Contact-binary TNOs that had previously spiraled in to merge and initiate aqueous differentiation may be the origin of (mantled) gneiss domes on Earth transported by VCDPs to Earth.
Terrestrial craters of >100 km diameter show a periodicity of 36±2 Myr, as discovered by Eugene Shoemaker, which is half of the hypothesized 73.6 Myr orbit of Sun/Proxima around the SS-barycenter. Orbits precessing with the SS-barycenter of 20,000 AU and greater will have their major axes more or less aligned with the Galactic core twice per solar orbit around the barycenter and also be more or less perpendicular with the Galactic core twice per solar orbit. Other than at close encounters with passing stars, parallel alignment of eccentric orbits with the Galactic core may tend to inflate the orbits while alignment between parallel and perpendicular may tend to torque the orbits. And orbits pinned to the SS-barycenter by their aphelia-focus may be forced to spiral in toward the Sun and SS-barycenter under the influence of torque by the Galactic core. So in the Sun/Proxima orbit around the SS-barycenter, the two points most perpendicular to the Galactic core of planetesimals precessing with the SS-barycenter may represent the points (with 36 Myr intervals) of most-intense bombardment on the inner solar system by long-period planetesimals. Pinning cirm-SS-barycenter planetesimal orbits to the aphelia-foci reduces the degrees of freedom from 5 to 3.
‘Hard’ close binaries may be capable of circularizing their heliocentric orbits and resisting external torque with the angular momentum of their close-binary components. The evidence for relatively-circular heliocentric orbits comes from the cold-classical TNO population of the Kuiper belt in (cold) low-eccentricity and low-inclination orbits which are typically binaries compared to the ‘warm’ classical population in higher-eccentricity and higher-inclination orbits which are typically solitaries. Additionally, the doughnut shape of the inner Oort cloud (IOC) indicates stability of the solar system prior to the hypothesized merger of Proxima’s close binary pair at about 542 Ma if binary Proxima formed the IOC as it spiraled out from the SS-barycenter. Similar evidence is lacking for circularizing influence of soft wide binaries, but if the wide-binary Sun-Proxima pair is similarly circularizing the orbit of the solar system around the Galactic core, then perturbations to the solar system since 542 Ma may torque the Sun-Proxima angular-momentum vector to circularize the solar system around the Galactic core, perhaps resulting in increased angular changes between the Sun–SS-barycenter–Proxima vector and the Galactic core since 542 Ma. That is, the Sun-Proxima to Sun–Galactic-core angle may be in flux since 542 Ma if the Sun-Proxima wide-binary is now the binary pair that’s resisting external torque to the solar system’s orbit around the Galactic core.
“For a given semi-major axis the specific orbital energy is independent of the eccentricity.” (Wikipedia, Elliptic Orbit) Thus the Galactic core may extract energy as well as angular momentum from orbits pinned to the SS-barycenter by their aphelia-focus as comet and VCDP orbits spiral in toward the foci, increasing their eccentricity while decreasing their angular momentum.
If the SS-barycenter between Proxima and the Sun defines the boundary between the inner Oort cloud (IOC) and the outer Oort cloud (OOC), its influence may have been vastly greater in the early years of the solar system when the SS-barycenter was still in the planetary realm when the SS-barycenter may have shaped the accretion disk and condensed TNOs and comets by gravitational instability (GI).
The SS-barycenter may have subverted the accretion disk into an elliptical orbit around the central, binary stellar pair (our former binary Sun) with its ‘far focus’ attracted to the SS-barycenter, designated the “far SS-barycenter focus’. As the dust and gas of the accretion disk spiraled in, the spiraling-in orbits may have become increasingly eccentric in order to circumscribe the far SS-barycenter focus, beyond which the gas pressure may have reached the point of promoting ‘planetesimal condensation’ by GI.
As the central binary pair spiraled in, decreasing the period of the binary stellar components, orbit inflation of binary planets and binary Proxima may have accelerated due to the increasing rate of resonances between binary pairs, and as the stellar atmospheres of the central binary pair merged into a common envelope, the outward angular momentum transfer may have exceeded what the binary planets and binary Proxima could absorb as increasing friction steadily raised the temperature of the binary spiral in, creating a super-intense solar wind. And the increasing intensity of the solar wind may have diffused the volatile gaseous component of the presolar outward, leaving behind a granular dust component, which may have allowed gravitational instability (GI) to operate at aphelia where the temperature and speed reached its minimum and the dust pressure reached its maximum. 100 km and larger TNOs may have formed prior to the stellar merger of the central binary pair from highly-oxidized, presolar ‘Type I’ dust and ice grains, while smaller, 1-20 km comets may have formed afterward from highly-reduced Type II dust and ice grains condensed from solar plasma.
During gravitational collapse, excess angular momentum may have caused a large percentage of TNOs and comets to bifurcate to form binary objects. And the binary objects may have partially circularized their orbits at the expense of the energy and angular momentum of their close-binary components. And thus, binary objects may have had the ability to spiral out from the highly-eccentric innermost orbit where gas pressure was the highest in the protoplanetary disk. Conceivably, VCDP-sized dwarf planets may have spiraled out from the SS-barycenter into Proxima’s 5:2 to 3:1 resonant nursery as binary Proxima itself spiraled out, and perhaps resonant coupling between small binary objects and binary Proxima accelerated the rate of small-object orbit inflation, allowing Proxima to capture VCDPs and smaller binary objects in its resonant nurseries.
If chondrules are dust grains melted in solar flares during the flare-star phase of the Sun following the LRN, then small relatively uniform chondrule size may constrain dust-grain size and argue for GI and against core accretion as the mechanism for TNO and comet formation. The frequent oblong or ‘peanut shape’ of asteroids and comets, suggesting contact binaries where fragmentation occurred during proto-comet gravitational collapse, along with the low-density ‘rubble pile’ nature of comets also weighs in on the side of GI. Arguing against core accretion, the violence of impacting planetesimals during core accretion would have likely have initiated at least partial aqueous differentiation, forming aqueously precipitated mineral grains and rock going back toward 4,567 Ma. Instead, most mineral grains and bulk rock in TTG, granite plutons (from differentiated comet cores) and gneiss domes (from differentiated TNOs) is far younger.
Solar plasma may have condensed on nebular dust grains at aphelia, increasing their girth and stickiness. But at perihelia, elevated temperatures may have burning off much of the solar condensates to form more refractory compounds, creating dust-grain cinders that formed CI chondrites, devoid of chondrules prior to stellar merger. And indeed, this mechanism of eccentric orbits around the Sun with the SS-barycenter at the far focus explains mixed low- and high-temperature compounds as discovered by Stardust, the comet sample return mission from the coma of comet Wild 2.
Indications of phyllosilicates and carbonates, suggestive of aqueous alteration (aqueous differentiation), were found on comet Tempel 1 (official designation 9P/Tempel with dimensions of 7.6 x 4.9 km); whereas in the sample return mission from comet Wild 2 (official designation 81P/Wild, with dimensions of 5.5 x 3.3 km), no phyllosilicates or carbonates were found and yet both comets are oblong in dimensions, suggesting merged ‘contact binaries’. The size difference between the two comets may contain the threshold for aqueous differentiation, or alternatively, perhaps aqueous differentiation products are internally confined in Wild 2. “Carbonates are common in hydrous meteorites and hydrous interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), where they are believed to have formed by parent-body aqueous processing.” (Flynn et al., 2008)
Following the merger of the central binary components in an LRN at 4,567 Ma, the flare-star phase of the Sun following its binary merger may have intermittently melted dust-grain aggregates to form chondrules which cooled as they raced away from the Sun on the outgoing eccentric leg toward aphelia, thus chondrites containing chondrules (other than CI chondrites) formed after the LRN from LRN condensates. Chondrites contain CAIs as well as chondrules. CAIs may have formed in super-high velocity polar jets emanating from the core of the merging central binary pair during the LRN, explaining the canonical 26Al/27Al ratio in CAIs compared to the steadily diminishing ratio in chondrules formed over the next 3 million years during the flare-star phase of the Sun. So apparently, giant planets, CI chondrites and TNOs formed prior to 4,567 Ma while terrestrial planets, chondrites and comets containing chondrules formed afterward.
With Proxima at about 75 AU at 4,567 Ma, the SS-barycenter would have been at about 75 AU / 9.13 (ratio of Proxima’s mass to the Sun’s mass) = 8.2 AU, below the orbit of Saturn, assuming Saturn had spiraled out to its current location by then. So as Proxima continued spiraling out, the SS-barycenter spiraled out 1/9.13 as quickly, bathing Saturn and its moons in granular dust, chondrules and comets. Ice that condensed at aphelia beyond the SS-barycenter at Saturn’s orbital distance may be the origin of the ice in Saturn’s rings, along with granular dust.
Jupiter, the inner terrestrial planets and their moons apparently orbited through the highly-eccentric, inner, Sun–SS-barycenter foci orbits as well, likely accreting a vanishingly-thin veneer of ‘chondritic’ material, but Saturn may have been the greatest beneficiary in its orbit through the coolest and slowest-moving portion of the orbit at aphelia, just beyond the far focus of the SS-barycenter. So the hydrocarbons on Titan’s surface may have been largely contributed by granular dust and chondrite impacts, and the dark hemisphere of the tidally-locked moon, Iapetus, may have accreted at this period on Iapetus’ leading face.
Over time, the SS-barycenter may have spiraled out to Uranus at about 4,131 Ma and reached Neptune by 3,900 Ma, explaining the timing of the late heavy bombardment (LHB), also known as the lunar cataclysm. Older melt breccias from the Apollo 16 landing site have ages ranging from 4.09 to 4.14 billion years old (Taylor, 2006), which may be explained by the earlier encounter with Uranus, resulting in the bimodal distribution of LHB breccias. Hellas Planitia on Mars, a 2,300 km wide impact basin, is thought to have to have occurred during the LHB and appears to be composed of multiple plutons in the ‘complex banded terrain’, likely composed of TTG plutons.
The earliest comets in the lowest perihelia orbits during the flare-star phase of our Sun may have suffered significant volatile depletion of chlorine and other volatiles and thus wouldn’t have sequestered sufficient NaCl and KCl in aqueous solution during aqueous differentiation to have precipitated sufficient ‘pink’ K-feldspar to form granite. In comets formed at greater distances from the Sun sufficient to condense nearly solar concentrations of chlorine, aqueously differentiated comets with (former) salt-water oceans in their cores that were saturated with both KCl and NaCl.
But since KCl solubility is far more temperature dependent than NaCl, KCl solubility drops below NaCl solubility at temperatures below about 35 degrees C near the ice-water boundary where the leucosome minerals in granite are hypothesized to precipitate, and so pink K-feldspar may dominate the precipitation of feldspars in comets formed sufficiently far from the Sun.
“About 90% of the juvenile continental crust generated between 4.0 and 2.5 Ga belongs to ‘TTG suites’ (tonalites, trondhjemites, and granodiorites; Jahn et al., 1981; Martin et al., 1983″. (Martin et al., 2005) “The shift from TTG-dominated to GG-dominated continental crust was a gradual transition that took place over several hundred million years” [in the late Archean]. (Frost and Frost et al., 2006) So by around 2.5 Ga, the SS-barycenter may have reached comets formed at distances sufficient to condense nearly solar concentrations of chlorine. 2.5 Ga corresponds to a Proxima distance from the Sun of about 4127 AU and a SS-barycenter distance from the Sun of about 452 AU.
The beginning of the IOC between 2500 AU (1616 Ma) to 3000 AU (1522 Ma) may perhaps correspond to a chance close encounter of a passing star which caused the SS-barycenter to disappear as it has at present due to the close encounter of Alpha Centauri, allowing a large component of planetesimals formerly tied to the SS-barycenter to escape.
