Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Volume 38, Number 6 (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.
This archive provides access to Meteoritics & Planetary Science Volumes 37-44 (2002-2009).Visit Wiley Online Library for new and retrospective Meteoritics & Planetary Science content (1935-present).
Contact the University Libraries Journal Team with questions.
Correlation between relative ages inferred from 26Al and bulk compositions of ferromagnesian chondrules in least equilibrated ordinary chondritesWe have studied the relationship between bulk chemical compositions and relative formation ages inferred from the initial 26Al/27Al ratios for sixteen ferromagnesian chondrules in least equilibrated ordinary chondrites, Semarkona (LL3.0) and Bishunpur (LL3.1). The initial 26Al/27Al ratios of these chondrules were obtained by Kita et al. (2000) and Mostefaoui et al. (2002), corresponding to relative ages from 0.7 +/- 0.2 to 2.4 -0.4/+0.7 Myr after calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), by assuming a homogeneous distribution of 26Al in the early solar system. The measured bulk compositions of the chondrules cover the compositional range of ferromagnesian chondrules reported in the literature and, thus, the chondrules in this study are regarded as representatives of ferromagnesian chondrules. The relative ages of the chondrules appear to correlate with bulk abundances of Si and the volatile elements (Na, K, Mn, and Cr), but there seems to exist no correlation of relative ages neither with Fe nor with refractory elements. Younger chondrules tend to be richer in Si and volatile elements. Our result supports the result of Mostefaoui et al. (2002) who suggested that pyroxene-rich chondrules are younger than olivine-rich ones. The correlation provides an important constraint on chondrule formation in the early solar system. It is explained by chondrule formation in an open system, where silicon and volatile elements evaporated from chondrule melts during chondrule formation and recondensed as chondrule precursors of the next generation.
Systematics of Mössbauer absorption areas in ordinary chondrites and applications to a newly fallen meteorite in Jodhpur, IndiaMössbauer absorption areas corresponding to 57Fe in olivine, pyroxene, troilite, and the metallic phase in ordinary chondrites are shown to exhibit certain systematic behaviors. H chondrites occupy 2 distinct regions on the plot of metallic phase absorption area versus silicate absorption area, while L/LL chondrites fall in a separate region. Similar separation is also observed when pyroxene absorption area is plotted against olivine absorption area. The one-dimensional plot for the ratio of olivine area to pyroxene area separates L and LL chondrites. Based on these systematics, a newly fallen meteorite at Jodhpur, India is suggested to be an LL chondrite.
Bolides in the present and past martian atmosphere and effects on cratering processesWe investigate the action of the martian atmosphere on entering meteoroids for present and past atmospheres with various surface pressures to predict the smallest observable craters, and to understand the implications for the size distributions of craters on Mars and meteoroids in space. We assume different strengths appropriate to icy, stone, and iron bodies and test the results against available data on terrestrial bolides. Deceleration, ablation, and fragmentation effects are included. We find that the smallest icy, stone, and iron meteoroids to hit the martian ground at crater forming speeds of greater than or equal to 500 m/s have diameters of about 2 m, 0.03-0.9 m (depending on strength), and 0.01 m, respectively, in the current atmosphere. For hypothetical denser past atmospheres, the cutoff diameters rise. At a surface pressure of 100 mb, the cutoff diameters are about 24 m, 5-12 m, and 0.14 m for the 3 classes. The weaker stony bodies in the size range of about 1-30 m may explode at altitudes of about 10-20 km above the ground. These figures imply that under the present atmosphere, the smallest craters made by these objects would be as follows: by ice bodies, craters of diameter (D) ~8 m, by stones about 0.5-6 m, and by irons, about 0.3 m. A strong depletion of craters should, thus, occur at diameters below about 0.3 m to 5 m. Predicted fragmentation and ablation effects on weak meteoroids in the present atmosphere may also produce a milder depletion below D ~500 m, relative to the lunar population. But, this effect may be difficult to detect in present data because of additional losses of small craters due to sedimentation, dunes, and other obliteration effects. Craters in strewn fields, caused by meteoroid fragmentation, will be near or below present-day resolution limits, but examples have been found. These phenomena have significant consequences. Under the present atmosphere, the smallest (decimeter-scale) craters in sands and soils could be quickly obliterated but might still be preserved on rock surfaces, as noted by Horz et al. (1999). Ancient crater populations, if preserved, could yield diagnostic signatures of earlier atmospheric conditions. Surfaces formed under past denser atmospheres (few hundred mbar), if preserved by burial and later exposed by exhumation, could show: a) striking depletions of small craters (few meter sizes up to as much as 200 m), relative to modern surfaces; b) more clustered craters due to atmospheric breakup; and degrees C) different distributions of meteorite types, with 4 m to 200 m craters formed primarily by irons instead of by stones as on present-day Mars. Megaregolith gardening of the early crust would be significant but coarser than the gardening of the ancient lunar uplands.
