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Paper: Origin and properties of GEMS (Glass with Embedded Metal and Sulfides)
Volume: 341, Chondrites and the Protoplanetary Disk
Page: 668
Authors: Dai. Z.R.; Bradley, J.P.
Abstract: GEMS are to the outer solar system what chondrules are to the inner solar system. Ten years after it was first proposed that GEMS are the long-sought interstellar amorphous silicates, ion microprobe measurements have confirmed that some of them are indeed interstellar amorphous silicates. The new challenges are to obtain even higher precision isotope measurements from these submicrometer-sized objects and to clarify how and where they originally formed. Individual GEMS exhibit a strikingly narrow (0.1-0.5 μm diameter) size distribution and they are systematically depleted from solar abundances in S/Si, Mg/Si, Ca/Si and Fe/Si, implying that they formed by a common mechanism. Mineralogical and petrographic evidence suggest that irradiation processing may be that mechanism. Recent nanometer-scale compositional mapping using new-generation transmission electron microscopes reveals that truly pristine GEMS may be relatively rare and new metrics need to be developed to distinguish the primordial properties of GEMS from more recent secondary alteration effects.
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