Earth impacts of long-period Oort cloud objects, including VCDPs, may be far-more likely during intervals when the Sun-Proxima plane and the ecliptic plane tend to coincide and when Earth’s eccentricity is at its lowest ebb in its Milankovitch cycles.
In the limit for elliptic orbits approaching 1 in eccentricity, the perihelia and aphelia orbital sections approach a circular hemisphere of almost 180 degrees which can be visualized in the ‘pen and string’ method of constructing ellipses where the angle between the two longest legs approaches zero.
Earth and Venus have the lowest average eccentricities of the planets and their relatively large mass and diameter per semi-major axis increase the cross-section (probability) of collision. Even so, Jupiter’s overwhelming mass and diameter more than make up for its greater eccentricity and semi-major axis, making Jupiter the most likely collision target of all in the inner solar system.
If the inclination of long-period Oort cloud objects in CCW orbits falls within the terrestrial inclination of 1.58 degrees or the Venusian inclination of 2.19 degrees, comets and VCDPs may line up with Earth or Venus for almost half of their planetary orbits, and their 40% higher speed have a 20% chance of overtaking a planet or TNO when the inclination is matched and the eccentricity is nearly zero. Mercury and Mars are far more likely to be spared an impact due to their smaller diameters and lower gravities, but primarily due to their higher eccentricities. Planets with higher orbital eccentricities will at best only match up with long-period objects at two points (actually two short segments of their orbits); whereas planets in more circular orbits, like Venus and Earth, at best may match up with almost half of their orbits or progressively less than half their orbits for increasingly mismatched inclinations and eccentricities. The additional orbital motions of moons around their planets (including our own Moon) makes possible only point encounters between long-period planetesimals and moons. And the low
.32 degree inclination of Jupiter and
.93 degree inclination of Saturn and
1.02 degree inclination for Uranus and
.72 degree inclination for Neptune
vs. 1.58 degree inclination for Earth
and 2.19 degree inclination for Venus (depending on their Milankovitch cycles)
may allow a few tenths of a degree inclination of long-period objects above and below the invariable plane, allowing long-period objects to miss Jupiter. Additionally, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus have higher eccentricities than Earth (but less than Mars) with only Neptune having a similarly low eccentricity, but Neptune’s large semi-major axis significantly reduces its effective cross-section..
An alignment of all three planes, the invariable plane (or the ecliptic), the Sun-Proxima plane and the Galactic plane may cause the highest flux of long-period objects into the inner solar system with a maximum tidal force from the Galactic core as well as the best alignment with the invariable plane. Alignment could explain closely-spaced extinction events, such as during the Devonian period with extinction intervals of about 5 million years. But close encounters of planetesimals with the giant planets during perihelia ‘spiral-in’ may tend to flatten somewhat due to ‘swing-by’ (also known as ‘gravitational slingshot’ and ‘gravity assist maneuver’) whereby an object can attain a speed change with respect to the Sun and an angular deflection to the invariable plane as well.
Venus has two large continent-sized features of sizes that would require many hypothesized VCDP cores on Earth unless they spread out more on Venus. ‘Aphrodite Terra’ is the largest raised continental feature which is about the size of Africa and ‘Ishtar Terra’ is between the size of Australia and the continental United States. Aphrodite Terra has two main sections which suggests at least 3 total Vesta-class impacts, and Venus is also considered to have had a global resurfacing event in last 300-500 Myr, which may have merged multiple Vesta-class cores into the two continental-sized features. So Venus may be littered with Oort cloud aqueous-fauna fossils such as those of the Burgess shale, whereas Mars may not.
Volatile depletion of spin-off fission objects is hypothesized to progressively increase with each succeeding ‘generation’, including siderophile and chalcophile depletions due to sequestration in the cores of progenitor generations. And since ‘merger-objects’ spun off in binary mergers are less likely to spiral out of their progenitors’ Roche spheres than ‘spin-off objects’ spun off from gravitationally-collapsing proto-objects, spin-off dwarf planets are assumed to be spin-off objects (see section, FORMATION OF STARS, PLANETS, DWARF PLANETS AND COMETS BY SPIN-OFF FISSION for details on ‘merger-objects’ and ‘spin-off objects’); however, the vast majority of dwarf planets are likely to be ‘GI-objects’ that condense directly from the super concentration of dust and gas that back up just beyond the SS-barycenter.
In large spiral-in binary mergers such as binary Jupiter, polar jets of highly-enriched siderophile elements, including highly-enriched platinum-group elements (PGE) and chalcophile elements may condense and accrete (within resonant nurseries) to form super-dense objects like perhaps, 4 Vesta. But without resonant nurseries to shepherd condensed material and permit core accretion, Poynting–Robertson drag would cause condensed material to spiral in towards the Sun. Vesta may have accreted from this Jovian core material while in Jupiter’s 5:2 to 3:1 resonant nursery, and then Vesta apparently fell through the 3:1 ‘shepherding resonance’ as Jupter climbed slightly in heliocentric orbit as its magnetic interaction with the Sun caused the Sun to ‘spin down’, transferring solar rotational energy and angular momentum to planetary orbital energy and angular momentum, gradually slowing the Sun’s rotation.
VCDPs pinned to the SS-barycenter that spiral in to the inner solar system may sweep up 100 km diameter and larger trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) as they orbit through the Kuiper belt at perihelia at speeds up to 40% faster than Kuiper belt objects, and like Earth and Venus, VCDPs will tend to best align with objects in circular orbits with low eccentricity, i.e. binary and former-binary cold-classical TNOs. Furthermore, the slow spiral in of VCDPs may stir up the binary TNO population from close orbital encounters, causing perturbed TNOs to expend binary energy recircularizing their orbits, and some perturbed binary TNOs may spiral in and merge, initiating aqueous differentiation.
LUMINOUS RED NOVA (LRN) ISOTOPES:
Oxygen with its 3 isotopes grants a particularly useful window into the formation of early solar system materials. If excess 16O was created by helium burning in the luminous red nova (LRN) merger of the close binary pair (binary sun) then the ratio of the two heavier isotopes to 16O (17O/16O and 18O/16O) plotted against one another on the oxygen three-isotope graph provides a good indicator for the degree of LRN contamination. Additionally, the degree of mass fractionation can be inferred by the slope of materials plotted on the graph, and the combination of the two effects helps to determine homogeneity or heterogeneity of early solar system materials and the relationships of various materials to one another.
CI chondrites plot in a tight grouping in the upper right hand corner of the oxygen three-isotope graph, whereas carbonaceous chondrite anhydrous minerals (CCAM) plot on a 1 slope toward the lower left corner of the graph. The 1 slope of CCAM merely indicates perfect mixing with no mass fractionation due to chemical reactions with rapid temperature gradients, while the shift towards the lower left of the graph indicates 16O (LRN) enrichment.
The ultra-high rate of jostling between atoms and molecules in a liquid state (aqueous or magma) on earth compared to mineral condensation in the near vacuum of interplanetary space provides many orders of magnitude greater opportunity for chemical reactions to occur within the ‘fractionation temperature window’ due to chemical reactions with far-lower temperature gradients. The result is that almost total mass fractionation occurs in a liquid state (which plots with 1/2 slope on the oxygen three-isotope graph) while almost total mixing occurs in a condensation state (which plots with 1 slope on the oxygen three-isotope graph). (Mars rock also plots with a 1/2 slope above the TFL on the oxygen three-isotope plot, indicating formation from a slightly different 17O/18O reservoir.)
Over the 3 million years following the LRN, presolar material may have swirled back into the inner solar system, raising the 18O/16O and 17O/16O ratios over time as these increasingly presolar isotope ratios incorporated themselves into chondrules and chondrites. And the ultra-intense magnetic field of the flare-star phase of the sun following the LRN may have melted interplanetary dust aggregates to form the chondrules.
The LRN may have formed a majority or all of the SRs of our early solar system by (helium burning, r-process and alpha-process) nucleosynthesis : 7Be, 10Be, 14C, 22Na, 26Al, 36Cl, 41Ca, 44Ti, 53Mn, 54Mn, 60Fe, 63Ni, 91Nb, 92Nb, 107Pd, 129I, 146Sm, 182Hf and 244Pu, and also enriched the sun with stable isotopes, 12C, 14N and 16O. These LRN isotopes represent enriched solar, not depleted chondrite.
Possible evidence for the high velocities necessary to create spallation nuclides in LRNe may have been found in LRN PTF10fqs from a spiral arm of Messier 99. The breadth of the Ca II emission line may indicate two divergent flows, a high-velocity polar flow (~ 10,000 km/s) and a high-volume, but slower equatorial flow. (Kasliwal, Kulkarni et al. 2011) Some of the SRs may have been created by spallation in the high-velocity polar outflow of the LRNe, particularly 7Be and 10Be, since beryllium is known to be consumed rather than produced within stars.
The solar wind is ~40% poorer in 15N than earth’s atmosphere as discovered by the Genesis mission. (Marty, Chaussidon, Wiens et al. 2011) The same mission discovered that the sun is depleted in D, 17O, 18O by ~7% compared to all rocky materials in the inner solar system. (McKeegan, Kallio, Heber et al. 2011) “[T]he 13C/12C ratio of the Earth and meteorites may be considerably enriched in 13C compared to the ratio observed in the solar wind.” (Nuth, J. A. et al., 2011)
Until the details of nucleosynthesis in various-size stellar merger LRNe, we will have to draw indirect conclusions from anomalous solar enrichment and depletion compared to presolar CI chondrites and neighboring stars of similar size and age in accordance with principles of galactic chemical evolution.
Our sun appears to be enriched in at least three primary isotopes: 12C, 16O and 28Si, compared to their secondary s-process isotopes: 13C, 17O-and-18O and 29Si-and-30Si respectively. Oxygen-16 is a primary isotope which should decrease over time in the galaxy as the secondary 17O and 18O increase over time, but instead, the sun is enriched with 16O/18O compared to the solar neighborhood, lending support for a solar LRN. Additionally, the 18O/17O ratio of the interstellar medium today is about 3.5 compared to the solar value of 5.2. (Meyer et al., 2008)
The several suspected LRNe that have been observed to date indicate that they reach a higher luminosity than white-dwarf novae. Novae reach temperatures of (2-3)x10^8 K (Nittler and Hoppe, 2005), but stellar merger LRNe may bear some semblance to the far-hotter Type II supernovae (SNe) due to the substantial gravitational collapse occurring in both cases. And like SNe, LRNe may radiate most of their gravitational energy in the form of neutrinos, facilitating gravitational collapse. If the LRN created the silicon anomaly of our sun, then peak core temperatures may have reached several billions of Kelvins, enabling the alpha process to create excess 28Si. The list of enriched alpha process elements in ‘Type II’ LRN material: 12C, 16O, 20Ne, 24Mg, 28Si, 32S, 36Ar, 40Ca, 44Ti, 48Cr, 52Fe, 56Ni and 60Zn.
The significant 28Si isotope enrichment of our solar system compared with older, presolar, mainstream silicon-carbide (SiC) grains in carbonaceous chondrites is evident on a oxygen three-isotope graph where solar values plot to the lower left corner of the grouping of mainstream SiC grains. (Nittler and Hoppe, 2005, Fig. 2) However, glalactic chemical evolution (GCE) predicts a trend over time toward the heavier secondary isotopes, 29Si and 30Si, so our solar system bucks this trend, apparently having been reset by some mechanism. Presolar X-type SiC grains from SNe plot far below even the solar value, suggesting the possibility of a high-degree of supernova contamination to explain away the solar 28Si enrichment; however, supernova grains are only 1% as prevalent as mainstream grains in solar-system chondrites which is insufficient to explain this enrichment. So again we come back to an LRN as the most likely cause of solar enrichment.
