• Alkali-feldspathic material entrained in Fe,S-rich veins in a monomict ureilite

      Warren, Paul H.; Huber, Heinz; Ulff-Møller, Finn (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      The Elephant Moraine (EET) 96001 ureilite contains a remarkable diversity of feldspars, which occur as tiny (no more than 60 micrometers maximum dimension) grains within a few Fe,S-rich (now weathered to mostly Fe oxide) veins. Molar S:Fe ratio in the veins averages 0.08 0.02. The veins meander and feature large fluctuations in apparent width; they appear to have entered this monomict breccia by a gentle, percolative process, not by violent impact injection. The feldspars are accompanied by a diverse suite of K-rich (and generally also Ti-rich) feldspathic glasses, and also major proportions of silica and pyroxene, which is largely fassaitic. A rhnite-like phase is also found, and, as inclusions in one of the fassaites, a Cr-poor spinel-like phase. The feldspars mostly feature remarkably high K/Na compared to feldspars of comparable An from polymict ureilites. The EET 96001 feldspathic component was probably once part of a thin basaltic crust on a ureilite asteroid. The spinel included in one of the fassaites formed at remarkably high fO2 (apparent oxidation state of iron: 41 atom% Fe3+), suggesting that the parent magma possibly assimilated near-surface water (however, the Fe3+was not directly measured, and has conceivably been affected by terrestrial weathering; also, there is no assurance that this fassaite originated together with the typical feldspar). We speculate that the feldspathic component was mixed into the dense, Fe,S-rich vein material, and very soon thereafter the Fe,S-rich vein material was emplaced adjacent to the EET 96001 host ureilite, at an advanced stage in a chaotic catastrophic disruption and partial reassembly process that affected all ureilites. The high-K nature of the EET 96001 feldspathic component, including the feldspathic glasses, suggests that fractional fusion may not have been as common during ureilite anatexis as has been inferred from recent studies of clast assemblages in polymict ureilites.
    • An experimental study on Fischer-Tropsch catalysis: Implications for impact phenomena and nebular chemistry

      Sekine, Yasuhito; Sugita, Seiji; Shido, Takafumi; Yamamoto, Takashi; Iwasawa, Yasuhiro; Kadono, Toshihiko; Matsui, Takafumi (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      Fischer-Tropsch catalysis, by which CO and H2 are converted to CH4 on the surface of transition metals, has been considered to be one of the most important chemical reactions in many planetary processes, such as the formation of the solar and circumplanetary nebulae, the expansion of vapor clouds induced by cometary impacts, and the atmospheric re-entry of vapor condensate due to asteroidal impacts. However, few quantitative experimental studies have been conducted for the catalytic reaction under conditions relevant to these planetary processes. In this study, we conduct Fischer-Tropsch catalytic experiments at low pressures (1.3 10^(4) bar is less than or equal to P which is less than or equal to 5.3 10^(1) bar) over a wide range of H2/CO ratios (0.25-1000) using pure iron, pure nickel, and iron-nickel alloys. We analyze what gas species are produced and measure the CH4 formation rate. Our results indicate that the CH4 formation rate for iron catalysts strongly depends on both pressure and the H2/CO ratio, and that nickel is a more efficient catalyst at lower pressures and lower H2/CO ratios. This difference in catalytic properties between iron and nickel may come from the reaction steps concerning disproportionation of CO, hydrogenation of surface carbon, and the poisoning of the catalyst. These results suggest that nickel is important in the atmospheric re-entry of impact condensate, while iron is efficient in circumplanetary subnebulae. Our results also indicate that previous numerical models of iron catalysis based on experimental data at 1 bar considerably overestimate CH4 formation efficiency at lower pressures, such as the solar nebula and the atmospheric re-entry of impact condensate.
    • Establishing the link between the Chesapeake Bay impact structure and the North American tektite strewn field: The Sr-Nd isotopic evidence

