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).

ISSN: 1086-9379


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Recent Submissions

  • Crystalline comet dust: Laboratory experiments on a simple silicate system

    Thompson, S. P.; Fonti, S.; Verrienti, C.; Blanco, A.; Orofino, V.; Tang, C. C. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    Spectra for certain comets show the presence of crystalline silicate dust grains believed to have been incorporated during comet formation. While grain crystallization is widely assumed to result from the thermal annealing of precursor amorphous grains, the physical processes behind the silicate amorphous-to-crystalline transition are poorly understood. This makes it difficult to place constraints on the evolutionary histories of both grains and comets, and consequently, on the nebular conditions in which they formed. It has, therefore, become necessary to study this process in the laboratory using simulated grain materials. In this paper, we discuss recent results from laboratory investigations into a basic amorphous MgSiO3 silicate annealed in the region of 1000 K. Our object is not to model the behavior of dust grains per se, but to study the underlying process of crystallization and separate the physics of the material from the astrophysics of dust grains. In our experiments, we bring together spectroscopic measurements made in the infrared with the high resolution structural probing capabilities of synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction. The combined use of these complementary techniques provides insights into the crystallization process that would not be easily obtained if each was used in isolation. In particular, we focus on the extent to which the identification of certain spectral features attributed to crystalline phases extends to the physical structure of the grain material itself. Specifically, we have identified several key features in the way amorphous MgSiO3 behaves when annealed. Rather than crystallize directly to enstatite (MgSiO3) structures, in crystallographic terms, amorphous MgSiO3 can enter a mixed phase of crystalline forsterite (Mg2SiO4) and SiO2-rich amorphous silicate where structural evolution appears to stall. Spectroscopically, the evolution of the 10 micrometer band does not appear to correlate directly with structural evolution, and therefore, may be a poor indicator of the degree of crystallinity. Indeed, certain features in this band may not be indicators of crystal type. However, the 20 micrometer band is found to be a good indicator of crystal structure. We suggest that forsterite forms from the ordering of pre-existing regions rich in SiO4 and that this phase separation is aided by a dehydrogenation processes that results in the evolutionary stall. The implications of this work regarding future observations of comets are discussed.
  • Morphological analysis of olivine grains annealed in an iron-nickel matrix: Experimental constraints on the origin of pallasites and on the thermal history of their parent bodies

    Saiki, K.; Laporte, D.; Vielzeuf, D.; Nakashima, S.; Boivin, P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    Two types of pallasites can be distinguished on the basis of the grain shape of olivine (rounded or angular). It has been suggested that these two types of textures resulted from different degrees of annealing at high temperature in the parent body. In order to characterize the kinetics of rounding of olivine grains in an Fe-Ni matrix, we carried out a series of annealing experiments using a mixture of olivine and Fe-Ni powder. We were able to reproduce, at a miniature scale, the range of textures in pallasites. The rate of rounding was rapid enough to be observed and measured at the scale of a few micrometers to 20 micrometers, even though the experiments were performed below the solidus of the Fe-Ni metal. For instance, grains 14 m in diameter became nearly spherical within 7 days at 1400 degrees C. For the morphological analysis of olivine grains, we used two independent techniques: the "critical diameter method" and the "Gaussian diffusion-resample method," a new technique specially developed for our study. Both techniques indicate that the rounding time scale is proportional to the cube of the grain size and that morphological adjustments in our experiments occurred by volume diffusion in the olivine lattice, not by surface diffusion along the olivine-metal boundaries. We used our experimental data to estimate the time scales required for the development of olivine-metal textures in natural pallasites. We determined that small scale rounding of olivine grains in a solid metal matrix can be produced within relatively short time intervals: 100 years to produce rounded olivine grains 0.1 mm in radius at 1300-1400C.
  • Cloud Creek structure, central Wyoming, USA: Impact origin confirmed