The SR 26Al from the early solar system has been suggested as a SN input near in place and time to the early solar system, perhaps even initiating the gravitational collapse of our protosun. But this local supernova hypothesis has difficulty explaining the canonical ratio of 26Al to 27Al in Ca-Al-rich inclusions (CAIs), whereas an LRN solar origin requires it.
Another difficulty for an SN source is the general 17O enrichment in oxygen-rich presolar grains, unlike the 16O enrichment of our sun. (Nittler, 2005) So an ad-hoc mass-independent theory was developed to explain the solar 16O enrichment which involves self-shielding of CO from ultraviolet photo-dissociation in molecular clouds and/or the early solar system. The LRN model, by comparison, creates the 16O enrichment directly and also neatly explains the solar 16O enrichment compared to the presolar planetary-accretion-disk.
Additional evidence against a local supernova input is the extreme heterogeneity of isotopes (e.g., 12C/13C = 5–10,000) in presolar grains of supernova origin that formed with live 44Ti with a 50 year half life. (Nittler, 2005)
Finally, the LRN may have also have burned enough hydrogen and helium in the LRN to raise the metallicity of our sun compared to nearby stars of similar age and galactocentric distance. Our sun at its present 8.5 kpc galactocentric distance corresponds to stars of solar age having formed at 6.6 +- 0.9 kpc (Wielen Fuchs and Dettbarn)
FORMER COMPANION STAR, PROXIMA (CENTAURI):
Note: Italicised paragraphs have been updated
Proxima (Centauri), with an estimated age of 4.85 Ga, presently has escape velocity from the Sun, but this section will show that Proxima has the right mass to have sculpted the outer boundary of the outer Oort cloud (OOC) while similarly sculpting the outer boundary of the inner Oort cloud (IOC) by way of the former Sun/Proxima solar-system barycenter (SSB), with an orbital period of about 60 Myr, 2 times 30 Ma which is one of several periods that emerge when plotting the age of well-dated impact craters on Earth (Matese et al, 1998). Additionally, as former ‘binary-Proxima’ spiraled out of the inner solar system in its early years, the SSB crossing of Uranus followed by Neptune explains the cause and timing of the bimodal peaks in the late heavy bombardment (LHB) of the inner solar system, also known as the lunar cataclysm.
Then a very-close approach of Proxima to the smaller ‘A’ component of binary Alpha Centauri would have administered barycentric orbital kicks to Proxima. And if Alpha Centauri approached Proxima on the side in which the orbital kicks increased Proxima’s speed with respect to Alpha, the kicks would have a feedback tendency, increasing the duration of Alpha’s close approach, thereby increasing the total gravity assist in the manor in which binary objects are able to capture satellites. This binary capture mechanism may have been the means by which the former binary giant planets of our solar system captured a majority of their numerous satellites during the spiral out crossing of the SSB over their planetary orbits in turn.
Evidence in favor of Proxima as a former companion star to the Sun:
- Proxima age, estimated at 4.85 Ga
- Proxima may have indirectly populated the Oort cloud with planetesimals of the inner solar system by way of the SSB as it spiraled out of the inner solar system behind Proxima
- Proxima’s hypothesized starting and ending points of its former exponential ‘orbit inflation’:
75.6 AU at 4,567 Ma, out to 180 kAU semi-major axis at 542 Ma. Eccentricity of the barycentric Sun-Proxima orbit may have carried Proxima from a ‘perihelion’ distance (from the Sun) of 22 kAU, sculpting the outer edge of the IOC, out to its current ‘aphelion’ distance of 270 kAU. These distances put the SSB between 2.4 kAU and 22 kAU, maintaining the doughnut shape of the IOC
- Proxima has the right mass to have formed and maintained the IOC with a semi-major axis of 180 kAU and a period of about 60 Myr, 2 times 30 Myr, which is one of several periods that emerge when determining the impact frequency of the 9 largest well-dated Earth impacts.
- Proxima may have caused the late heavy bombardment (LHB) of the inner solar system in a bimodal flurry of impacts when the SSB spiraled out and crossed the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. The 75.6 AU starting point of Proxima at 4,567 Ma is chosen such that SSB crosses Neptune’s orbit at 3,900 Ma.
The collapsing molecular cloud that formed our solar system may have fragmented into a wide-binary pair of protostars due to excess angular momentum of the collapsing cloud. Additional fragmentations may have occurred in both wide-binary members, forming a quadruple star system composed of two close-binary pairs, ‘binary-Sun’ and ‘binary-Proxima’ (Centauri), with a wide-binary separation of perhaps 10s of AU. A circumbinary protoplanetary disk may have formed around the binary Sun and a circum-quadruple accretion disk may or may not have formed beyond binary Proxima as well.
Alternatively, the stellar fragmentations may have formed with interplay surrounded by a single circum-quadruple protoplanetary disk before hierarchy emerged, causing the most-massive stars to sink into a central close-binary pair and the least-massive stars to form a second close-binary pair.
In either case, binary-Sun was about 8 times the mass of its smaller companion, binary-Proxima, and the wide-binary pair orbited the quadruple-star barycenter which will be known as the solar-system barycenter (SSB). Binary Sun orbited the SSB about 1/9 of the distance to binary-Proxima. The mass ratio of the Sun and Proxima is known to 3 decimal places today, but not prior to the putative spiral-in stellar mergers of binary-Sun at 4,567 Ma and binary-Proxima at 542 Ma, so fractional ratios in this section will indicate mass ratios prior to 542 Ma.
Resonant coupling between binary-Sun and binary-Proxima likely fueled a rapid wide-binary secular-perturbation, resonant core collapse (‘orbit inflation’), resulting in a wide-binary separation between binary-Sun and binary-Proxima of about 75.6 AU by the time the stellar components of binary-Sun had spiraled in to merge in a luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma, forming CAIs and the short-lived radionuclides of our early solar system.
The core-collapse orbit inflation between binary stellar pairs may be particularly rapid due to the relatively high frequency of overlapping close-binary resonances, and the wide-binary orbit-inflation increase in period may be exponential plotted against the decreasing period of the close-binary pair with the smallest period, in our case, binary-Sun. So the common envelope phase of the binary-Sun spiral in may have been particularly brief due to its efficient resonant coupling with binary-Proxima.
Following the merger of the former binary components of the Sun, the orbit inflation of binary-Proxima may followed a far-slower exponential rate of increase, from a semi-major axis of about 75.6 AU at 4,567 Ma to a semi-major axis of about 180 kAU when the stellar components of binary-Proxima are hypothesized to have spiraled in and merged in a second, smaller LRN at 542 Ma. The 180 kAU semi-major distance with a period of 60 Myr was chosen for the following result:
1) 60 Myr = 2 times 30 Myr, one of several periods that appear examining ages of the largest well-dated impact craters on Earth for their impact frequency
2) Proxima ‘perihelion’ distance of 22 kAU, sculpting the outer edge of the IOC and lifting long-period comets beyond about 20 kAU through the process of ‘clearing its orbit’
3) Proxima ‘aphelion’ distance of 270 kAU, the approximate present distance of Proxima from the Sun
4) Eccentric SSB ‘perihelion’/'aphelion’ of ~2.4/20 kAU, maintaining the doughnut shape of the IOC and lifting aphelia of comets from 2.4 kAU out to 20 kAU
At a wide-binary distance of 182,600 AU, the two-body Sun-Proxima orbital period around the barycenter is 73.6 Myr, just about twice Shoemaker’s 36 Myr figure and well within the ±2 Myr allowable window for >100 km craters. The Galactic core perturbation occurs twice in each orbit of the Sun around the barycenter, at conjunction and at opposition with the Galactic core from the perspective of the SS-barycenter. So the tides of the Galactic core preferentially stretch planetesimal orbits pinned by their SS-barycenter aphelia, bleeding down the angular momentum of the heliocentric orbits and causing their perihelia to spiral down into the planetary realm of the inner solar system.
With Proxima’s orbit temporarily stretched out to 270,000 AU by Alpha Centauri, the Oort cloud population with 20,000 AU aphelia that were formerly aligned with the SS-barycenter has undergone apsidal precession, apparently along Proxima’s altered orbital plane as measured by (Matese and Whitman, 1999) and (Matese and Whitmire, 2011).
Proxima was recently discovered to have a possible binary companion by the Hubble Space Telescope with the Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS) in 1997 (Schultz et al., 1998), although two subsequent searches using the Hubble Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 with better resolution failed to locate a companion (Golimowski and Schroeder, 1998), (Schroeder et al., 2000), so the binary pair must have already merged at some time in the past to form the solitary red-dwarf flare star, Proxima, and lunar spherule counts may suggest the timing of the merger.
The possibility of Proxima’s membership in our solar system has not been explored, but the likelihood of a bound state with Alpha Centauri has been examined. The Hipparcos satellite of the European Space Agency measured the proper motion of more than 100,000 stars and published the Hipparcos Catalogue in 1997, and from this new data, Wertheimer and Laughlin, 2006, calculated the probability of a bound state with Alpha Centauri. In a Monte Carlo simulation, 44% of the trial systems are bound, with an unbound probability of 55%. Previously using older data, Anosova, 1994, had found Proxima to be in an unbound around AC “with the probability of P = 1.0″ (Anosova et al., 1994). Wertheimer and Laughlin repeated their calculations using Anovosa’s data and similarly found an unbound state with a probability of 1.0. (Wertheimer and Laughlin, 2006)
The Monte Carlo simulation only shows the possibility of an unbound state of Proxima to Alpha Centauri and does not speak to the possibility of Proxima a solar companion, but another study may provide indirect evidence for membership. John Matese and Patrick Whitman calculated the mass, location and orbital plane of a hypothetical perturbator of new Outer Oort Cloud (OOC) comets. (Matese and Whitman, 1999), (Matese and Whitmire, 2011) Their model suggests a jovian-mass perturbator, designated “Tyche”, located on the galactic longitude of the ascending node = 319 degrees with an inclination of 103 degrees (or the opposite direction) in the innermost region of the OOC around 20,000 AU. Proxima Centauri with galactic coordinates: L = 313.9400 B = -1.9273 presently lies very nearly on this best-fit-perturbator orbital plane. The recently-completed Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has ruled out the possibility of a brown dwarf in the Oort cloud, “a 23 Jupiter mass object would be visible up to 7 to 10 light years”. (Lakdawalla, 2009)
Proxima (Centauri), has the wrong radial velocity and proper motion, but this could be attributed to its temporary close encounter with the much-larger binary-star Alpha Centauri AB.
Could Proxima with .123 Ms (solar masses) and a distance of 270,000 AU be the Oort cloud perturbator designated ‘Tyche’? Even with its vastly-larger mass than a hypothesized 20,000 AU Jupiter-mass planet, Tyche, the distance is prohibitive since perturbation is known to be proportional to the inverse-cube of distance; however, a SS-barycenter at 20,000 AU may provide the perceived perturbation prior to Proxima’s close encounter with Alpha Centauri.
The barycenter of the solar system between Proxima and the Sun is the center of mass or ‘balance point’ of the solar system around which both the Sun and Proxima orbit with the same orbital period, so Proxima with .123 the mass of the Sun orbits 8.13 times further from the barycenter than the Sun, so the present distance from the Sun to the barycenter (ignoring Alpha Centauri) is: 1.00b = .123(270,000 – b)
where b = 29,600 AU, putting the barycenter 1/9.13 of the distance to Proxima.