Petrology of the Baszkówka L5 chondrite: A record of surface-forming processes on the parent bodyWe review the petrology of Baszkówka, present new microprobe data on mineral constituents, and propose a model for surface properties of the parent body consistent with these data. The low shock index and high porosity of the Baszkówka L5 chondrite mean that considerable primary textural and petrographic detail is preserved, allowing insight into the structure and evolution of the parent body. This meteorite formed in a sedimentary environment resembling that in which pyroclastic rocks are deposited. The origin of the component chondrules, achondritic fragments (mostly olivine and pyroxene aggregates), chondritic-achondritic aggregates, and compound chondrules can be explained by invoking collision of 2 melted or partially melted planetesimals, each covered with a thin crust. This could have happened at an early stage in the evolution of the solar system, between 1 and 2 Myr after its origin. The collision resulted in the formation of a cloud containing products of earlier magmatic crystallization (chondrite and achondrite fragments) from which new chondrules were created. Particle collision in this cloud produced fragmented chondrules, chondritic-achondritic aggregates, and compound chondrules. Within this low-density medium, these particles were accreted on the surface of the larger of the planetesimals involved in the collision. The density of the medium was low enough to prevent grain-size sorting of the components but high enough to prevent the total loss of heat and to enable the welding of fragments on the surface of the body. The rock material was homogenized within the cloud and, in particular, within the zone close to the planetesimal surface. The hot material settled on the surface and became welded as molten or plastic metal, and sulfide components cemented the grains together. The process resembled the formation of welded ignimbrites. Once these processes on the planetesimal surface were completed, no subsequent recrystallization occurred. The high porosity of the Baszkówka chondrite indicates that the meteorite comes from a near-surface part of the parent body. Deeper parts of the planetesimal would have been more massive because of compaction.
Large-ion lithophile element fractionation during the early differentiation of Mars and the composition of the martian primitive mantleBasaltic shergottites display a systematic decrease in K/Th, K/U, and K/La ratios with increasing K content. These trends are interpreted as mixing lines between relatively young martian magmas derived from highly depleted mantle sources and an ancient large-ion lithophile (LIL) element-enriched crustal component. One implication of this is that a substantial fractionation of these ratios occurs during the early crustal differentiation on Mars. Isotopic evidence from SNC meteorites and compositional data from Pathfinder and orbital gamma ray spectroscopy suggest that in excess of 50% of the LIL element complement of Mars resides in the crustal reservoir. If so, the primitive mantle of Mars is significantly more volatile-depleted (i.e., lower K/Th, K/U, K/La) than previously thought but probably (though not necessarily) still less volatile-depleted than the primitive mantle of the Earth. The La/Th ratios of virtually all SNC meteorites are subchondritic, including those with the most severe LREE-depletion. Extrapolation of the basaltic shergottite trend suggests that both the depleted mantle end member and the enriched crustal end member have subchondritic La/Th ratios. This is in contrast with the Earth where basalts from LIL element-depleted sources such as MORB have superchondritic La/Th ratios, complementary to the subchondritic ratios of the continental crust. Accordingly, assuming that the refractory elements are in chondritic proportions for the Mars primitive mantle, an additional major geochemical reservoir must exist on Mars that may not yet have been sampled.
40Ar/39Ar laser probe dating of the Central European tektite-producing impact eventA new 40Ar/39Ar data set is presented for tektites from the Central European strewn field (moldavites). This is the only strewn field that is entirely situated in a continental environment and still characterized by scattered ages (14-15.3 Myr). The main objectives of the study were to define more precisely the moldavite formation age and provide a good calibration for a glass standard proposed for fission-track dating. The laser total fusion ages obtained on chips from 7 individual specimens from the Southern Bohemian and Moravian subfields are restricted to a narrow interval of time, with an average of 14.34 +/- 0.08 Myr relative to the 27.95 +/- 0.09 Myr of the Fish Canyon Tuff biotite. This result gives a more precise age not only for the tektite field but also for its producing impact. If the genetic link between the moldavites and the Nrdlinger Ries impact crater is maintained, then this new age has to be considered a reliable estimate for the Ries crater also. This new value places the formation of Central European tektites within the Lower Serravallian period in the latest geologic timescales. Evidence of their impact products, such as glass spherules or shocked minerals, can, therefore, be sought in sedimentary marine formations in a more precisely defined age interval.
