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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 8, 2023
  2. Abstract

    Dust grains that formed around ancient stars and in stellar explosions seeded the early solar protoplanetary disk. While most of such presolar grains were destroyed during solar system formation, a fraction of such grains were preserved in primitive materials such as meteorites. These grains can provide constraints on stellar origins and secondary processing such as aqueous alteration and thermal metamorphism on their parent asteroids. Here, we report on the nature of aqueous alteration in the Miller Range (MIL) 07687 chondrite through the analysis of four presolar silicates and their surrounding material. The grains occur in the Fe‐rich and Fe‐poor lithologies, reflecting relatively altered and unaltered material, respectively. The O‐isotopic compositions of two grains, one each from the Fe‐rich and Fe‐poor matrix, are consistent with formation in the circumstellar envelopes of low‐mass Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB)/Red Giant Branch (RGB) stars. The other two grains, also one each from the Fe‐rich and Fe‐poor matrix, have O‐isotopic compositions consistent with formation in the ejecta of type‐II supernovae (SNe). The grains derived from AGB/RGB stars include two polycrystalline pyroxene grains that contain Fe‐rich rims. The SNe grains include a polycrystalline Ca‐bearing pyroxene and a polycrystalline assemblage consistent with a mixture of olivine and pyroxene. Ferrihydrite is observed in all focused ion beam sections, consistent with parent‐body aqueous alteration of the fine‐grained matrix under oxidizing conditions. The Fe‐rich rims around presolar silicates in this study are consistent with Fe‐diffusion into the grains resulting from early‐stage hydrothermal alteration, but such alteration was not extensive enough to lead to isotopic equilibration with the surrounding matrix.

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  3. Abstract We have performed sound velocity and unit cell volume measurements of three synthetic, ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples up to 50 GPa using Brillouin spectroscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The samples are characterized by average grain sizes of 90 nm, 93 nm and 179 nm (hereinafter referred to as samples Gr90, Gr93, and Gr179, respectively). The experimentally determined sound velocities and elastic properties of Gr179 sample are comparable with previous measurements, but slightly higher than those of Gr90 and Gr93 under ambient conditions. However, the differences diminish with increasing pressure, and the velocity crossover eventually takes place at approximately 20–30 GPa. The X-ray diffraction peaks of the ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples significantly broaden between 15–40 GPa, especially for Gr179. The velocity or elasticity crossover observed at pressures over 30 GPa might be explained by different grain size reduction and/or inhomogeneous strain within the individual grains for the three grossular samples, which is supported by both the pressure-induced peak broadening observed in the X-ray diffraction experiments and transmission electron microscopy observations. The elastic behavior of ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline silicates, in this case, grossular, is both grain size and pressure dependent. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    We investigated the mechanisms of uranium (U) uptake by Tamarix (salt cedars) growing along the Rio Paguate, which flows throughout the Jackpile mine near Pueblo de Laguna, New Mexico. Tamarix were selected for this study due to the detection of U in the roots and shoots of field collected plants (0.6–58.9 mg kg −1 ), presenting an average bioconcentration factor greater than 1. Synchrotron-based micro X-ray fluorescence analyses of plant roots collected from the field indicate that the accumulation of U occurs in the cortex of the root. The mechanisms for U accumulation in the roots of Tamarix were further investigated in controlled-laboratory experiments where living roots of field plants were macerated for 24 h or 2 weeks in a solution containing 100 μM U. The U concentration in the solution decreased 36–59% after 24 h, and 49–65% in two weeks. Microscopic and spectroscopic analyses detected U precipitation in the root cell walls near the xylems of the roots, confirming the initial results from the field samples. High-resolution TEM was used to study the U fate inside the root cells, and needle-like U–P nanocrystals, with diameter <7 nm, were found entrapped inside vacuoles in cells. EXAFS shell-by-shell fitting suggest that U is associated with carbon functional groups. The preferable binding of U to the root cell walls may explain the U retention in the roots of Tamarix , followed by U–P crystal precipitation, and pinocytotic active transport and cellular entrapment. This process resulted in a limited translocation of U to the shoots in Tamarix plants. This study contributes to better understanding of the physicochemical mechanisms affecting the U uptake and accumulation by plants growing near contaminated sites. 
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  5. Abstract

    Our detailed mineralogical, elemental, and isotopic study of the Miller Range (MIL) 07687 meteorite showed that, although this meteorite has affinities to CO chondrites, it also exhibits sufficient differences to warrant classification as an ungrouped carbonaceous chondrite. The most notable feature of MIL 07687 is the presence of two distinct matrix lithologies that result from highly localized aqueous alteration. One of these lithologies is Fe‐rich and exhibits evidence for interaction with water, including the presence of fibrous (dendritic) ferrihydrite. The other lithology, which is Fe‐poor, appears to represent relatively unaltered protolith material. MIL 07687 has presolar grain abundances consistent with those observed in other modestly altered carbonaceous chondrites: the overall abundance of O‐rich presolar grains is 137 ± 3 ppm and the overall abundance of SiC grains is 71 ± 11 ppm. However, there is a large difference in the observed O‐rich and SiC grain number densities between altered and unaltered areas, reflecting partial destruction of presolar grains (both O‐ and C‐rich grains) due to the aqueous alteration experienced by MIL 07687 under highly oxidizing conditions. Detailed coordinated NanoSIMS‐TEM analysis of a large hotspot composed of an isotopically normal core surrounded by a rim composed of17O‐rich grains is consistent with either original condensation of the core and surrounding grains in the same parent AGB star, or with grain accretion in the ISM or solar nebula.

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