“Culler et al.  studied 179 spherules from 1 g of soil collected by the Apollo 14 astronauts, and found evidence for a decline in the meteoroid flux to the Moon from 3000 million years ago (Ma) to 500 Ma, followed by a fourfold increase in the cratering rate over the last 400 Ma.” (Levine et al., 2005) With an exponential wide-binary ‘orbit inflation’ of Proxima, the ss-barycenter would likewise have spiraled out at an exponential rate, hypothetically pumping exponentially-increasing quantities of energy and angular momentum into Oort cloud planetesimals with barycentric aphelia, progressively reducing the tidal affect of the Galactic core over time, as is evident in the decreasing cratering rate from 3000 Ma to 500 Ma. But orbit inflation came to a halt when Proxima’s binary components hypothetically spiraled in to merge at 542 Ma, after which the tidal influence of the Galactic core became predominant, progressively stretching planetesimal orbits when their major axes were aligned with the Galactic core, twice per orbit of the Sun around the ss-barycenter. Close-binary planetesimals were still able to resist orbital elongation, however, by converting angular momentum from their close-binary orbits to their heliocentric orbits, partially circularizing their heliocentric orbits. But converting angular momentum from their close-binary orbits caused close-binary orbits to spiral in and ultimately merge, ending their ability to resist the tidal elongation by the Galactic core.
A log plot of Proxima’s distance from the Sun over time, with Proxima at 75.6 AU by 4,567 Ma and 182,600 AU by 542 Ma places the SS-barycenter directly over Uranus at 4,131 Ma, corresponding to the age of rock found at the Apollo 16 landing site. (citation) And at 3,900 Ma, the SS-barycenter is directly over Neptune at the height of the late heavy bombardment (LHB). The linear log-plot equation has a slope 1/m = -1189.72 and y-intercept = 5.71707:
y = -x/1189.72 + 5.71707
where x is time in millions of years (Myr) and y is the log base 10 of distance in (log(AU))
Note: the orbit-inflation rate of Proxima was actually proportional to the period rather than the semi-major axis, and the period is proportional to the two-thirds power of the semi-major axis, P is proportional to a^(2/3), as in Kepler’s third law, but the exponent washes out in the logarithm.
A comparison of the two reservoirs of planetesimals, the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt notes that the asteroid belt protected by the inner resonances of a much-larger planet in a much-lower orbit, but the Kuiper belt has no competition from resonances of planets further out. Curiously, asteroids entering the inner resonant ‘Kirkwood gaps’ of Jupiter are expelled from the asteroid belt while the Plutinos flock to the outer 2:3 with Neptune.
The most-massive portion of the asteroid belt is centered between Jupiter’s 3:1 and 5:2 inner resonances, which will be designated Jupiter’s primary ‘inner resonant nursery’. Two narrow dust belts at 40 AU and 165 AU around Subgiant, Kappa Coronae Borealis (Bonsor et al., 2013) may lend support to this inner-resonant nursery location as well as a 1:3 outer resonant nursery. A Brown dwarf is suspected to be sustaining both dust belts. Using Kepler’s third law of planetary motion, a brown dwarf at about 79 AU from Kappa Coronae Borealis, puts the 40 AU dust belt between its 3:1 and 5:2 resonances with the outer 165 AU belt at its 1:3 resonance. So the hypothesized brown dwarf around Kappa Coronae Borealis may point to the outer 1:3 resonance as the outermost if not strongest of the primary outer resonances for material swept up by a binary brown dwarf spiraling out.
AQUEOUS DIFFERENTIATION OF TNOs, DWARF PLANETS AND COMETS:
The problem of planetesimal formation is a major unsolved problem in astronomy since meter-sized “boulders are expected to stick together poorly, and to spiral into the protostar in a few hundred orbits owing to a ‘head wind’ from the slower rotating gas” (Johansen et al., 2007).
Trans-neptunian objects (TNOs) may have ‘condensed’ by gravitational instability (GI) from ‘Type I’ presolar material at the ‘pressure dam’ of the protoplanetary corotation zone of our former protostar before multiple fragmentations caused the former-binary companion-star Proxima (Centauri) spiral out from our former-binary Sun, clearing its orbit ahead of it. (Here the term ‘TNO’ is used in a general sense to include both the present day ‘trans-Neptunian objects’ of the Kuiper belt and also to include similarly-formed and sized objects elsewhere in the solar system in the past and today.)
Similarly, chondrites and comets may have condensed by GI in pressure dams from ‘Type II’ solar plasma expelled from the Sun during the merger/explosion of our former binary star in a stellar-merger luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma. Chondrites may have condensed by GI in a greatly expanded corotation zone of the flare-star phase of the Sun following the LRN. Chondrites may have also condensed in pressure dams against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances of the present-day asteroid belt. Comets formed further out at lower temperatures, also from Type II LRN debris, perhaps at a pressure dam near the solar-system barycenter (SSB) between the Sun and binary Proxima, which is hypothesized to have been located at about 8.3 AU from the Sun at 4,567 Ma. The pressure dam at the SSB is due to the centrifugal force of the Sun around the SSB, and chondrites and comets may have formed at inner and outer resonances of the Sun around the SSB. The 3:1 resonance of the Sun around the SSB below the orbit of Jupiter at about 4 AU may have condensed the Jupiter-family comets. Finally, comets are also hypothesized to have condensed at pressure dams on the inside edge of Proxima’s inner and outer resonances around the SSB.
Chondrites, comets and TNOs are hypothesized to condense by GI forming proto-planetesimals that typically bifurcate due to excess angular momentum as they gravitationally collapse, forming gravitationally-bound binary planetesimals. If and when binary planetesimals are continually perturbed, they may spiral in and merge to form peanut-shaped ‘contact binaries’. The heat dissipated during spiral in merger is hypothesized to melt water ice, with the overlying snow and dust acting as thermal insulation and raising internal pressures, creating salt-water oceans in their cores.
Larger dwarf planets are hypothesized to form by core accretion of smaller planetesimals in ‘resonant nurseries’, like Vesta and Ceres in Jupiter’s inner resonant nurseries and like the hypothesized dwarf planets formed in Proxima’s resonant nurseries, likely, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea. Dwarf planets may be hybrid accretions of TNOs, chondrites and comets, depending on the mix of planetesimals in their planetary nursery.
When binary components of dwarf planets and comets spiral in and merge, they are hypothesized to initiate aqueous differentiation which is the subject of this section. But the gravitational collapse of proto-dwarf planets and proto-comets will result in the rise of internal temperatures above melting point of low-melting-point ices (such as carbon monoxide, methane and nitrogen ices), causing sublimation and venting through fissures and porosity. These gases may deposit (through ‘deposition’, the opposite of sublimation) closer to the surface at lower temperatures and pressures creating a layered object with progressively higher-temperature ices toward the core. This ‘sublimation-differentiation’ process will tend to hollow out the core of planetesimals, resulting in subsidence, perhaps creating a ruble pile appearance to the object.
Aqueous differentiation is initiated when binary planetesimals spiral in and merge or core accrete, forming salt water oceans in their cores awash with nebular dust, providing a vast food supply for chemoautotroph microbes which contribute to internal heating and may vastly increase the range of minerals formed. Dissolution and suspension of nebular dust and their reaction products raise the concentrations of the various species in solution. Upon reaching solubility saturation, minerals precipitate and continue to grow in size through crystallization in the micro-gravity of planetesimal-core oceans. When negative buoyancy of growing mineral grains overcomes the agitation keeping them in suspension, they settle out of solution onto the growing sediment core and get buried, ending further growth through crystallization. Most minerals have an inverse solubility with temperature and therefore reach solubility saturation near the cold junction of the ice/water boundary.
Carbon dioxide sublimes at temperatures slightly below the melting point of water near the ice/water boundary of planetesimal oceans, creating trapped carbon dioxide gas over the oceans. The high partial pressure of CO2 in these trapped gas pockets forces it into solution where it reacts to form carbonic acid, lowering the pH. The process blurs somewhat above the relatively-modest critical point of carbon dioxide (7.38 MPa at 31.1 °C), but even in large planetesimals with pressures above 22 MPa that approach or exceed the critical point of water, CO2 would still be gaseous at the ice/water boundary. Early in aqueous differentiation when internal temperatures are rising and the ocean size is expanding, the sublimed gases build in pressure until relieved by a weakness in the overlying snow burden, allowing the gas to escape toward the surface. Along the way, the decrease in pressure and temperature causes deposition to the solid state, further dropping the gas pressure. The drop in CO2 partial pressure converts carbonic acid to the gaseous state, causing it to nucleate and bubble to the surface. The repetition of gradual, rising CO2 partial pressure followed by its sudden release causes corresponding variations in the concentration of carbonic acid which equates to ‘sawtooth’ pH fluctuations.
The solubility of aluminum salts is particularly sensitive to pH, so trapped CO2 gas over planetesimal oceans could indirectly control the reservoir of dissolved aluminous species in solution. Since aluminous species solubility is U-shaped with respect to pH with an inflection point at about 6-1/2 pH (Driscoll and Schecher, 1990), a rise in pH from 3.5 to 6.5 would decrease the aluminous species solubility by a factor of more than 100,000, effectively dumping the entire reservoir of aluminous species, chiefly as a felsic feldspar precipitation. The drop in gas pressure, converting carbonic acid back into CO2 and H2O would cause CO2 to nucleate on any floating material including precipitated feldspar grains, floating and trapping them at the ice/water boundary ‘surface’ where they would continue to grow by crystallization.
Silica solubility, by comparison, is particularly temperature sensitive, so any silica gel and quartz grains would tend to form and precipitate at the ice/water-boundary ‘surface’ where silica solubility is at a minimum. So if silica gel and quartz grains tend to form at the surface and if feldspar mineral grains tend to float to the surface by way of CO2 nucleation, then the floating foamy mass collecting at the surface would tend to have a felsic composition.
Silica gel and organic material would tend to lend the floating mass a degree of mechanical competency such that forms into a cohesive floating mat. Then as gas pressure over the ocean began to rise again, the CO2 component of the foamy mat would dissolve back into solution, causing the mat to become waterlogged. And mechanical competency (toughness) would cause the mat to tend to stretch and bunch into ‘ptygmatic folds’ (disharmonic and convolute folds) and ‘boudinage’ rather than break apart as it sank.
In this way a cyclical pH variation may create alternating felsic and mafic layers of authigenic minerals. As pressures and temperatures rise during gravitational compaction, prograde metamorphism may convert hydrous minerals such as amphibole, serpentine and talc into anhydrous minerals such as coesite, pyroxene, garnet and olivine. Later still as the core cools down, retrograde metamorphism may partially reconvert some of the anhydrous minerals back into their hydrous counterparts.
Diagenesis shrinks the sedimentary core by forcing out the water, and as the core shrinks in volume, the authigenic sedimentary layers are forced into smaller circumferences, causing the layers to fold in a process of ‘circumferential folding’. With the expulsion of water, diagnensis gives way to lithification, and the folded sedimentary layers lithify into migmatite and gneiss. Diagenesis of sediments on earth also results in volume reduction, but due to its enormous size, no perceptible reduction in circumference occurs and hence no circumferential folding occurs on earth. Conventional geology, by comparison, struggles to explain small-scale isoclinal folding, and in general, dismisses sharply-folded metamorphic rock as self-evident. Conventional geology is inclined to misinterpret sharp isoclinal folds as sheath folds cut through the nose of the fold, supposedly resulting from locally-concentrated shear forces.
High-grade (terrestrial) metamorphism is evoked in conventional geology to explain the terrestrial origin of the minerals in gneiss, but many of the same minerals can form in authigenic clay at more moderate temperatures and pressures on earth. One major difference between gneiss and clay or mudstone is mineral-grain size. On the surface of our high-gravity planet, precipitated authigenic mineral grains fall out of aqueous suspension at clay size to become sequestered in sedimentary layers, but in the microgravity deep inside icy oceans, dispersion suspends larger gneiss-sized minerals, allowing them to grow dramatically larger through ‘crystallization’ before finally settling out of solution.