    Stone, D. S.; Therriault, A. M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    The circular Cloud Creek structure in central Wyoming, USA is buried beneath ~1200 m of Mesozoic sedimentary rocks and has a current diameter of ~7 km. The morphology/morphometry of the structure, as defined by borehole, seismic, and gravity data, is similar to that of other buried terrestrial complex impact structures in sedimentary target rocks, e.g., Red Wing Creek in North Dakota, USA. The structure has a fault-bordered central peak with minimum diameter of ~1.4 km, composed predominantly of Paleozoic carbonates thickened by thrust faulting and brecciation, and is elevated some 520 m above equivalent strata beyond the outer rim of the structure. There is a ~1.6 km wide annular trough sloping away from the central peak (maximum structural relief, 300 m) and terminated by a detached, fault-bounded, rim anticline. The youngest rocks within the structure are Late Triassic (Norian?) clastics and these are overlain unconformably by post-impact Middle Jurassic (Bathonian?) sandstones and shales. Thus, the formation of the Cloud Creek structure is dated chronostratigraphicly as ~190 +/- 20 Ma. Reported here for the first time are measurements of planar deformation features (PDFs) in shocked quartz grains in thin sections made from drill cuttings recovered in a borehole drilled at the southern perimeter of the central peak. Other, less definitive microstructures consistent with impact occur in samples collected from boreholes drilled into the central peak and rim anticline. The shock- metamorphic evidence confirms an impact origin for the Cloud Creek structure.
  • Estimated optical constants of the Tagish Lake meteorite

    Roush, T. L. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    The visible, near-infrared, and mid-infrared (0.3-25 micrometers) real and imaginary indices of refraction are derived from reflectance measurements of the Tagish Lake meteorite. These are compared to some real and imaginary indices of refraction of the individual minerals composing the Tagish Lake meteorite. From this comparison, it is clear that the imaginary indices of several individual minerals contribute to the estimated imaginary index of this meteorite.
  • Fassaites in compact type A Ca-Al-rich inclusions in the Ningqiang carbonaceous chondrite: Evidence for partial melting in the nebula

    Lin, Y.; Kimura, M.; Wang, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    Fassaite is a major component of Ca-Al-rich inclusions (CAIs) of Types B and degrees C that crystallized from liquids. In contrast, this mineral is rarely reported in Type A inclusions and has been much less studied. In this paper, we report highly Ti-, Al-enriched fassaite that occurs as rims on perovskite in two compact Type A inclusions from the Ningqiang meteorite. In addition, one of the inclusions contains an euhedral grain of Sc-fassaite (16.4 wt% Sc2O3) isolated in melilite. The occurrence and mineral chemistry of the fassaite rims can be explained by a reaction of pre-existing perovskite with CAI melts. Hence, such rims may serve as an indicator for partial melting of Type A inclusions. The Sc-fassaite is probably a relict grain. A third spherical CAI contains several euhedral grains of V-fassaite (4.8-5.4 wt% V2O3) enclosed in a melilite fragment. The high V content of fassaite cannot be related to any Fremdlinge, magnetite, or metallic Fe-Ni, because these phases are absent in the inclusion. In the same CAI, other fassaites intergrow with spinel and minor perovskite, filling voids inside of the melilite and space adjacent to the Wark-Lovering rim. The fassaite intergrown with spinel is almost V-free. The coexistence of two types of fassaite suggests that this CAI has not been completely melted.
  • Magnetic remanence in the Murchison meteorite

    Kletetschka, G.; Kohout, T.; Wasilewski, P. J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    The Murchison meteorite is a carbonaceous chondrite containing a small amount of chondrules, various inclusions, and matrix with occasional porphyroblasts of olivine and/or pyroxene. It also contains amino acids that may have served as the necessary components for the origin of life. Magnetic analyses of Murchison identify an ultrasoft magnetic component due to superparamagnetism as a significant part of the magnetic remanence. The rest of the remanence may be due to electric discharge in the form of lightning bolts that may have formed the amino acids. The level of magnetic remanence does not support this possibility and points to a minimum ambient field of the remanence acquisition. We support our observation by showing that normalized mineral magnetic acquisition properties establish a calibration curve suitable for rough paleofield determination. When using this approach, 1-2% of the natural remanence left in terrestrial rocks with TRM and/or CRM determines the geomagnetic field intensity irrespective of grain size or type of magnetic mineral (with the exception of hematite). The same method is applied to the Murchison meteorite where the measured meteorite remanence determines the paleofield minimum intensity of 200-2000 nT during and/or after the formation of the parent body.
  • FeO-rich silicates in the Sahara 97159 (EH3) enstatite chondrite: Mineralogy, oxygen isotopic compositions, and origin

