Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Volume 38, Number 11 (2003)
ABOUT THIS COLLECTION
Meteoritics & Planetary Science is an international monthly journal of the Meteoritical Society—a scholarly organization promoting research and education in planetary science. Topics include the origin and history of the solar system, planets and natural satellites, interplanetary dust and interstellar medium, lunar samples, meteors and meteorites, asteroids, comets, craters, and tektites.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science was first published in 1935 under the title Contributions of the Society for Research on Meteorites. In 1947, the publication became known as Contributions of the Meteoritical Society and continued through 1951. From 1953 to 1995, the publication was known as Meteoritics, and in 1996, the journal's name was changed to Meteoritics & Planetary Science or MAPS. The journal was not published in 1952 and from 1957 to 1964.
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Ion microprobe U-Th-Pb dating of phosphates in martian meteorite ALH 84001Phosphates in martian meteorites are important carriers of trace elements, although, they are volumetrically minor minerals. PO4 also has potential as a biomarker for life on Mars. Here, we report measurements of the U-Th-Pb systematics of phosphates in the martian meteorite ALH 84001 using the Sensitive High Resolution Ion MicroProbe (SHRIMP) installed at Hiroshima University, Japan. Eleven analyses of whitlockites and 1 analysis of apatite resulted in a total Pb/U isochron age of 4018 +/- 81 Ma in the 238U/206Pb-207Pb/206Pb-204Pb/206Pb 3-D space, and a 232Th-208Pb age of 3971 +/- 860 Ma. These ages are consistent within a 95% confidence limit. This result is in agreement with the previously published Ar-Ar shock age of 4.0 +/- 0.1 Ga from maskelynite and other results of 3.8-4.3 Ga but are significantly different from the Sm-Nd age of 4.50 +/- 0.13 Ga based on the whole rock and pyroxene. Taking into account recent studies on textural and chemical evidence of phosphate, our result suggests that the shock metamorphic event defines the phosphate formation age of 4018 +/- 81 Ma, and that since then, ALH 84001 has not experienced a long duration thermal metamorphism, which would reset the U-Pb system in phosphates.
Ordinary chondrite metallography: Part 1. Fe-Ni taenite cooling experimentsCooling rate experiments were performed on P-free Fe-Ni alloys that are compositionally similar to ordinary chondrite metal to study the taenite --> taenite + kamacite reaction. The role of taenite grain boundaries and the effect of adding Co and S to Fe-Ni alloys were investigated. In P-free alloys, kamacite nucleates at taenite/taenite grain boundaries, taenite triple junctions, and taenite grain corners. Grain boundary diffusion enables growth of kamacite grain boundary precipitates into one of the parent taenite grains. Likely, grain boundary nucleation and grain boundary diffusion are the applicable mechanisms for the development of the microstructure of much of the metal in ordinary chondrites. No intragranular (matrix) kamacite precipitates are observed in P-free Fe-Ni alloys. The absence of intragranular kamacite indicates that P-free, monocrystalline taenite particles will transform to martensite upon cooling. This transformation process could explain the metallography of zoneless plessite particles observed in H and L chondrites. In P-bearing Fe-Ni alloys and iron meteorites, kamacite precipitates can nucleate both on taenite grain boundaries and intragranularly as Widmanstatten kamacite plates. Therefore, P-free chondritic metal and P-bearing iron meteorite/ pallasite metal are controlled by different chemical systems and different types of taenite transformation processes.
Noble gas isotopes and mineral assemblages of Antarctic micrometeorites collected at the meteorite ice field around the Yamato mountainsFrom November 1998 to January 1999, the 39th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE) conducted a large-scale micrometeorite collection at 3 areas in the meteorite ice field around the Yamato Mountains, Antarctica. The Antarctic micrometeorites (AMMs) collected were ancient cosmic dust particles. This is in contrast with the Dome Fuji AMMs, which were collected previously from fresh snows in 1996 and 1997 and which represent modern micrometeorites. To determine the noble gas concentrations and isotopic compositions of individual AMMs, noble gas analyses were carried out using laser-gas extraction for 35 unmelted Yamato Mountains AMMs and 3 cosmic spherules. X-ray diffraction analyses were performed on 13 AMMs before the noble gas measurement and mineral compositions were determined. AMMs are classified into 4 main mineralogical groups, defined from the heating they suffered during atmospheric entry. Heating temperatures of AMMs, inferred from their mineral compositions, are correlated with 4He concentrations and reflect the effect of degassing during atmospheric entry. Jarosite, an aqueous alteration product, is detected for 4 AMMs, indicating the aqueous alteration during long-time storage in Antarctic ice. Jarosite-bearing AMMs have relatively low concentrations of 4He, which is suggestive of loss during the alteration. High 3He/4He ratios are detected for AMMs with high 20Ne/4He ratios, showing both cosmogenic 3He and preferential He loss. SEP (solar energetic particles)-He and Ne, rather than the solar wind (SW), were dominant in AMMs, presumably showing a preferential removal of the more shallowly implanted SW by atmospheric entry heating. The mean 20Ne/22Ne ratio is 11.27 +/- 0.35, which is close to the SEP value of 11.2. Cosmogenic 21Ne is not detected in any of the particles, which is probably due to the short cosmic ray exposure ages. Ar isotopic compositions are explained by 3-component mixing of air, Q, and SEP-Ar. Ar isotopic compositions can not be explained without significant contributions of Q-Ar. SEP-Ne contributed more than 99% of the total Ne. As for 36Ar and 38Ar, the abundance of the Q component is comparable to that of the SEP component. 84Kr and 132Xe are dominated by the primordial component, and solar-derived Xe is almost negligible.