In conventional geology, the supposed segregation of felsic and mafic minerals into leucosome, melanosome and mesosome layers by metamorphism of protolith rock to form migmatite gneiss is explained by the partial melting (anatexis) of lower-melting-point (primarily felsic) minerals and the extrusion of this melt down a “potential force gradient.” “The consensus today is that both in situ melt and externally derived melt are present in most migmatites (Kriegsman, 2001).”(Urtson, 2005) This means that adjacent layers alone can not explain the local enrichments and depletions of felsic and mafic layering, and so non-local externally-derived melt is needed for mass balance. In the comet differentiation model, the local enrichment or depletion of authigenic felsic and mafic minerals in various layers is automatically balanced by a commensurate adjustment in the reservoir of dissolved species in solution, so while the conventional model requires both local and non-local inputs for mass balance, the comet model does not. “Comingling and mixing of mafic and felsic magmas” is also suggested as an explanation for alternating felsic/mafic layers. (Sandeman et al., 2000)
Conventionally, gneiss domes are divided into two classes: fault related and fault unrelated. Larger gneiss-dome systems are divided into evenly spaced and unevenly spaced. Evenly spaced dome systems are considered to be instabilities caused by vertical-density or -viscosity contrast and horizontal loads, leading to buckling. Unevenly spaced dome systems are associated with fault development or “superposition of multiple deformational phases.” “In nature, gneiss domes are often produced by superposition of several dome-forming mechanisms. This has made determination of the dynamic cause of individual domes and dome systems exceedingly challenging.” (Yin, 2004) Rayleigh–Taylor (RT) instability is a favored explanation for the formation of evenly-spaced gneiss domes which is sometimes called a fingering instability where a finger is theorized to spread into a mushroom cap to explain concentric layering in ellipsoid gneiss domes. RT instabilities, however, fail to explain the typical sedimentary basements: “In some, the lowest horizon of the mantle consists of basal conglomerate with boulders of the same gneiss that forms the dome; in others, the basement stratum is a layer of quartzite, above which follow dolomite and mica schist; and in still others, dolomite forms the basement.” (Eskola, 1948) This basement horizon of quartzite, carbonate rock and conglomerate a gneiss-dome mantle can not be explained in conventional geology except with ad hoc tinkering, but in the comet model, the sedimentary layers are merely authigenic growth rings, and conglomerate and greywacke is merely comet-core rock fractured by Oort cloud comet-planetesimal mergers within the companion’s resonances.
Any competitive model of migmatites and gneiss must explain both mineral segregation and isoclinal (acute-angle) folding, but additionally, small-scale folding occurs on already segregated layers, that is, comet sediments are laid down in alternating layers and only afterwards undergo circumferential folding during diagenesis, but the conventional metamorphic model does not offer a cause-and-effect explanation for this observed sequence. (In the comet model, ptygmatic folds (disharmonic and convolute folds) and boudinage of leucosomes are the exception, since this type of folding and bunching occurs when the felsic layer is laid down and not later during diagenesis.)
While metamorphism may be a rigorous science at the crystalline level where heat and pressure can shown experimentally to transform one mineral type or crystalline form into another, its extrapolation above the crystalline level to explain migmatite differentiation and folding may be invalid.
In conventional geology, layers and lenses of particularly pure mineral ores within metamorphic rock require particularly-fortuitous sequences of leaching and deposition, while for the comet model, hydrothermal fluids expelled during diagenesis of the underlying gneiss may simply precipitate or crystallize mineral ores in the vicinity of hydrothermal vents.
The authigenic comet model makes little distinction between layered granite (supposed igneous), layered gneiss (supposed metamorphic) and supposed, clastic sedimentary rock, considering them merely growth rings, but to conventional geology, these processes are entirely different. In particular, the conglomerate, quartzite and dolomite sedimentary rock that often concentrically surrounds the gneiss and schist in mantled gneiss domes requires ugly ad hoc tinkering in conventional geology.
The mantled domes apparently represent earlier granite intrusions related to a orogenic period. The plutonic mass was later eroded and levelled, and thereafter followed a period of sedimentation. During a subsequent orogenic cycle the pluton was mobilized anew and new granite magma was injected into the plutonic rock at the same time as it was deformed into gneiss, causing its migmatization and granitization, or palingenesis.
In the ‘authigenic phase’ of planetesimal (comet) differentiation, nebular dust is liberated from the icy overburden as the ocean expands from the inside out. When the planetesimal reaches thermal equilibrium, the ocean begins to freeze over, cutting off the input of nebular dust, but the core is still active in this second ‘hydrothermal phase’ of differentiation during which hot hydrothermal fluids are expelled from the authigenic sedimentary core during diagenesis and lithification. Mineral precipitation and crystallization continues in the planetesimal ocean, but the mineral source shifts from nebular dust raining down from above to hydrothermal fluids upwelling from below.
Pressure solution/dissolution, leaching and metasomatism during diagenesis and lithification of the sedimentary core expels hot aqueous fluids, partially or completely saturated with salts, minerals, (cat)ions and other species that may instantly reach saturation in the cooler ocean above, causing mineral-grain precipitation. Precipitation creates nuclei which grow by crystallization into characteristic-sized mineral grains before settling out of solution. When reaching the characteristic size for the buoyancy in the planetesimal ocean, the mineral-grains fall out of suspension to become buried and thereby sequestered from further growth by crystallization. Authigenic mineral grain size is a function of buoyancy and not gravitational acceleration, so while the local gravitational acceleration increases from the core to the surface, the buoyancy remains the same due to symmetry–is this true? The characteristic, authigenic sand-grain size in Wissahickon schist is about 450 microns in diameter (.45 mm), although the size may also be affected by the local circulation rates in the planetesimal ocean which are largely driven by temperature differential.
On earth tube worm communities are common surrounding hydrothermal vents, and may also have been common in planetesimal oceans of presolar Type I planetesimals which formed at lower temperatures and with lower chemical-activity rates than for Type II planetesimals. As sand settles out of suspension around hydrothermal vents in planetesimal oceans, tube worms extend their tubes to avoid burial. In the subsequent lithification and induration into quartzite, the former tube-worm tubes fossilized which may be misconstrued as Skolithos trace fossils. Skolithos are common in the Cambrian Chickies Formation which may be part of the hydrothermal mantle of the underlying, authigenic, Baltimore gneiss dome.
‘Black smoker’ chimney structures form over hydrothermal vents on earth in areas where tectonic plates are separating like at the mid-Atlantic ridge. These chimney structures can reach heights of 40 meters like ‘Godzilla’ in the Pacific Ocean before toppling over from their own weight and then regrowing, creating mounds of hydrothermal rock. Chimney structures may similarly form, topple and reform in planetesimal oceans, creating similar mounds of hydrothermal schist, but the forces causing chimney collapse in planetesimal oceans may be more seismic in nature as the sedimentary core progressively shrinks during diagenesis and lithification, leading to dramatic ‘comet quakes’.
At a distance from hydrothermal vents in planetesimal oceans, mineral crystals in exposures protected from burial by sediment may reach pegmatite size by crystallization, so proximity to hydrothermal vents may directly control mineral-grain size. In the Wissahickon schist terrain at distances of a kilometer or more from the sandstone and quartzite of hypothesized hydrothermal vents, pegmatites predominate. The largest crystalline masses of pegmatites are kilogram-scale blocks of plagioclase feldspar crystals. In the same vicinity, large populations of sheet muscovite with sheet sizes up to 10′s of square centimeters in area are frequently embedded in large masses of crystalline quartz.
The authigenic phase of planetesimal differentiation forms authigenic granite or gneiss, depending on the origin and composition of the precursor dust and ice. Highly-oxidized presolar dust and ice forms Type I planetesimals which differentiate to form authigenic gneiss-dome cores with schist and carbonate-rock mantles. Dust and ice condensed from solar wind enriched with planetary volatiles, on the other hand, have a much higher relative Gibbs free energy content and accrete to form Type II planetesimals. Type II planetesimals differentiate to form authigenic granite cores that may melt to form plutonic rock. Type II also form hydrothermal rock which may or may not reach the melting point to form basalt and pillow lava mantles around granite pluton cores. At lower temperatures in which the hydrothermal rock remains below the melting point, Type II planetesimals may form hydrothermal greenschist and dolomite, more similar to the mantles surrounding larger Type I gneiss-dome planetesimal cores.
The secondary ‘hydrothermal phase’ of comet differentiation is more heterogeneous than the earlier ‘authigenic phase’ of comet differentiation. Not only are hydrothermal vents localized, but the dissolved species in the hydrothermal fluids are more variable than the chondrite-normalized dust and ice precursor material that formed the authigenic core.
Quartzite stalactites are hypothesized to have formed on ice ceilings overhanging hydrothermal vents in submerged salt-water oceans of contact-binary trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) of the Kuiper belt. Quartz solubility is highly temperature sensitive, so authigenic quartz would precipitate and and grow through crystallization at the cold ice-water boundary, but the actual conditions causing stalactite growth are unknown. Perhaps quartzite stalactites form during ‘freeze out’ as the salt-water ocean gradually freezes solid, maintaining solute levels at or near saturation point, and perhaps the ice ceiling grows downward at the same rate as the stalactite such that the stalactite is essentially flush with the ice ceiling but imbedded up into it. These hypothesized planetesimal quartzite stalactites tend to be highly indurated with quartz (or silica gel) crystallization.
Hot black smokers in planetesimal oceans may precipitate and crystallize schist while cooler ‘white smokers’ may similarly form carbonate rock such as limestone and dolomite. The solubility of calcium and magnesium are inversely proportional to temperature due to their solubility dependence on pH. And the pH in turn is controlled by the inverse-temperature-dependent solubility of carbonic acid, hence the indirect temperature dependence for solubility of Ca and Mg by way of carbonic acid. So as the core temperature decreases over time, the pH also decreases due to higher concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide which react to form carbonic acid. And higher levels of carbonic acid dissolve higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium. Then some mechanism is required to precipitate the calcium and magnesium carbonate that pours out of white-smoker hydrothermal vents into the comet ocean, since presumably even the relatively cool white smokers are substantially warmer than the planetesimal ocean into which they issue.
The outer mantle of the Baltimore gneiss dome alternates between layers of schist and carbonate rock before perhaps laying down a final thick layer of carbonate rock in the form of the Conestoga formation.
ABIOTIC OIL AND COAL:
The premise for abiotic hydrocarbon creation in comet impacts originates with the high compressibility of carbon-bearing comet ices. In comet impacts, compressive heating of carbon ices such as methane and ethane cause endothermic chemical reactions (ECRs) that absorb energy and clamp the impact shock-wave pressure below the melting point of rock, greatly reducing the quantity of impactite melt-rock suevite.
In an impact shock wave, highly-compressible ices will undergo significantly-greater, adiabatic (PdV) compressional heating than less-compressible crystalline minerals, and greatly-elevated temperatures from compressive heating force ECRs. Experimentally, methane converts to long alkane chains and free hydrogen at 60 GPa and 4509 K (Li, Zhang et al., 2011).
Type II planetesimals that accreted from material with an elevated proportion of solar-plasma condensates may have a lower average oxidation state than comets with a more presolar composition, and one manifestation of this lower oxidation state may be elevated concentrations of hydrocarbon ices and carbon monoxide ice. Comets that have undergone ‘sublimation differentiation’ will have a layered composition with progressively lower melting-point ices in the outer layers. As internal heating from accretion, gravitational contraction and radioactive decay sublimes lower melting-point ices in the core, the sublimed vapors escape toward the surface which deposit at lower temperatures and pressures higher up.
A host of other ECRs also occur upon impact, but many of the reactants almost-immediately recombine as the shock-wave pressure relents since the reaction products would be intimately mixed at high temperatures and super-high pressures. The ECRs and subsequent exothermic reactions lower the power of impact, clamping the pressure of the impact shock wave and extending its duration by the subsequent recombination of the intimately-mixed ECR products. This lowering of the impact power due to ECRs may be largely responsible for preventing the melting and vaporization of terrestrial target rock and comet-core rock during comet impacts. And this absence of a melt-rock (suevite) signature may obscur comet impact craters from detection by geologists.
