Effect of Revised Nebular Water Distribution on Nebular Chemistry

K. E. Cyr (LPL/Univ. of Arizona), W. D. Sears (CSC/STScI), C. Sharp (Steward Observatory), J. I. Lunine (LPL/Univ. of Arizona)

The distribution of water in the solar nebula is important both because water is extremely abundant and because it condenses out at 5 AU, allowing ice and vapor to affect the chemistry of the nebula and forming solar system bodies. In one previous examination of the distribution of nebular water, (Stevenson, D. J. and Lunine, J. I. 1988, Icarus 75, 146), vapor is transported across the condensation front by eddy diffusion and rapidly condenses out as ice. The ice is assumed to suffer little effect from gas drag or other transport processes and so remains in the condensation zone. The model predicts that the inner 5 AU of the nebula becomes severely depleted in water vapor in as little as tex2html_wrap_inline18 yr.

However, in recent work (Cyr, K. E. et al. 1997, Icarus submitted) we found that gas drag effects in Stevenson and Lunine (1988) had been underestimated and that ice particles could drift back inward of 5 AU significant distances and sublimate, re-injecting the nebula with water vapor. Our expanded water transport model which incorporated both diffusion and drift processes still predicts an overall depletion in water vapor, but with a zone of local vapor enhancement on the order of 20-100% from 1-2 AU, which gradually drops off out to 5 AU. Thus, unlike Steveson and Lunine, we find a radial dependence to the water vapor depletion pattern and thus to the reducing nature and C/O ratio in the inner nebula.

We will consider the overall effect of the radial dependence of water depletion on nebular chemistry, using a chemical equilibrium code that computes abundances of nebular elements and major molecular C, N, S species. In particular, we will examine changes in local [CO]/[CH tex2html_wrap_inline20 ] and [N tex2html_wrap_inline22 ]/[NH tex2html_wrap_inline24 ] ratios due to the radially dependent decrease in oxygen fugacity, and the implications for forming solar system bodies.