Impact glasses in fallout suevites from the Ries impact structure, Germany: An analytical SEM studyImpact-generated glasses from fallout suevite deposits at the Ries impact structure have been investigated using analytical scanning electron microscopy. Approximately 320 analyses of glass clasts were obtained. Four glass types are distinguished on the basis of composition and microtextures. Type 1 glasses correspond to the aerodynamically shaped glass bombs studied previously by many workers. Major oxide concentrations indicate the involvement of granitic rocks, amphibolites, and minor Al-rich gneisses during melting. Type 2 glasses are chemically heterogeneous, even within individual clasts, with variations of several wt% in most of the major oxides (e.g., 57-70 wt% SiO2). This suggests incomplete mixing of: 1) mineral-derived melts or 2) whole rock melts from a wide range of lithologies. Aluminium-rich clinopyroxene and Fe-Mg-rich plagioclase quench crystals are present in type 1 and 2 glasses, respectively. Type 3 glasses contain substantial amounts of H2O (~12-17 wt%), low SiO2 (50-53 wt%), high Al2O3 (17-21 wt%), and high CaO (57 wt%) contents. This suggests an origin due to shock melting of part of the sedimentary cover. Type 4 glasses form a ubiquitous component of the suevites. Based on their high SiO2 content (~85-100 wt%), the only possible protolith are sandstones in the lowermost part of the sedimentary succession. Calcite forms globules within type 1 glasses, with which it develops microtextures indicative of liquid immiscibility. Unequivocal evidence also exists for liquid immiscibility between what are now montmorillonite globules and type 1, 2, and 4 glasses, indicating that montmorillonite was originally an impact melt glass. Clearly, the melt zone at the Ries must have incorporated a substantial fraction of the sedimentary cover, as well as the underlying crystalline basement rocks. Impact melts were derived from different target lithologies and these separate disaggregated melts did not substantially mix in most cases (type 2, 3, and 4 glasses and carbonate melts).
Brachinites: Igneous rocks from a differentiated asteroidWe have done petrologic studies of brachinites Allan Hills (ALH) 84025, Elephant Moraine (EET) 99402, and EET 99407; bulk geochemical studies of EET 99402 and EET 99407; Ar- Ar studies of Brachina and EET 99402; and a Xe isotopic study of Brachina. Textural, mineral compositional, and bulk compositional evidence show that EET 99402 and EET 99407 are paired. ALH 84025, EET 99402, and EET 99407 have igneous textures. Petrofabric analyses of ALH 84025 and EET 99407 demonstrate the presence of lineations and probable foliations of olivine grains that support formation as igneous cumulates. Mineral minor element chemistry and bulk rock incompatible lithophile element contents of the brachinites are distinct from those of acapulcoite- lodranite clan meteorites, a suite of high-grade metamorphic rocks and anatectic residues. The differences demonstrate a higher blocking temperature of equilibration for the brachinites and that cumulus plagioclase is present in EET 99402, EET 99407, and probably ALH 84025, thus indicating an igneous origin. Brachinites are differentiated, ultramafic achondrites, and are not part of a suite of primitive achondrites. We infer that their parent asteroid is a differentiated body. Brachina has an excess of 129Xe correlated with reactor-produced 128Xe, demonstrating that short-lived 129I was present at the time of formation. This, plus literature data, attests to early formation of the brachinites, within a few Ma of the formation of chondrites. Ar-Ar age data show that Brachina and EET 99407 were degassed about 4.13 Ga ago, possibly by a common impact event. EET 99402 and EET 99407 show petrographic evidence for shock, including possible conversion of plagioclase to maskelynite followed by devitrification. Brachina is unshocked, making a direct association between the Ar-Ar age and textures ambiguous.