    Kimura, M.; Hiyagon, H.; Lin, Y.; Weisberg, M. K. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    We report the mineralogy and oxygen isotopic compositions of FeO-rich silicates in the Sahara 97159 EH3 chondrite. This component is referred to as FeO-rich because it contains substantially more FeO than the characteristic FeO-poor silicates in the highly reduced enstatite meteorites. These FeO-rich silicates are mostly low-Ca pyroxene (Fs535) and their compositions suggest an origin under more oxidizing conditions, like those for the ordinary chondrites. However, the mafic silicates in ordinary and carbonaceous chondrites are dominantly olivine, and the FeO-rich silicates in the E chondrites are less commonly olivine. The oxygen isotopic compositions of the FeO- rich silicates are indistinguishable from those of FeO-poor silicates in Sahara 97159. These observations suggest that both the FeO-rich silicates and the FeO-poor silicates in EH chondrites formed from the same oxygen reservoir where redox conditions varied widely.
  • Hydrothermal alteration at the Lonar Lake impact structure, India: Implications for impact cratering on Mars

    Hagerty, J. J.; Newsom, H. E. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    The 50,000 year old, 1.8 km diameter Lonar crater is one of only two known terrestrial craters to be emplaced in basaltic target rock (the 65 million year old Deccan Traps). The composition of the Lonar basalts is similar to martian basaltic meteorites, which establishes Lonar as an excellent analogue for similarly sized craters on the surface of Mars. Samples from cores drilled into the Lonar crater floor show that there are basaltic impact breccias that have been altered by post-impact hydrothermal processes to produce an assemblage of secondary alteration minerals. Microprobe data and X-ray diffraction analyses show that the alteration mineral assemblage consists primarily of saponite, with minor celadonite, and carbonate. Thermodynamic modeling and terrestrial volcanic analogues were used to demonstrate that these clay minerals formed at temperatures between 130 degrees C and 200 degrees C. By comparing the Lonar alteration assemblage with alteration at other terrestrial craters, we conclude that the Lonar crater represents a lower size limit for impact-induced hydrothermal activity. Based on these results, we suggest that similarly sized craters on Mars have the potential to form hydrothermal systems, as long as liquid water was present on or near the martian surface. Furthermore, the Fe-rich alteration minerals produced by post-impact hydrothermal processes could contribute to the minor iron enrichment associated with the formation of the martian soil.
  • Quantifying hydrogen-deuterium exchange of meteoritic dicarboxylic acids during aqueous extraction

    Fuller, M.; Huang, Y. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    Hydrogen isotope ratios of organic compounds in carbonaceous chondrites provide critical information about their origins and evolutionary history. However, because many of these compounds are obtained by aqueous extraction, the degree of hydrogen-deuterium (H/D) exchange that occurs during the process needs to be quantitatively evaluated. This study uses compound- specific hydrogen isotopic analysis to quantify the H/D exchange during aqueous extraction. Three common meteoritic dicarboxylic acids (succinic, glutaric, and 2-methyl glutaric acids) were refluxed under conditions simulating the extraction process. Changes in delta-D values of the dicarboxylic acids were measured following the reflux experiments. A pseudo-first order rate law was used to model the H/D exchange rates which were then used to calculate the isotope exchange resulting from aqueous extraction. The degree of H/D exchange varies as a result of differences in molecular structure, the alkalinity of the extraction solution and presence/absence of meteorite powder. However, our model indicates that succinic, glutaric, and 2-methyl glutaric acids with a delta-D of 1800 would experience isotope changes of 38 ppm, 10 ppm, and 6 ppm, respectively during the extraction process. Therefore, the overall change in delta-D values of the dicarboxylic acids during the aqueous extraction process is negligible. We also demonstrate that H/D exchange occurs on the chiral alpha-carbon in 2-methyl glutaric acid. The results suggest that the racemic mixture of 2-methyl glutaric acid in the Tagish Lake meteorite could result from post-synthesis aqueous alteration. The approach employed in this study can also be used to quantify H/D exchange for other important meteoritic compounds such as amino acids.
  • 39Ar-40Ar chronology of R chondrites