Magnetite in ALH 84001: An origin by shock-induced thermal decomposition of iron carbonateIn martian orthopyroxenite ALH 84001, pockets of feldspathic glass frequently contain carbonate masses that have been disrupted and dispersed within feldspathic shock melt as a result of impact(s). Transmission electron microscope studies of carbonate fragments embedded within feldspathic glass show that the fragments contain myriad, nanometer-sized magnetite particles with cuboid, irregular, and teardrop morphologies, frequently associated with voids. The fragments of carbonate must have been incorporated into the melt at temperatures of ~900 degrees C, well above the upper thermal stability of siderite (FeCO3), which decomposes to produce magnetite and CO2 below ~450 degrees C. These observations suggest that most, if not all, of the fine-grained magnetite associated with Fe-bearing carbonate in ALH 84001 could have been formed as result of the thermal decomposition of the siderite (FeCO3) component of the carbonate and is not due to biological activity.
Transmission electron microscopy of minerals in the martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001We have studied carbonate and associated oxides and glasses in a demountable section of Allan Hills 84001 (ALH 84001) using optical, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to elucidate their origins and the shock history of the rock. Massive, fracture-zone, and fracture-filling carbonates in typical locations were characterized by TEM, X-ray microanalysis, and electron diffraction in a comprehensive study that preserved textural and spatial relationships. Orthopyroxene is highly deformed, fractured, partially comminuted, and essentially unrecovered. Lamellae of diaplectic glass and other features indicate shock pressures >30 GPa. Bridging acicular crystals and foamy glass at contacts of orthopyroxene fragments indicate localized melting and vaporization of orthopyroxene. Carbonate crystals are >5 micrometers in size, untwinned, and very largely exhibit the R3c calcite structure. Evidence of plastic deformation is generally found mildly only in fracture-zone and fracture-filling carbonates, even adjacent to highly deformed orthopyroxene, and appears to have been caused by low-stress effects including differential shrinkage. High dislocation densities like those observed in moderately shocked calcite are absent. Carbonate contains impact- derived glasses of plagioclase, silica, and orthopyroxene composition indicating brief localized impact heating. Stringers and lenses of orthopyroxene glass in fracture-filling carbonate imply flow of carbonates and crystallization during an impact. Periclase (MgO) occurs in magnesite as 30-50 nm crystals adjacent to voids and negative crystals and as ~1 micrometer patches of 3 nm crystals showing weak preferred orientation consistent with (111)MgO//(0001)carb, as observed in the thermal decomposition of CaCO3 to CaO. Magnetite crystals that are epitaxially oriented at voids, negative crystals, and microfractures clearly formed in situ. Fully embedded, faceted magnetites are topotactically oriented, in general with (111)mag//(0001)carb, so that their oxygen layers are aligned. In optically opaque rims, magnetites are more irregularly shaped and, except for the smallest crystals, poorly aligned. All magnetite and periclase crystals probably formed by exsolution from slightly non-stoichiometric, CO2-poor carbonate following impact-induced thermal decomposition. Any magnetites that existed in the rock before shock heating could not have preserved evidence for biogenic activity.
Searching for the source regions of martian meteorites using MGS TES: Integrating martian meteorites into the global distribution of igneous materials on MarsThe objective of this study was to identify and map possible source regions for all 5 known martian meteorite lithologies (basalt, lherzolite, clinopyroxenite, orthopyroxenite, and dunite) using data from the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS TES). We deconvolved the TES data set using laboratory spectra of 6 martian meteorites (Los Angeles, Zagami, ALH A77005, Nakhla, ALH 84001, and Chassigny) as end members, along with atmospheric and surface spectra previously derived from TES data. Global maps (16 pixels/degree) of the distribution of each meteorite end member show that meteorite-like compositions are not present at or above TES detectability limits over most of the planet's dust-free regions. However, we have confidently identified local-scale (100s-1000s km2) concentrations of olivine- and orthopyroxene-bearing materials similar to ALH A77005, Chassigny, and ALH 84001 in Nili Fossae, in and near Ganges Chasma, in the Argyre and Hellas basin rims, and in Eos Chasma. Nakhla-like materials are identified near the detection limit throughout the eastern Valles Marineris region and portions of Syrtis Major. Basaltic shergottites were not detected in any spatially coherent areas at the scale of this study. Martian meteorite-like lithologies represent only a minor portion of the dust-free surface and, thus, are not representative of the bulk composition of the ancient crust. Meteorite-like spectral signatures identified above TES detectability limits in more spatially restricted areas (tens of km) are targets of ongoing analysis.