ECR products that liberate pure oxygen and other highly-reactive chalcogens and halogens would be particularly susceptible to spontaneous recombination; however, carbon-bearing ices creating long-chain hydrocarbons that liberate pure hydrogen would be far less likely to spontaneously recombine for several reasons. For one thing, liberated hydrogen may act as a protective buffer, scavenging more highly-reactive oxidizers even before the shock-wave pressure drops below the pressure permitting recombination of hydrocarbons and hydrogen. Also, the small size of the hydrogen molecule greatly increases its diffusion rate away from the hydrocarbons. So liberated hydrogen in ECRs of hydrocarbon ices may reduce the recombination of hydrocarbons and of other heavier and less-reactive ECR reaction products created in the impact shock wave. In this way, a portion of the impact energy may be sequestered in chemical energy in the form of petroleum, creating abiotic oil.
Secondary exothermic recombination of ECR products may be the cause of the ‘double flash’ in atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons (although shielding is the recognized origin of the double flash). The primary chemical reactions in atmospheric testing may involve nitrogen compounds (xO2 + N2 2NOx).
In the West we regard petroleum as a ‘fossil fuel’, but the Russians have a history of considering petroleum as having derived from deep-earth processes. Biotic methane may indeed result from chemoautotroph microbes in the deep hot biosphere, but coal and petroleum in sedimentary rock is likely of abiotic comet-impact origin.
For a comet falling from infinity toward the sun at earth’s orbit, the difference in kinetic energy between a comet hitting the planet head on in its orbit around the sun and a comet catching up with the planet is a factor of 19. So particularly, high-velocity comet impacts may create many times the proportion of ECR hydrocarbons as low-velocity impacts and of higher molecular weights as well. Coal and shungite may simply be metamorphism of heavy-molecular-weight impact oil and tar. In his book, The Deep Hot Biosphere, 2001, Thomas Gold suggests that despite its plant fossils, coal also may be abiotic from deep-earth sources.
The primary coal cyclothem of the Pennsylvanian Subperiod may have formed in a sub-continental-scale debris flow from a Carboniferous icy-body impact, forming the Michigan Basin impact crater, or perhaps binary impacts, forming both the Illinois basin and Michigan Basin. But if so, then icy body impacts apparently compress the ground rather than excavating it like rocky-iron impacts are known to do. Then a super debris apparently bulldozed the forest and soil as it went, creating the primary cyclothem of the Pennsylvanian Subperiod coal deposits. Reworking of the primary cyclothem may be responsible for subsequent cyclothems followed by deep burial and metamorphism into coal. The settling process formed the underlying ‘ganister’ or ‘seatearth’, strewn with stigmaria roots, stems and leaves and other vegetative matter while the lower-density impact hydrocarbons floated to the surface.
Spontaneous re-reaction of ECR products in comet impacts on the Laurentide ice sheet at 12,900 B.P. may have provided the sustained thrust to launch chunks of the ice sheet into long trajectories above the atmosphere to form the Carolina bays along the East Coast of the United States. The orientation of the bays appear to point toward a pair of impact sites on upper Lake Michigan and lower Hudson Bay. The Nastapoka arc may be the rim of the Hudson Bay impact crater, and a similar but smaller arc is evident across from Sheboygan, Wisconsin on the opposite shore of Lake Michigan. The rough-terrain bedrock on the northeast rim of the two arcs may be target rock distorted by the impact.
IMPACT SLAG FORMED IN SECONDARY COMET IMPACTS:
Several common classes of meteorwrongs (often with apparent fusion crust) frequently show up at meteorite labs where they are denounced as probable industrial slag. Instead, they may be natural impact slag formed in small, secondary comet-ice impacts fractured off a comet, whether or not the main comet body impacts the Earth. (Technically, ‘slag’ is hot molten material while ‘dross’ is cold solidified slag, but slag is the more-commonly used term.)
The relative size ratio of secondary comet ice impacts compared to primary impacts may be the relative crater size between the 450 m Ivy Rock (impact-crater) quarry just north of Conshohocken, PA and the 450 Km Nastapoka Arc of the Hudson Bay.
This section particularly addresses secondary comet-ice impacts, likely with a carbon-monoxide ice component capable of chemically reducing iron oxides in cometary dust to metallic iron at super-high impact temperatures and pressures in the presence of target carbonate rock (limestone or dolomite) to act as a fluxing agent.
Oxygen may have been a limiting reagent in the formation of iron ores in secondary impact strikes, resulting in a (considerable) percentage of ‘waste rock’ laced with metallic-iron blebs trapped in vesicular basalt formed near the surface. Formation at or near the surface is revealed in the vesicles of the vesicular basalt containing metallic-iron blebs, indicating a lower oxygen fugacity for surface materials in impact strikes, perhaps due to increased exposure to carbon-monoxide. The small chunks of iron ore in the Ivy Rock quarry tailings that escaped notice are hematite and magnetite, as evaluated by streak testing, while the overlying vesicular basalt was undoubtedly considered to be worthless colonial iron-furnace slag.
Impact slag containing chunks of metallic iron may have formed in secondary impact events in Pennsylvania on the carbonate rock terrain of the Great Limestone Valley of Central Pennsylvania and the Conestoga Formation in Southeastern PA. Chunks of comet ice of sufficient size to arrive at interplanetary speed may create conditions similar to those industrial pig-iron furnaces which chemically reduce iron-oxides in comet dust to metallic iron with carbon monoxide, but at vastly-greater pressures, accelerating the reaction rates. Target carbonate rock may act as a fluxing or wetting agent, causing microscopic metallic-iron spherules to merge and form macroscopic-sized blebs of metallic iron embedded in basaltic-like impact slag. Magnets works well for finding impact slag containing metallic iron in the field and from roads, paths and railroad tracks where it’s been used as clean fill.
Iron-furnace slag from several historic iron furnaces in Pennsylvania were examined macroscopically and microscopically in order to rule out a man-made origin of hypothesized impact slag.
By comparison, suspected impact-slag (meteorwrongs) frequently contain millimeter to centimeter-sized metallic-iron blebs or larger which are orders of magnitude greater than the microscopic spherules in verifiable industrial iron-furnace slag. Only a catastrophic event (natural or man made) could ‘freeze’ molten globules of iron of this size against a density ratio between molten slag and molten iron of 2-1/2 times (250%). The catastrophic impact shock-wave that formed molten slag in the relatively-compressible comet ice by PdV heating nearly as quickly relents, catastrophically cooling the slag and freezing masses of metallic iron in basaltic slag rock.
The percentage of metallic iron in impact slag would be incredible for an industrial origin, particularly considering the 100 kg size of some of the native iron chunks associated with hypothesized impact slag. Additionally, the fractal shapes of ‘impact iron’ are strong evidence for a natural origin, and the occasional forged ‘mushrooming’ of some larger chunks are indicative of a natural catastrophe. But the largest recognized native iron deposits on Disko Island, Greenland and in the Siberian Traps are suggestive of primary impacts that delivered Greenland and Central Siberia to Earth as differentiated dwarf-planet rock.
Another argument against an industrial origin of slag meteorwrongs is the high degree of contamination of numerous elements that greatly-exceed, terrestrial crustal abundance, particularly for ore of the highest-abundance metallic element on the planet. Mass spec. analysis of a native-iron bleb from Pennsylvania impact slag, in ppm: >50% Fe, 321 Cr, 2150 Ni, 5200 Cu, 613 Mn, 97.7 Co, 7.2 Zn, 4.66 Ga, .4 Ge, .3 Se, 1.3 Zr, 2.96 Mb, 1.1 Ag, .05 In, 148 Sn, .05 Sb, 6.5 Ba, .72 Ce, .08 Nd, .01 Dy, .04 Re, .7 ppb Au, 4.01 Pb, .3 Th, .1 Li, .2 Bi. If impact iron has survived for 12,900 years, even in the relatively protected environment of an impact crater, metallic contaminants in the metallic iron may provide corrosion protection in the form of metallic oxides, rendering the iron essentially a stainless steel.
The precursor material of the impact slag does not suggest either chondritic or terrestrial crustal abundances, and the variability suggests a mixture of the two. Iridium is undetectable down to 2 ppb by INAA in 5 impact slag samples including an analysis of a metallic iron bleb.
Primary comet impact craters may go undetected due to endothermic chemical reactions occurring in hydrocarbon ices. Short-chain hydrocarbon ices may convert to longer-chain hydrocarbons in endothermic chemical reactions, clamping the impact shock wave below the melting point of terrestrial target rock, thereby masking comet impact craters from detection as such. Far-smaller secondary comet-ice impact craters may similarly avoid detection in lower-pressure endothermic reactions by converting metallic oxides to their metallic elements at super-high temperatures in localized, chemically-reducing carbon-monoxide atmospheres. The super-high temperatures sufficient to melt comet dust to form impact slag may occur principally in localized PdV heating of relatively-compressible comet ices compared to their relatively-incompressible mineral (target-rock) counterparts. In other words, comet ices may absorb sufficient meteorite-impact energy to largely protect the terrestrial target rock from melting. And a lack of target melt rock may obscure even a classical bowl-shaped impact crater from being identified as such. So the signature of secondary comet-ice impacts may be bowl-shaped lakes or gravel pits mixed with impact slag underlain with fractured target rock but with little or no melt-rock suevite. The impact slag component of gravel-pit impact quarries has undoubtedly been misconstrued as colonial iron-furnace slag. And finally, the gravel pits and the soil in the surrounding vicinity contain dramatically elevated levels of microscopic impact spherules.
Impact slag with metallic iron from carbonate-rock terrain has a high calcium oxide component which it, unfortunately, also shares with iron-furnace slag. A Calcium oxide content of 25% and 40% was measured in two mass-spec samples of impact slag (basalt) from Southeastern PA carbonate-rock terrain. Carbonate rock inclusions that fizz when exposed to vinegar are not uncommon in impact slag.
Impact slag containing metallic iron appears to be intermittently common across the carbonate rock belts of Southeastern Pennsylvania which can be granular (millimeter sized) up to boulder sized (1 meter). Impact slag quarried in 100 meter-scale impact craters is commonly used in clean fill applications in paths, roads and even as railroad ballast, confusing its natural origin. Granular-sized impact slag may be almost visually indistinguishable from granular iron-furnace slag except for its high metallic-iron content and the random-shaped chunks of metallic iron. A strong magnet will quickly differentiate impact slag from iron-furnace slag: easily picking up cubic-inch sized chunks of impact slag but only picking up sub-gram-sized chips of iron-furnace slag.
Impact slag, likely excavated from the nearby Ivy Rock quarry in Plymouth, PA 19428 (more often considered as a Conshohocken, PA address) has been used south of the quarry as land fill to extend the elevation some 5-10 acres above the creek along the triangle between Rt. 476 (Blue Route) and the Cross County Trail, in Conshohocken, that follows the creek below. The the landfill portion of the Cross County Trail park can be accessed at Fulton St. and Light St. in Conshohocken. The impact-slag landfill is readily apparent on Google Satellite due to its lack of plant cover because of the toxicity of impact slag to plant life. By comparison, iron furnace slag is valued as a fertilizer for its slow-release phosphate and lime content. In the Harrisburg Area, impact slag, likely from the quarry crater on Paxton St. in Swatara Township, PA 17111, has also been used as clean fill on both the East and West shores of the Susquehanna River in the greater Harrisburg Area.