    Dixon, E. T.; Bogard, D. D.; Garrison, D. H. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    This study presents the first determinations of 39Ar-40Ar ages of R chondrites for the purpose of understanding the thermal history of the R chondrite parent body. The 39Ar-40Ar ages were determined on whole-rock samples of four R chondrites: Carlisle Lakes, Rumuruti, Acfer 217, and Pecora Escarpment #91002 (PCA 91002). All samples are breccias except for Carlisle Lakes. The age spectra are complicated by recoil and diffusive loss to various extents. The peak 39Ar-40Ar ages of the four chondrites are greater than or equal to 4.35, ~4.47 +/- 0.02, 4.30 +/- 0.07 Ga, and greater than or equal to 4.37 Ga, respectively. These ages are similar to Ar-Ar ages of relatively unshocked ordinary chondrites (4.52-4.38 Ga) and are older than Ar-Ar ages of most shocked ordinary chondrites (<<4.2 Ga). Because the meteorites with the oldest (Rumuruti, ~4.47 Ga) and the youngest (Acfer 217, ~4.30 Ga) ages are both breccias, these ages probably do not record slow cooling within an undisrupted asteroidal parent body. Instead, the process of breccia formation may have differentially reset the ages of the constituent material, or the differences in their age spectra may arise from mixtures of material that had different ages. Two end-member type situations may be envisioned to explain the age range observed in the R chondrites. The first is if the impact(s) that reset the ages of Acfer 217 and Rumuruti was very early. In this case, the ~170 Ma maximum age difference between these meteorites may have been produced by much deeper burial of Acfer 217 than Rumuruti within an impact-induced thick regolith layer, or within a rubble pile type parent body following parent body re-assembly. The second, preferred scenario is if the impact that reset the age of Acfer 217 was much later than that which reset Rumuruti, then Acfer 217 may have cooled more rapidly within a much thinner regolith layer. In either scenario, the oldest age obtained here, from Rumuruti, provides evidence for relatively early (~4.47 Ga) impact events and breccia formation on the R chondrite parent body.
  • Micrometeorites from the northern ice cap of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, Russia: The first occurrence

    Badjukov, D. D.; Raitala, J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    Glacial deposits at the margins of the ice cap of the northern island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, Russia, contain numerous spherules and rare scoriaceous particles thought to be extraterrestrial. The 1 Kyr old glacier has decreased in volume and coverage during the last 40 years, leaving the spherules contained in the ice at the margins of the glacier where they can be easily collected. The spherules are similar in their appearance, texture, and mineralogy to cosmic spherules found in deep-sea sediments in Greenland and Antarctica. Silicate spherules have typical bar-like textures (75%) or porphyritic textures (15%), while other spherules are glassy (7%). The spherules from Novaya Zemlya are altered only slightly. There are spherules consisting of iron oxides, metal cores with iron oxide rims, a continuous network of iron oxide dendrites in a glass matrix, and particles rich in chromite (3%). Some spherules contain metal droplets and relict forsterite and low-Ca pyroxene. Silicate spherule compositions match compositions of other cosmic spherules. Both Nova Zemlya and other cosmic spherules are close to carbonaceous chondrite matrices in patterns of variations for Ca, Mg, Si, and Al, which might suggest that their predecessor was similar to carbonaceous chondrite matrices. Unmelted micrometeorites are generally depleted in Ca and Mg and enriched in Al relative to cosmic spherules. The depletion of the micrometeorites in Ca and Mg can be connected with their terrestrial alteration (Kurat et al. 1994), while the Al enrichment seems to be primary.
  • From the Editor

    Jull, A. J. T. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
  • Depletion of sulfur on the surface of asteroids and the moon

    Killen, R. M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    Data from the X-ray and -ray spectrometers onboard the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft were used to constrain the chemical and mineralogical composition of asteroid 433 Eros (McCoy et al. 2001). The bulk composition appears to be consistent with that of L to H chondrites (Nittler et al. 2001). However, there appeared to be a marked depletion relative to ordinary chondritic composition in the S/Si ratio (0.014 +/- 0.017). We investigate space weathering mechanisms to determine the extent to which sulfur can be preferentially lost from the surface regolith. The two processes considered are impact vaporization by the interplanetary meteoroid population and ion sputtering by the solar wind. Using impact data for Al projectiles onto enstatite, we find that the vaporization rate for troilite (FeS) is nine times as fast as that for the bulk of the regolith. If 20% of the iron is in the form of troilite, then the net vaporization rate, normalized to bulk composition, is 2.8 times faster for sulfur than for iron. Sputtering is equally efficient at removing sulfur as impact vaporization.