      Deutsch, Alexander; Koeberl, Christian (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      The Chesapeake Bay impact structure, which is about 35 Ma old, has previously been proposed as the possible source crater of the North American tektites (NAT). Here we report major and trace element data as well as the first Sr-Nd isotope data for drill core and outcrop samples of target lithologies, crater fill breccias, and post-impact sediments of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure. The unconsolidated sediments, Cretaceous to middle Eocene in age, have epsilon-Srt = 35.7 Ma of +54 to +272, and epsilon-Ndt = 35.7 Ma ranging from -6.5 to -10.8; one sample from the granitic basement with a TNdCHUR model age of 1.36 Ga yielded an epsilon-Srt = 35.7 Ma of +188 and an epsilon-Ndt = 35.7 Ma of -5.7. The Exmore breccia (crater fill) can be explained as a mix of the measured target sediments and the granite, plus an as-yet undetermined component. The post-impact sediments of the Chickahominy formation have slightly higher TNdCHUR model ages of about 1.55 Ga, indicating a contribution of some older materials. Newly analyzed bediasites have the following isotope parameters: +104 to +119 (epsilon-Srt = 35.7 Ma), -5.7 (epsilon-Ndt = 35.7 Ma), 0.47 Ga (TSrUR), and 1.15 Ga (TNdCHUR), which is in excellent agreement with previously published data for samples of the NAT strewn field. Target rocks with highly radiogenic Sr isotopic composition, as required for explaining the isotopic characteristics of Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) site 612 tektites, were not among the analyzed sample suite. Based on the new isotope data, we exclude any relation between the NA tektites and the Popigai impact crater, although they have identical ages within 2 errors. The Chesapeake Bay structure, however, is now clearly constrained as the source crater for the North American tektites, although the present data set obviously does not include all target lithologies that have contributed to the composition of the tektites.
    • Formation of TiC core-graphitic mantle grains from CO gas

      Kimura, Yuki; Nuth, Joseph A.; Ferguson, Frank T. (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      We demonstrate a new formation route for TiC core-graphitic mantle spherules that does not require carbon-atom addition and the very long time scales associated with such growth (Bernatowicz et al. 1996). Carbonaceous materials can be formed from C2H2 and its derivatives, as well as from CO gas. In this paper, we will demonstrate that large-cage-structure carbon particles can be produced from CO gas by the Boudouard reaction. Since the sublimation temperature for such fullerenes is low, the large cages can be deposited onto previously nucleated TiC and produce TiC core-graphitic mantle spherules. New constraints for the formation conditions and the time scale for the formation of TiC core-graphitic mantle spherules are suggested by the results of this study. In particular, TiC core-graphitic mantle grains that are found in primitive meteorites that have never experienced hydration could be mantled by fullerenes or carbon nanotubes rather than by graphite. In situ observations of these grains in primitive anhydrous meteoritic matrix could confirm or refute this prediction and would demonstrate that the graphitic mantle on such grains is a metamorphic feature due to interaction of the presolar fullerenes with water within the meteorite matrix.
    • Fracture-related intracrystalline transformation of olivine to ringwoodite in the shocked Sixiangkou meteorite

      Chen, Ming; Li, Hui; El Goresy, Ahmed; Liu, Jing; Xie, Xiande (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      Magnesium-iron olivine in the Sixiangkou L6 chondrite contains abundant fractures induced by plastic deformation during shock metamorphism. This study reports the discovery of lamellar ringwoodite that incoherently nucleated and grew along planar and irregular fractures in olivine. Magnesium-iron interdiffusion took place between olivine matrix and crystallizing ringwoodite at high pressures and high temperatures, which resulted in higher FeO content in ringwoodite lamellae than in olivine. This suggests that a quasi-hydrostatic high pressure lasting for several minutes should have been produced in the shock veins of the meteorite. The intracrystalline transformation of olivine to ringwoodite also has implications for phase transitions in subducting lithospheric slabs because planar and irregular fractures are commonly produced in olivine that suffered plastic deformation.
    • FTIR 2–16 micron spectroscopy of micron-sized olivines from primitive meteorites

      Morlok, A.; Bowey, J.; Köhler, M.; Grady, M. M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      Infrared spectra of mineral grains from primitive meteorites could be useful for comparison with astronomical infrared spectra since some of their grains might be similar to those formed in the planet-forming disks around young stars or in the envelopes surrounding late-typestars. To assess the usefulness of meteorite spectra, olivine grains separated from primitive meteorites have been analyzed using FTIR microscope techniques in the 2-16 micrometers wavelength range. The sub-micron sizes of the grains made a complex preparation process necessary.Five characteristic bands were measured near 11.9, 11.2, 10.4, 10.1, and 10.0 micrometers. The results of 59 analyses allow the calculation of band positions for meteoritic olivines as a function of their iron and magnesium contents. Comparison of the meteoritic results with astronomical data for comets and dust around young and old stars, which exhibit bands similar to the strongest infrared bands observed in the grains (at 11.2 micrometers), show that the spectral resolution of the astronomical observations is too low to ascertain the exact iron and magnesium (Mg:Fe) ratio of the dust in the 8-13 micrometers wavelength range.
    • Noble gases in the Martian meteorite Northwest Africa 2737: A new chassignite signature