When impact slag with a metallic-iron content was discovered in gravel pits, it was undoubtedly assumed to be colonial iron-furnace slag, and some of the material was experimentally melted (rather than smelted) in the Philadelphia and Harrisburg Areas to determine the quality of the iron, but apparently the high levels of contamination precluded its use in making steel. A small percentage of remelted impact slag — minus its metallic-iron component — can be found mixed with fire brick from experimental (ad hoc) furnaces, (by Phoenix Iron and Steel Co. in Phoenixville, PA). Both pristine impact slag and experimentally-melted impact slag was dumped down the south-side slope of French Creek in Phoenixville, PA and in other places as clean fill. Pristine impact slag is often found mixed with industrially-processed impact slag mixed with chunks of fire brick, but only pristine impact slag contains metallic-iron blebs and only pristine impact slag frequently displays a vanishingly-thin glassy-black or dull-black coating like fusion crust on unbroken surfaces.
Apparently during the Great Depression of the 1930s, a limited use was found for the brittle native iron in noncritical applications like window-sash counterweights. A small, failed remelting furnace still exists in Conshohocken (near where E. North Ln crosses the Schuylkill River Trail) constructed of fire brick, several cubic feet in volume, in which the metallic iron cooled and froze solid within the furnace itself before it could be extracted, creating a solid block of iron surrounded by fire brick. A 1939 Jefferson nickel was found in the immediate vicinity, suggesting the time frame. Another more-elaborate cottage-industry-sized cylindrical furnace about 4 foot dia (in the style of a Bessemer furnace) lies nearby. Across the river in West Conshohocken, PA immediately north of Bar Harbor Dr. near the railroad tracks, several window-sash counterweights were found next to fragments of irregular plates of cast iron 2-3 cm thick from iron that had pooled on the ground, likely after overfilling their casting forms.
The super-hot fireball created in secondary comet-ice impacts can impart an apparent or ‘pseudo fusion crust’ similar to ablated meteorites. Sometimes the pseudo fusion crust is evident on all sides, suggesting it formed while airborne. Washington University in St. Louis has “a photo gallery of Meteorwrongs”, of which a dozen or more appear to be impact slag of various types.
Impact slag may form silicides outside carbonate rock terrain, creating other classes of meteorwrongs that are also frequently mistaken for meteorites. Some silicides are distinctly non-magnetic, even those with densities similar to that of high-grade iron ore, while other silicides may incorporate low-grade magnetite and be moderately ferromagnetic. If comet ice containing fine-grained nebular dust slams into wet sand at sufficient speed for compressive heating to thousands of Kelvins, the sand laden with comet fluids and dust may fuse to form low-grade magnetite, preserving trace fossils of buried organisms such as insect pupae. Then the almost as sudden pressure collapse following the initial shock wave causes expansive cooling which freezes the mass into microcrystalline rock that fractures with conchoidal or sub-conchoidal fracture patterns. The pressure collapse may also form a minor degree of steam voids (vesicular basalt), particularly near the surface of the impact slag.
Extinction events attributed to single or even multiple impactors are problematic due the immense size of the planet and the ‘horizon effect’ of its spherical shape. Additionally, the Coriolis effect effect tends to confine weather patterns to their own hemisphere, north or south. And yet, various impact signatures appear to coincide with a number of the largest extinction events. The horizon problem has been cited as a stumbling block for the Younger Dryas (YD) impact team who hypothesize that a bolide exploded over the Laurentide ice sheet about 12,800 BP, perhaps resulting in the extinction of some 33 megafaunal genera on the North American continent.
The YD comet may have impacted the Laurentide ice sheet over the Hudson Bay, possibly creating the Nastapoka-Arc crater; however, protection by two kilometers of the Laurentide ice sheet along with endothermic chemical reactions may have largely clamped the impact shock wave pressure below the melting point of terrestrial target rock, resulting in an absence of melt rock typically associated with meteorite impacts. And following the ice age, comet ejecta could be readily be attributed to diluvium from repeated ice-dam floods. Indeed, boulder fields may be wrongly attributed to ice fracturing of bedrock during glacial periods.
Comet ice may slough off in the atmosphere, creating secondary impacts of various dimensions and speeds which may be sufficient to fracture bedrock and create pyroclastic flows, lubricated with phyllosilicate slurries composed of aqueously-altered nebular dust. Once the comet clays have washed away, the boulders are left behind in a boulder field downhill from the impact site.
Pockmarks and striations on boulders in several isolated boulder fields across Pennsylvania are suggestive of high energy processes. Two discrete diabase boulder fields in Southeastern Pennsylvania, separated by more than 50 kilometers, have several distinctive properties in common that they do not share with loose diabase boulders between the boulder fields within the same Triassic diabase terrain. Ringing Rocks Park in Lower Black Eddy, PA and Ringing Rocks Park in Lower Pottsgrove Township, PA share several distinctive properties: 1) similar surface indentations best described as pockmarks, pot holes and striations, 2) relatively freshly-fractured edges almost free of weathering. Heavy weathering of diabase boulders outside the boulder field is characterized by surface ‘rot’, deep crevices, and exfoliation. 3) the ability to ring like bells when sharply struck with a hard object. The surface indentations may have been scoured out by high-velocity supercritical impact fluids, and the ultra-high impact pressures may have prestressed the surfaces of the boulders, creating rinds that perhaps act as phonon waveguides, leading to beat frequencies in the audible range from lower resonant frequencies.
In a comet-ice impact, supercritical fluids at super-high pressures and velocities may slice through target bedrock like water-jet cutting tools, creating boulder fields, assisted by the hypothesized rock-fracturing properties of high-pressure phyllosilicate slurries. Boulder fields of impact origin would tend to be random in location and generally unassociated with scree and talus slopes below steep cliff faces. Additionally, a widespread impact event would create boulder fields of the same age (boulder to boulder and boulder field to boulder field), but since the YD impact event occurred at the end ice age, boulder fields from this period have generally been attributed to exaggerated freeze-thaw cycles. So discrete boulder fields composed of rocks with uniform surface weathering that are not glacial moraine, scree or talus-slopes in origin, should be good candidates for an impact origin.
The direction of pyroclastic flow is always downhill, and if the downhill flow finds a gully with v-shaped sides to concentrate the boulders several layers deep, the boulders may act as a French drain to clear the phyllosilicate slurry and keep it clear from future sedimentation, remaining largely plant free for millennia. Eastern Pennsylvania alone boasts two Ringing Rocks boulder fields, two Blue Rocks boulder fields (near ‘Hawk Mountain’, Berks County Park) and Hickory Run boulder field (Hickory Run State Park), and numerous smaller boulder fields scattered throughout the ridge-and-valley terrain of the Appalachians.
Hickory Run boulders are scarred with pits, pot holes and striations, similar to Ringing Rocks, but the diabase of Ringing Rocks is well suited to preserving surface details from the scouring action of super-high-velocity comet fluids due to its particularly-tough and fine-grained structure. Blue Rocks boulder field, by comparison, is generally coarser-grained and more friable and brittle and overall less erosion resistant. Additionally, the Blue Rock boulders are for some reason more susceptible to bioerosion by lichen attack.
Extinction events separating geologic periods and shorter intervals are often correlated with unconformities and bright-line sedimentary layers, both of which could be attributed to impact events. The YD extinction event has its own bright-line layer known as the ‘black mat’. “The layer contains unusual materials (nanodiamonds, metallic microspherules, carbon spherules, magnetic spherules, iridium, charcoal, soot, and fullerenes enriched in helium-3) interpreted as evidence of an impact event, at the very bottom of the ‘black mat’ of organic material that marks the beginning of the Younger Dryas.” (Wikipedia: Younger Dryas impact hypothesis) None of the extinct megafauna are found above this layer, and the “black mat” has been found draped directly over megafaunal bones and Clovis implements, staining these items.
APPALACHIAN BASIN PROVINCE, D’ENTRECASTEAUX ISLANDS ET AL.:
If the Appalachian Basin (AB) province (1,730 km long by between 30 to 500 km wide [Ryder, 2002]) is a large Type I binary-planetesimal ‘platform’ that spiraled in to merge and aqueously differentiate to form a platform core, it may have impacted in the Iapetus Ocean bringing the Ordovician period to an end in the Ordovician (O-S) extinction event, 450-440 Ma.
The penetration of the planetesimal core rock into the molten upper mantle of the earth likely caused planetesimal rock to melt, resulting in sinking plumes that subducted the ocean plate on all sides and caused the continental shields and platforms to converge, ultimately forming Pangaea.
The Iapetus Ocean may have closed to the west between the Appalachian Basin and Laurentia, perhaps creating the Illinois Basin where Laurentia subducted at the edge of the far deeper AB. To the east, the Caledonian orogeny (490-390 Ma) drew in Baltica and Avalonia, but this orogeny may or may not have predated the impact of the AB planetesimal. Next the Acadian orogeny (325-400 Ma) formed the Avalonia island arc. And finally Gondwana closed on Laurentia to the east in the Alleghenian orogeny, also known as the Appalachian orogeny, forming the supercontinent Pangea.
Hellas Planitia, also known as the Hellas Impact Basin on Mars may be comparable in size to the compound-comet core of the Appalachian Basin province, but significantly older. The elliptical features in the banded terrain or “taffy-pull terrain” of Hellas Basin on Mars may be layered gneiss, perhaps embedded in massive authigenic shale from a large compound-planetesimal impact from the period of the late heavy bombardment (LHB). Similarly, Belcher Islands in the Nastapoka Arc of the Hudson Bay may be far-younger, pristine granite-greenstone terrain from a far-smaller planetesimal impact, 12,900 B.P. Some of the banded terrain or “taffy-pull terrain” of Hellas Basin appears similar to the ridge-and-valley terrain of the Appalachian Mountains; although Mars experienced no additional buckling and folding from subsequent tectonic-plate collisions. If Hellas Planitia preserves Type I Kuiper belt planetesimals, some domes and zircons may be old, ca. 4.567 Ga, formed perhaps only 10′s of thousands of years before the LRN, but planetesimal Kuiper-belt rock of this age appears not to have survived on earth, or at least hasn’t been found. Some (or most) primary and compound planetesimals, however, may have accreted during the passage of the barycenter, and therefore have an age consistent with the LHB.
Smaller comet cores impacting on ocean plates may form ‘ring craters’ in which the comet core rock is fractured into a ring structure, typical of island rings that become progressively distorted into island chains. As an island chain approaches a continental plate, it may form an island arc, like Japan, and eventually getting tacked on to form a cordillera.
D’Entrecasteaux Islands near the eastern tip of New Guinea hosts the youngest gneiss domes on earth with 2-8 Ma eclogite-facies rocks (Little et al. 2011), suggesting that primary, Type I, Oort cloud planetesimals can remain undifferentiated indefinitely until activated by merging with Type II planetesimals. Differentiation activation may occur when primary Type I planetesimals collide with a smaller chemically-reduced Type II planetesimals. The impetus for Type I, planetesimal (aqueous) differentiation is likely the apsidal concentration of planetesimals by the solar system barycenter which stalled at 29,600 AU from the Sun when the close binary pair of Proxima likely merged around 542 Ma at 270,000 AU.
D’Entrecasteaux Islands are at the center of a complex of micro plates following a likely mid-Pleistocene compound-comet impact. On Java, Indonesia, volcanic tuff in the Bapang Formation [apparently coincident with Hawaiian and Canary Island lavas dated to 776 +/- 2 ka] records the mid Pleistocene geomagnetic reversal known as the Matuyama–Brunhes (MB) transition. In the Sangiran area, the last Homo erectus occurrence and the tektite level in the Sangiran are nearly coincident, just below the Upper Middle Tuff. “The stratigraphic relationship of the tektite level to the MB transition in the Sangiran area is consistent with deep-sea core data that show that the meteorite impact preceded the MB reversal by about 12 ka.” (Hyodo et al. 2011)
The antipodal point of the mid-Pleistocene compound-comet impact that became the D’Entrecasteaux Islands may have formed the volcanic Canary Islands, 776,000 years ago.