Ordinary chondrite metallography: Part 2. Formation of zoned and unzoned metal particles in relatively unshocked H, L, and LL chondritesWe studied the metallography of Fe-Ni metal particles in 17 relatively unshocked ordinary chondrites and interpreted their microstructures using the results of P-free, Fe-Ni alloy cooling experiments (described in Reisener and Goldstein 2003). Two types of Fe-Ni metal particles were observed in the chondrites: zoned taenite + kamacite particles and zoneless plessite particles, which lack systematic Ni zoning and consist of tetrataenite in a kamacite matrix. Both types of metal particles formed during metamorphism in a parent body from homogeneous, P-poor taenite grains. The phase transformations during cooling from peak metamorphic temperatures were controlled by the presence or absence of grain boundaries in the taenite particles. Polycrystalline taenite particles transformed to zoned taenite + kamacite particles by kamacite nucleation at taenite/taenite grain boundaries during cooling. Monocrystalline taenite particles transformed to zoneless plessite particles by martensite formation and subsequent martensite decomposition to tetrataenite and kamacite during the same cooling process. The varying proportions of zoned taenite + kamacite particles and zoneless plessite particles in types 46 ordinary chondrites can be attributed to the conversion of polycrystalline taenite to monocrystalline taenite during metamorphism. Type 4 chondrites have no zoneless plessite particles because metamorphism was not intense enough to form monocrystalline taenite particles. Type 6 chondrites have larger and more abundant zoneless plessite particles than type 5 chondrites because intense metamorphism in type 6 chondrites generated more monocrystalline taenite particles. The distribution of zoneless plessite particles in ordinary chondrites is entirely consistent with our understanding of Fe-Ni alloy phase transformations during cooling. The distribution cannot be explained by hot accretion-autometamorphism, post-metamorphic brecciation, or shock processing.
First discovery of stishovite in an iron meteoriteThe first occurrence of stishovite in an iron meteorite, Muonionalusta (group IVA), is reported. The mineral occurs intimately mixed with amorphous silica, forming tabular grains up to ~3 mm wide, with a hexagonal outline. It was identified using X-ray diffraction and Raman microspectroscopy. The unit-cell parameters of stishovite are a = 4.165(3) Å and c = 2.661(6) Å, and its chemical composition is nearly pure SiO2. Raman spectra show relatively sharp bands at 231 and 754 cm-1 and a broad band with an asymmetric shape and a maximum around 500 cm-1. The rare grains are found within troilite nodules together with chromite, daubreelite, and schreibersite. From their composition and morphology, and by comparisons with silica inclusions in, e.g., the Gibeon IVA iron, we conclude that these rare grains represent pseudomorphs after tridymite. The presence of stishovite in Muonionalusta is suggested to reflect shock metamorphic conditions in the IVA parent asteroid during a cosmic impact event.
A nuclear microprobe study of the distribution and concentration of carbon and nitrogen in Murchison and Tagish Lake meteorites, Antarctic micrometeorites, and IDPs: Implications for astrobiologyUsing a nuclear microprobe, we measured the carbon and nitrogen concentrations and distributions in several interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and Antarctic micrometeorites (MMs), and compared them to 2 carbonaceous chondrites: Tagish Lake and Murchison. We observed that IDPs are richest in both elements. All the MMs studied contain carbon, and all but the coarse-grained and 1 melted MM contained nitrogen. We also observed a correlation in the distribution of carbon and nitrogen, suggesting that they may be held in an organic material. The implications for astrobiology of these results are discussed, as small extraterrestrial particles could have contributed to the origin of life on Earth by delivering important quantities of these 2 bio-elements to the Earth's surface and their gas counterparts, CO2 and N2, to the early atmosphere.
The shape and appearance of craters formed by oblique impact on the Moon and VenusWe surveyed the impact crater populations of Venus and the Moon, dry targets with and without an atmosphere, to characterize how the 3-dimensional shape of a crater and the appearance of the ejecta blanket varies with impact angle. An empirical estimate of the impact angle below which particular phenomena occur was inferred from the cumulative percentage of impact craters exhibiting different traits. The results of the surveys were mostly consistent with predictions from experimental work. Assuming a sin2-Phi dependence for the cumulative fraction of craters forming below angle Phi, on the Moon, the following transitions occur: <~45 degrees, the ejecta blanket becomes asymmetric; <~25 degrees, a forbidden zone develops in the uprange portion of the ejecta blanket, and the crater rim is depressed in that direction; <~15 degrees, the rim becomes saddle-shaped; <~10 degrees, the rim becomes elongated in the direction of impact and the ejecta forms a “ butterfly” pattern. On Venus, the atmosphere causes asymmetries in the ejecta blanket to occur at higher impact angles. The transitions on Venus are: <~55 degrees, the ejecta becomes heavily concentrated downrange; <~40 degrees, a notch in the ejecta that extends to the rim appears, and as impact angle decreases, the notch develops into a larger forbidden zone; <~10 degrees, a fly-wing pattern develops, where material is ejected in the crossrange direction but gets swept downrange. No relationship between location or shape of the central structure and impact angle was observed on either planet. No uprange steepening and no variation in internal slope or crater depth could be associated with impact angle on the Moon. For both planets, as the impact angle decreases from vertical, first the uprange and then the downrange rim decreases in elevation, while the remainder of the rim stays at a constant elevation. For craters on Venus <~15 km in diameter, a variety of crater shapes are observed because meteoroid fragment dispersal is a significant fraction of crater diameter. The longer path length for oblique impacts causes a correlation of clustered impact effects with oblique impact effects. One consequence of this correlation is a shallowing of the crater with decreasing impact angle for small craters.