      Marty, Bernard; Heber, Veronika S.; Grimberg, Ansgar; Wieler, Rainer; Barrat, Jean-Alix (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      We report noble gas data for the second chassignite, Northwest Africa (NWA) 2737, which was recently found in the Moroccan desert. The cosmic ray exposure (CRE) age based on cosmogenic 3He, 21Ne, and 38Ar around 10-11 Ma is comparable to the CRE ages of Chassigny and the nakhlites and indicates ejection of meteorites belonging to these two families during a discrete event, or a suite of discrete events having occurred in a restricted interval of time. In contrast, U-Th/He and K/Ar ages <0.5 Ga are in the range of radiometric ages of shergottites, despite a Sm-Nd signature comparable tothat of Chassigny and the nakhlites (Misawa et al. 2005). Overall, the noble gas signature of NWA2737 resembles that of shergottites rather than that of Chassigny and the nakhlites: NWA 2737 doesnot contain, in detectable amount, the solar-like xenon found in Chassigny and thought to characterizethe Martian mantle nor apparently fission xenon from 244Pu, which is abundant in Chassigny andsome of the nakhlites. In contrast, NWA 2737 contains Martian atmospheric noble gases trapped inamounts comparable to those found in shergottite impact glasses. The loss of Martian mantle noblegases, together with the trapping of Martian atmospheric gases, could have occurred duringassimilation of Martian surface components, or more likely during shock metamorphism, which isrecorded in the petrology of this meteorite.
    • Polyhedral serpentine grains in CM chondrites

      Zega, Thomas J.; Garvie, Laurence A. J.; Dódony, István; Friedrich, Heiner; Stroud, Rhonda M.; Buseck, Peter R. (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      We used high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), electron tomography, electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) to investigate the structure and composition of polyhedral serpentine grains that occur in the matrices and fine-grained rims of the Murchison, Mighei, and Cold Bokkeveld CM chondrites. The structure of these grains is similar to terrestrial polygonal serpentine, but the data show that some have spherical or subspherical, rather than cylindrical morphologies. We therefore propose that the term polyhedral rather than polygonal be used to describe this material. EDS shows that the polyhedral grains are rich in Mg with up to 8 atom% Fe. EELS indicates that 70% of the Fe occurs as Fe3+. Alteration of cronstedtite on the meteorite parent body under relatively oxidizing conditions is one probable pathway by which the polyhedral material formed. The polyhedral grains are the end-member serpentine in a mineralogic alteration sequence for the CM chondrites.
    • Sr and Nd analyses of upper Eocene spherules and their implications for target rocks

      Liu, Shaobin; Papanastassiou, D. A.; Ngo, H. H.; Glass, B. P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      Upper Eocene impact ejecta has been discovered all over the world. The number of upper Eocene impact layers and the geographic distribution of each layer, based on major chemical composition and biostratigraphic data, are not agreed upon. We have performed four Sr-Nd isotopic analyses of clinopyroxene-bearing spherules (cpx spherules) and three Sr-Nd analyses of microtektites from five Deep Sea Drilling Project/Ocean Drilling Program (DSDP/ODP) sites in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Our data support the hypothesis that there is only one cpx spherule layer in upper Eocene sediments. We also find that the microtektites associated with the cpx spherule layer in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans are not part of the North American tektite strewn field, but belong to the same event that produced the cpx spherules. The microtektites, together with cpx spherules, are more heterogeneous than microtektites/tektites from other strewn fields. No direct link has been established between the microtektites from this study and possible target rock at the Popigai crater.
    • Surface electronic states of meteoritic nanodiamonds

