• Sodium-metasomatism in chondrules in CO3 chondrites: Relationship to parent body thermal metamorphism

      Tomeoka, Kazushige; Itoh, Daisuke (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      We have studied the mineralogy and petrology of mesostases of 783 type I chondrules in seven CO3 chondrites that range in petrologic subtype from 3.0 to 3.7. Chondrule mesostases in the CO chondrite of subtype 3.0 consist mainly of primary glass and plagioclase, while chondrule mesostases in the CO chondrites of higher subtypes (3.2-3.7) contain various amounts of nepheline in addition to glass and plagioclase. Nepheline has replaced glass and plagioclase, forming finegrained aggregates and thin parallel lamellar intergrowths with plagioclase. The nephelinization has proceeded preferentially from the outer margins of chondrules toward the inside. Although the degree of nephelinization differs widely among chondrules in each of the metamorphosed chondrites, our modal analyses and bulk chemical analyses of individual mesostases indicate that the amounts of nepheline in chondrules systematically increase with the increasing petrologic subtype of the host chondrites. Nepheline also has a tendency to increase in grain size with increasing petrologic subtype. We conclude that nepheline in chondrules in the CO3 chondrites has formed largely as a result of effects related to heating on the meteorite parent body. We suggest that nepheline initially formed as hydrous nepheline under the presence of aqueous fluids and subsequently was dehydrated after exhaustion of aqueous fluids. The degree of hydrothermal activity must have increased with increasing degree of heating, and thus, chondrules in more thermally metamorphosed chondrites produced larger amounts of nepheline. The results imply that CO3 chondrites have gone through lowgrade aqueous alteration and subsequent dehydration at the early stage of heating on the meteorite parent body.