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Paper: Sources of Shock Waves in the Protoplanetary Disk
Volume: 341, Chondrites and the Protoplanetary Disk
Page: 821
Authors: Boss, A.P.; Durisen, R.H.
Abstract: Finding an appropriate heat source for melting the chondrules that constitute the bulk of many primitive meteorites is perhaps the most important outstanding problem in all of meteoritics. Shock waves within the Solar Nebula are one possible means for accomplishing this provided that they move with respect to the precursor aggregates at speeds of ~ 6 to 9 km s−1 in environments with appropriate nebular pressures and densities. Here we briefly review the status of four different mechanisms which have been proposed as sources of such shock fronts. We argue that two of them, the accretion shock at the nebular surface and shocks propagating inside the nebula launched by the impact of gas clumps falling onto the disk, are unlikely to work. Bow shocks driven by 1000-km-size planetesimals show more promise, but require the presence of Jupiter to raise the eccentricities of the planetesimals. We then focus this chapter on the fourth mechanism, which may be the dominant source of shocks in the early nebula. Wood (1996) proposed that the chondrule-producing shocks were due to nebular spiral arms. This hypothesis is now strongly supported by recent calculations of the evolution of gravitationally unstable disks. In a gaseous disk capable of forming Jupiter, the disk gas must have been close to marginal gravitational instability near or beyond Jupiter's orbit. Massive clumps and spirals due to such instability can drive spiral shock fronts inward with shock speeds as large as ~ 10 km s−1 at asteroidal orbits, sufficient to account for chondrule formation. Once Jupiter forms, it may either continue to drive strong shock fronts at asteroidal distances, or it may pump up the eccentricity of planetesimals, leading to chondrule processing for as long as the inner disk gas survives, a few Myr or so. Mixing and transport of solids in an unstable disk results in a scenario that unifies chondrite formation from chondrules, refractory inclusions, and matrix grains with disk processes associated with gas giant planet formation.
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