      Garvie, Laurence A. J.; Buseck, Peter R. (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      The C K edge of Orgueil nanodiamonds (C-delta diamonds) was acquired by electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), with an energy resolution of 300 meV. The spectra show peaks at 282.5, 284.7, and 286.4 eV, which occur in the band gap below the main diamond edge and are absent from the bulk diamond spectrum. These peaks are attributed to transitions from degrees C 1s surface core levels to unoccupied surface states, and arise from single and pi-bonded dangling bonds and C-H bonds. A shoulder to the main absorption edge at 287.8 eV may correspond to hydrocarbon adsorbates. These results can be used to further our understanding of C-delta diamond structure and may reveal the presence of a fullerene-like surface. The unique surface electronic states of the C-delta diamond surfaces are expected to affect their optical properties, which are dependent on features such as extent of H coverage, particle size, and surface structure.
    • The record of Miocene impacts in the Argentine Pampas

      Schultz, Peter H.; Zárate, Marcelo; Hames, Willis E.; Harris, R. Scott; Bunch, T. E.; Koeberl, Christian; Renne, Paul; Wittke, James (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      Argentine Pampean sediments represent a nearly continuous record of deposition since the late Miocene (~10 Ma). Previous studies described five localized concentrations of vesicular impact glasses from the Holocene to late Pliocene. Two more occurrences from the late Miocene are reported here: one near Chasicó (CH) with an 40Ar/39Ar age of 9.24 +/- 0.09 Ma, and the other near Bahía Blanca (BB) with an age of 5.28 +/- 0.04 Ma. In contrast with andesitic and dacitic impact glasses from other localities in the Pampas, the CH and BB glasses are more mafic. They also exhibit higher degrees of melting with relatively few xenoycrysts but extensive quench crystals. In addition to evidence for extreme heating (>1700 degrees C), shock features are observed (e.g., planar deformation features [PDFs] and diaplectic quartz and feldspar) in impact glasses from both deposits. Geochemical analyses reveal unusually high levels of Ba (~7700 ppm) in some samples, which is consistent with an interpretation that these impacts excavated marine sequences known to be at depth. These two new impact glass occurrences raise to seven the number of late Cenozoic impacts for which there is evidence preserved in the Pampean sediments. This seemingly high number of significant impacts over a 10^6 km^2 area in a time span of 10 Myr is consistent with the number of bolides larger than 100 m expected to enter the atmosphere but is contrary to calculated survival rates following atmospheric disruption. The Pampean record suggests, therefore, that either atmospheric entry models need to be reconsidered or that the Earth has received an enhanced flux of impactors during portions of the late Cenozoic. Evidence for the resulting collisions may be best preserved and revealed in rare dissected regions of continuous, low-energy deposition such as the Pampas. Additionally, the rare earth element (REE) concentrations of the target sediments and impact melts associated with the Chasicó event resemble the HNa/K australites of similar age. This suggests the possibility that those enigmatic tektites could have originated as high-angle, distal ejecta from an impact in Argentina, thereby accounting for their rarity and notable chemical and physical differences from other Australasian impact glasses.
    • UV photolysis of quinoline in interstellar ice analogs

      Elsila, Jamie E.; Hammond, Matthew R.; Bernstein, Max P.; Sandford, Scott A.; Zare, Richard N. (The Meteoritical Society, 2006-01-01)
      The polycyclic aromatic nitrogen heterocycle (PANH) quinoline (C9H7N) was frozen at 20 K in interstellar ice analogs containing either pure water or water mixed with methanol or methane and exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Upon warming, the photolysis products were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography and nanoscale liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. A suite of hydroxyquinolines, which were formed by the addition of oxygen atoms to quinoline, was observed as the primary product in all the ices. Quinoline N oxide was not formed, but five hydroxyquinoline isomers were produced with no clear dominance of one isomer. Reduction products, formed by hydrogen atom addition, were also created. Ices created at 20 K with H2O: quinoline ratios of 10:1 to 100:1 showed similar product distributions to those at 122 K, with no apparent temperature or concentration dependence. Increasing the UV dose led to a decrease in overall yield, indicating that quinoline and its products may be photo-destroyed. Methylquinolines were formed upon photolysis of the methanol- and methane-containing ices. In addition, possible methoxyquinolines or quinoline methylene alcohols were formed in the methanolcontaining ice, while methylhydroxyquinolines were created in the methane-containing ice. This work indicates that oxidation of PANHs could occur in icy extraterrestrial environments and suggests that a search for such compounds in carbonaceous meteorites could illuminate the possible link between interstellar ice chemistry and meteoritic organics. Given the importance of oxidized and alkylated PANHs to biochemistry, the formation and delivery of such molecules to the early Earth may have played a role in the origin and evolution of life.