Aeolian erosion is a destructive process that can erode small-size planetary objects through their interaction with a gaseous environment. Aeolian erosion operates in a wide range of environments and under various conditions. Aeolian erosion has been extensively explored in the context of geophysics in terrestrial planets. Here we show that aeolian erosion of cobbles, boulders, and small planetesimals in protoplanetary discs can constitute a significant barrier for the early stages of planet formation. We use analytic calculations to show that under the conditions prevailing in protoplanetary discs small bodies (10-104 m) are highly susceptible to gas-drag aeolian erosion. At this size-range aeolian erosion can efficiently erode the planetesimals down to tens-cm size and quench any further growth of such small bodies. It thereby raises potential difficulties for channels suggested to alleviate the metre-size barrier. Nevertheless, the population of ∼decimetre-size cobbles resulting from aeolian erosion might boost the growth of larger (>km size) planetesimals and planetary embryos through increasing the efficiency of pebble-accretion, once/if such large planetesimals and planetary embryos exist in the disc.
- Comets: general
- Minor planets, asteroids: general
- Planets and satellites: formation