• Plagioclase-rich chondrules in the reduced CV chondrites: Evidence for complex formation history and genetic links between calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions and ferromagnesian chondrules

      Krot, A. N.; Hutcheon, I. D.; Keil, K. (The Meteoritical Society, 2002-01-01)
      Plagioclase-rich chondrules (PRCs) in the reduced CV chondrites Efremovka, Leoville, Vigarano and Grosvenor Mountains (GRO) 94329 consist of magnesian low-Ca pyroxene, Al-Ti-Cr-rich pigeonite and augite, forsterite, anorthitic plagioclase, FeNi-metal-sulfide nodules, and crystalline mesostasis composed of silica, anorthitic plagioclase and Al-Ti-Cr-rich augite. The silica grains in the mesostases of the CV PRCs are typically replaced by hedenbergitic pyroxenes, whereas anorthitic plagioclase is replaced by feldspathoids (nepheline and minor sodalite). Some of the PRCs contain regions that are texturally and mineralogically similar to type I chondrules and consist of forsterite, low-Ca pyroxene and abundant FeNi-metal nodules. Several PRCs are surrounded by igneous rims or form independent compound objects. Twelve PRCs contain relic calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) composed of anorthite, spinel, high-Ca pyroxene, +/- forsterite, and +/- Al-rich low-Ca pyroxene. Anorthite of these CAIs is generally more heavily replaced by feldspathoids than anorthitic plagioclase of the host chondrules. This suggests that either the alteration predated formation of the PRCs or that anorthite of the relic CAIs was more susceptible to the alteration than anorthitic plagioclase of the host chondrules. These observations and the presence of igneous rims around PRCs and independent compound PRCs suggest that the CV PRCs may have had a complex, multistage formation history compared to a more simple formation history of the CR PRCs. Relatively high abundances of moderately-volatile elements such as Cr, Mn and Si in the PRCs suggests that these chondrules could not have been produced by volatilization of ferromagnesian chondrule precursors or by melting of refractory materials only. We infer instead that PRCs in carbonaceous chondrites formed by melting of the reduced chondrule precursors (magnesian olivine and pyroxene, FeNi-metal) mixed with refractory materials (relic CAIs) composed of anorthite, spinel, high-Ca pyroxene, and forsterite. The mineralogical, chemical and textural similarities of the PRCs in several carbonaceous chondrite groups (CV, CO, CH, CR) and common presence of relic CAIs in these chondrules suggest that PRCs may have formed in the region(s) intermediate between the regions where CAIs and ferromagnesian chondrules originated.
    • Report: Campo del Cielo iron meteorite: Sample shielding and meteoroid's preatmospheric size

      Liberman, R. G.; Fernández Niello, J. O.; Di Tada, M. L.; Fifield, L. K.; Masarik, J.; Reedy, R. C. (The Meteoritical Society, 2002-01-01)
      Long-lived cosmogenic radioisotopes, 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, 41Ca and 59Ni, have been measured in five samples from the Campo del Cielo iron meteorite by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The 36Cl activities were significantly above the background. For the concentrations of the other four radioisotopes, only upper limits were obtained that were, however, consistent with the 36Cl result. The measured 36Cl activity allowed an estimate of the meteoroid's preatmospheric size: a radius larger than 300 cm and a mass of at least 840 000 kg. We conclude that this meteorite might be one of the largest meteorites to have been recovered.
    • The Foelsche structure, Northern Territory, Australia: An impact crater of probable Neoproterozoic age

      Haines, P. W.; Rawlings, D. J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2002-01-01)
      The Foelsche structure is situated in the McArthur Basin of northern Australia (16 degrees 40' S, 136 degrees 47' E). It comprises a roughly circular outcrop of flat-lying Neoproterozoic Bukalara Sandstone, overlying and partly rimmed by tangentially striking, discontinuous outcrops of dipping, fractured and brecciated Mesoproterozoic Limmen Sandstone. The outcrop expression coincides with a prominent circular aeromagnetic anomaly, which can be explained in terms of the local disruption and removal or displacement of a regional mafic igneous layer within a circular area at depth. Samples of red, lithic, pebbly sandstone from the stratigraphically lowest exposed levels of the Bukalara Sandstone within the Foelsche structure contain detrital quartz grains displaying mosaicism, planar fractures (PFs) and planar deformation features (PDFs). PFs and PDFs occur in multiple intersecting sets with orientations consistent with a shock metamorphic origin. The abundance and angular nature of the shocked grains indicates a nearby provenance. Surface expression and geophysical data are consistent with a partly buried complex impact crater of ~6 km in diameter with an obscured central uplift ~2 km in diameter. The deformed outcrops of Limmen Sandstone are interpreted as relics of the original crater rim, but the central region of the crater, from which the shocked grains were likely derived, remains buried. From the best available age constraints the Foelsche structure is most likely of Neoproterozoic age.
    • The Frontier Mountain meteorite trap (Antarctica)

      Folco, L.; Capra, A.; Chiappini, M.; Frezzotti, M.; Mellini, M.; Tabacco, I. E. (The Meteoritical Society, 2002-01-01)
      The Frontier Mountain blue ice field is an important Antarctic meteorite trap which has yielded 472 meteorite specimens since its discovery in 1984. Remote sensing analyses and field campaigns from 1993 to 1999 have furnished new glaciological data on ice flow, ice thickness, bedrock topography, ice ablation and surface mass transport by wind, along with detailed descriptions of the field situation at the trap. This solid set of data combined with an updated meteorite distribution map and terrestrial ages available from literature allows us to better describe the nature of the concentration mechanism. In particular, we observe that the meteorite trap forms in a blue ice field (1) located upstream of an absolute and a shallow sub-ice barriers; (2) characterized by compressive ice flow with horizontal velocities decreasing from 100 to <10 cm/year on approaching the obstacle; (3) undergoing mean ablation rates of 6.5 cm/year; (4) nourished by a limited snow accumulation zone extending ~20 km upstream of the blue ice area. We also draw the following conclusions: (1) the origin of the meteorite trap can be explained according to the present‐day glaciological situation; (2) the meteorite concentration develops according to the general principles of the “ice flow model”; (3) the accumulation model can be described as “stagnant ice or slow‐moving ice against an absolute and submerged barriers”, according to the descriptive schemes present in literature; (4) the Frontier Mountain ice field is an effective trap for meteorites weighing more than ~200 g; for smaller masses, the combination of wind and glacial drift may remove meteorites in less than a few tens of thousands of years; (5) although the activation age of the Frontier Mountain trap is not yet constrained, we infer that one of the most important findsites may be as old as 50 ka, predating the last glacial maximum.