Canary Islands: 28.1° N, 15.4° W
D’Entrecasteaux Islands: 9.65° S, 150.70° E
The coordinate difference, displaced (18.45° lat. to the north, 13.9° long. to the east) from an exact antipode may be due to the faster relative NE motion of the Australian plate compared to the African plate over the last 3/4 million years.
Planetesimals formed by GI with late differentiating gneiss cores, such as those of D-Entrecasteaux Islands, were unlikely to have nucleated around an accretionary, Type II planetesimal core, therefore delaying aqueous differentiation until triggered by later planetesimal mergers, likely initiated by the stalled solar-system barycenter. So late-forming gneiss domes, significantly younger than 1000 Ma, should have mafic-rich granodiorite migmatite cores, whereas the central migmatite in gneiss domes cored with granite or highly-felsic pinkish leucosomes should contain some zircons with un-recrystallized cores not younger than 1000 Ma; although granodiorite (migmatite) need not be young and could be indefinitely old such as in Archean TTG terrains.
Other hypothesized dwarf-planet extinction-event impacts, with more detail forthcoming:
- End Ordovician: Appalachian Basin (and possibly much of Western Europe, excluding Scandinavia)
- End Silurian: Old Red Sandstone, Eastern Greenland, Scotland and most of Norway
- End Permian: Siberia
- End Triassic: China and South East Asia, minus North China
- Apian Extinction (145.5 Ma): Mongolia and North China
- End Cretaceous: Far East Russia east of Lena River, Alaska minus the north slope and minus the semicircle of mountainous terrain generally below Denali National Park, the North American Cordillera and the Caribbean Islands
- End Eocene: Mountainous terrain from Greece to Tibet, including Turkey, Iran, Northern Pakistan and Nepal (including the young gneiss domes of Greece, Tajikistan and Nepal)
- Middle Miocene disruption (14.5 Ma): Southern Japan with Mariana Trench tracing the impact-crater outline
PANSPERMIA AND FOSSILS IN COMET ROCK:
But what about macroscopic fossils in hypothesized comet rock?
Perhaps the question should be reversed to ask why multicellular life forms shouldn’t evolve first in the oceans of trillions of Oort Cloud planetesimal oceans, perhaps a 100 million years or more before earth cooled sufficiently to even support liquid water. Even today, Jupiter’s icy moon Europa alone is thought to harbor a liquid ocean containing twice the volume of water of all earth’s oceans.
If the solar system barycenter promotes mergers of close-binary planetesimals and also (compound) mergers of solitary planetesimals, then shattering of planetesimal ice occurring in planetesimal mergers may efficiently share genetic information, including eggs of higher life forms, widely throughout the Oort cloud and galaxy. If peanut-shaped Oort cloud comets are ‘contact binaries’ formed from the (core-collapse) merger of close-binary pairs precipitated by gravitational collapse — as similar-sized Kuiper belt binaries are hypothesized to have formed (Nesvorny, Youdin and Richardson, 2010, Formation of Kuiper Belt Binaries by Gravitational Collapse ) — then perhaps the vast majority of Oort cloud planetesimals have merged and shattered, effectively sharing material among themselves.
Additionally, the 3 light-year diameter of the Oort cloud, particularly including the high surface area of shrapnel from planetesimal mergers, has swept out a considerable volume of the galaxy over its 18 galactic revolutions, or so, in 4-1/2 billion years, and the continual merger of close-binary pairs over the history of the solar system has likely maintained a considerable volume of liquid water for aqueous evolution, not merely static sharing. Then catastrophic, terrestrial comet impacts have similarly contaminated the earth at widely-spaced intervals, but since rock layers in differentiated planetesimal cores are laid down continuously, the intervals between impacts are masked.
If the Appalachian Basin Platform is a compound-planetesimal impact that brought on the Ordovician–Silurian (End Ordovician or O-S) extinction event, then the trilobites, brachiopods, gastropods, mollusks, echinoderms and etc. found in Ordovician limestone are of Oort cloud origin. And the planet matter found in late Silurian and younger deposits is terrestrial; however the (authigenic terrestrial?) mudstone of the Burgess ‘Shale’ Formation in the Canadian North American Cordillera may be terrestrial.
If photosynthetic plant life is a terrestrial adaption, then the slow emergence of flora in the Devonian compared to the earlier Cambrian Explosion of aquatic fauna may represent the explosive growth of multicellular life promoted in Oort cloud planetesimal oceans, likely accelerated by short-lived radionuclides from the luminous red nova (LRN) merger of Proxima’s, (the hypothesized companion star to the Sun, Proxima [Centauri]) close-binary pair.
At cold temperatures and low oxygen levels in comet oceans oxygen transport and exchange by hemocyanin and hemerythrin would be more efficient by hemoglobin, so hemoglobin may be a terrestrial adaption to higher oxygen levels facilitated by photosynthesis.
While the conodont might represent the height of chordata life forms in Oort cloud oceans, the cephalopod-mollusk octopus might represent the height of Oort cloud intelligence, and we may need go no further than Europa’s ocean to find higher life forms. And as in the deep hydrosphere on earth, aqueous planetesimal life forms may see and communicate with the light of bioluminescence.
Type II planetesimals are hypothesized to have formed from chemically-reduced dust and ice that condensed from super-intense solar wind during the common envelope phase of the central binary pair as they spiraled inward. High temperatures in chemically-reactive Type II planetesimal oceans may support only microbial life forms, perhaps mostly in the cool ranges near the ice water boundary. By comparison, primary and compound Type I planetesimals formed from more-highly-oxidized presolar dust and ice of the protoplanetary accretion disk may be the origin of multicellular Oort cloud life forms.
In a compromise between strictly terrestrial evolution and continuous panspermia, terrestrial evolution might be vastly accelerated by the catastrophic introduction of microorganisms containing alien DNA for higher traits from Oort cloud comets.
Interstellar infection of DNA sequences for higher traits might explain evolutionary spurts of new taxonomic ranks following extinction events caused by Oort cloud comet impacts, particularly if alien microorganisms tend to quickly succumb to native strains and thus have only a short time to infect higher organisms by genetic transformation, incorporating exogenous DNA into gametes prior to fertilization. Indeed, human DNA has been found inside gonorrhoeae bacteria.
In molecular biology transformation is genetic alteration of a cell resulting from the direct uptake, incorporation and expression of exogenous genetic material (exogenous DNA) from its surroundings and taken up through the cell membrane(s).
. . .
Transformation may also be used to describe the insertion of new genetic material into nonbacterial cells.
In their 2013 paper, “Life Before Earth”, Sharov and Gordon suggest that genetic complexity is a measure of the length of functional and non-redundant DNA sequence. They continue:
If we plot genome complexity of major phylogenetic lineages on a logarithmic scale against the time of origin, the points appear to fit well to a straight line (Sharov, 2006) (Fig. 1). This indicates that genome complexity increased exponentially and doubled about every 376 million years. Such a relationship reminds us of the exponential increase of computer complexity known as a “Moore’s law” (Moore, 1965; Lundstrom, 2003). But the doubling time in the evolution of computers (18 months) is much shorter than that in the evolution of life.
What is most interesting in this relationship is that it can be extrapolated back to the origin of life. Genome complexity reaches zero, which corresponds to just one base pair, at time ca. 9.7 billion years ago (Fig. 1). A sensitivity analysis gives a range for the extrapolation of ±2.5 billion years (Sharov, 2006). Because the age of Earth is only 4.5 billion years, life could not have originated on Earth even in the most favorable scenario (Fig. 2). Another complexity measure yielded an estimate for the origin of life date about 5 to 6 billion years ago, which is similarly not compatible with the origin of life on Earth (Jørgensen, 2007).
(Sharov and Gordon, 2013)
By this measure suggested by Sharov and Gordon, intelligent life is only beginning to emerge in our Galaxy. Then extrapolating beyond their paper, intelligent life likely takes the form of humanoids if genetic sharing by transformation has allowed life on Earth to keep pace with the Galactic genetic doubling rate of 376 million years. Genetic sharing would also seem to indicate that the highest (non mammal) aquatic intelligence, in the form of octopuses, may lag behind terrestrial intelligence by less than one doubling even though aquatic life is likely vastly more prevalent.
SPECIFIC KINETIC ENERGY OF COMET IMPACTS:
The orbital velocity of the earth makes a dramatic difference in the kinetic energy of comet impacts. For a comet falling from infinity toward the sun at earth’s orbit, the ratio of kinetic energy between comets hitting earth head-on in its orbit around the sun and those catching up with earth is a factor of 19, but most fall somewhere in between. (This calculation factors in earth’s gravity.)
Earth escape velocity: 11.2 km/s
Earth, orbital velocity: 29.8 km/s
Body falling from infinity towards the sun to a distance of 1 AU: 42.2 km/s (calculated from gravitational potential energy and checked by comparing velocity falling from infinity to the diameter of the sun with the escape velocity of the sun)
Running into the earth head on in its orbit:
42.2 km/s + 29.78 km/s = 71.98 km/s
71.98 * 71.98 + 11.19 * 11.19 = 5181.12 + 125.21 = 5306.33 km^2/s^2 (specific energy)
Catching up with earth in its orbit:
42.2 km/s – 29.78 km/s = 12.42 km/s
12.42 * 12.42 + 11.19 * 11.19 = 154.26 + 125.21 = 279.47 km^2/s^2 (specific energy)
Specific kinetic energy ratio between hitting the earth head-on and catching up with earth in its orbit:
5306.33 / 279.47 = 18.99
Dwarf comets having fallen through Proxima’s 3:1 ‘resonant nursery’ resonance will orbit CCW in the Oort cloud like the planets. If the solar-system barycenter (SS-barycenter) acts as an aphelia attractor that pins Oort cloud orbits in its vicinity to the SS-barycenter, then the 73.6 Myr orbit of the Sun around the SS-barycenter will align these pinned orbits with the Galactic core twice per orbit, causing the tidal effect of the Galactic core to gradually reduce their perihelia by extracting angular momentum from the orbits until they dip into the planetary realm of the inner solar system. And the dwarf planets most likely to collide with Earth will have perihelia on the order of 1 AU. These objects would catch up with Earth in its CCW orbit and impact at almost the lowest possible speed.
Finally, comet ice may undergo endothermic chemical reactions (ECRs) in comet impacts, mostly clamping the impact shock-wave pressure below the melting point of rock.
Shear thinning properties of phyllosilicates appear to promote earthquake-fault slippage, such as in the earthquake that caused the 11 March 2011 Japanese tsunami. Additionally, (certain) sheet-silicate slurries may promote rock fracturing as occur in stratovolcanoes. Inert and refractory phyllosilicates may subducted under continental plates where heat and pressure on phyllosilicate slurries may fracture the overlying plate, forming stratovolcanoes in which the (remote subducted and/or local devitrified) volcanic ash is the cause rather than the result of the eruption.
Additionally, phyllosilicates may have gotten injected into the upper mantle in large comet impacts which were expelled to form flood basalt. Evidence for rock fracturing properties of hot phyllosilicate slurries:
1) Volcanic ash (phyllosilicates) and steam are released by explosive stratovolcanoes that can blast away mountain sides.
2) Phyllosilicates are commonly used as drilling mud
3) Steam is used to fracture oil shale and shale has a high phyllosilicate content.
4) “Most mature natural faults contain a significant component of sheet silicate minerals within their core.” (Faulkner, Mitchell, Hirose, Shimamoto, 2009) Smectite was discovered in the fault that caused the 11 March 2011 Japanese tsunami which is thought to have facilitated the earthquake with a friction coefficient of .08. (Fulton et al. 2013)
5) Montmorillonite is the major component in non-explosive agents for splitting rock.
Finally, the shear thinning properties of phyllosilicates may contribute to catastrophic mud slides during heavy rains, liquefaction during earthquakes and high-velocity pyroclastic flows during volcanic eruptions of hot volcanic ash.
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