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CitationThaisen, K. G., & Taylor, L. A. (2009). Meteorite fusion crust variability. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 44(6), 871-878.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractTwo assumptions commonly employed in meteorite interpretation are that fusion crust compositions represent the bulk-rock chemistry of the interior meteorite and that the vesicles within the fusion crust result from the release of implanted solar wind volatiles. Electron microprobe analyses of thin sections from lunar meteorite Miller Range (MIL) 05035 and eucrite Bates Nunataks (BTN) 00300 were performed to determine if the chemical compositions of the fusion crust varied and/or represented the published bulk rock composition. It was determined that fusion crust compositions are significantly influenced by the incorporation of fragments from the substrate, and by the composition and grain size of those minerals. Because of compositional heterogeneities throughout the meteorite, one cannot assume that fusion crust composition represents the bulk rock composition. If the compositional variability within the fusion crust and mineralogical differences among thin sections goes unnoticed, then the perceived composition and petrogenetic models of formation will be incorrect. The formation of vesicles within these fusion crusts were also compared to current theories attributing vesicles to a solar wind origin. Previous work from the STONE-5 experiment, where terrestrial rocks were exposed on the exterior of a spacecraft heatshield, produced a vesicular fusion crust without prolonged exposure to solar wind suggesting that the high temperatures experienced by a meteorite during passage through the Earths atmosphere are sufficient to cause boiling of the melt. Therefore, the assumption that all vesicles found within a fusion crust are due to the release of implanted volatiles of solar wind may not be justified.