Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 107, Issue 2–4, pp 197–217 | Cite as

Investigations on a Large Collection of Cosmic Dust From the Central Indian Ocean

  • Krishnakant Parashar
  • M. Shyam PrasadEmail author
  • S. S. S. Chauhan


We collected 1,245 spherules from the Central Indian Ocean basin by Magnetic cosmic dust collection (MACDUC) experiment raking the deep sea floor. This collection ranks among the large deep sea collections of cosmic dust. For this study, 168 particles are analyzed with SEM-EDS to characterise their cosmic nature and identify the processes that their morphological features, textures and chemical compositions reveal. All the three basic types of cosmic spherules have been identified: I-type, S-type and the G-type. The silicate or the S-type spherules are dominant in this collection. In all, 115 spherules were sectioned, polished and analyzed for major elements. I-type spherules are mainly composed of Fe and Ni oxides, some have metallic cores where appreciable amounts of Co is observed in addition to glassy phases with lithophile elements are also observed in these spherules. These evidences are supportive of the view that the I-type spherules could be metal grains from carbonaceous/unequilibrated chondritic bodies. The S-type spherules show elemental composition of Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Fe, and Ni approximately similar to chondritic compositions. In addition, some other rare particles such as an S-type sphere which contains a large zoned relict chromite crystal, other spheres with a semi-porphyritic/barred olivine texture are also observed. While most the S-type spherules appear to have carbonaceous chondrites as their parent bodies, the relict grain bearing spherule shows distinctly an ordinary chondritic parent body.


Cosmic spherules Cosmic dust Micrometeorites Chondrites Carbonaceous chondrites Central Indian Ocean 



The authors thank the Director, NIO Goa for the encouragement and support for this work. We express our gratitude to Gavin Walker and Joselan Pereira for theirinvaluable help during the collection of samples onboard AA Sidorenko. The authors are also grateful to Vijay Khedekar for his technical support during the SEM work. We are indebted to L. Folco and an anonymous reviewer for their incisive reviews and valuable suggestions. We also thank Joseph A. Nelen, Smithsonian Institution, Washington for providing meteorite mineral standards. This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System. This project is funded by ISRO-PRL, Ahmedabad under the PLANEX program. This is NIO’s contribution number 4835.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krishnakant Parashar
    • 1
  • M. Shyam Prasad
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. S. S. Chauhan
    • 2
  1. 1.Geological Oceanography Division, National Institute of OceanographyCouncil for Scientific and Industrial ResearchDona PaulaIndia
  2. 2.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institut für Meteorologie und KlimaforschungForschungszentrum KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany

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