Abstract

The approximately 250 mineral species found in meteorites record the earliest stages of the birth of our solar system. Refractory minerals that formed during the violent deaths of other stars and during condensation of our own solar nebula mixed with a wide range of silicates, sulfides, and metals to form the most primitive chondritic meteorites. Subsequent aqueous alteration, thermal metamorphism, and shock metamorphism further diversified the minerals found in meteorites. Asteroidal melting at first increased and then dramatically decreased mineralogical diversity, before a new phase of igneous differentiation that presaged the processes that would occur in terrestrial planets.

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