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Northwest Africa 1500; plagioclase-bearing monomict ureilite or ungrouped achondrite?


, : Northwest Africa 1500; plagioclase-bearing monomict ureilite or ungrouped achondrite?. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 41(6): 925-952

Northwest Africa (NWA) 1500 is an ultramafic meteorite dominated by coarse ( approximately 100-500 mu m) olivine (95-96%), augite (2-3%), and chromite (0.6-1.6%) in an equilibrated texture. Plagioclase (0.7-1.8%) occurs as poikilitic grains (up to approximately 3 mm) in vein-like areas that have concentrations of augite and minor orthopyroxene. Other phases are Cl-apatite, metal, sulfide, and graphite. Olivine ranges from Fo 65-73, with a strong peak at Fo 68-69. Most grains are reverse-zoned, and also have approximately 10-30 mu m reduction rims. In terms of its dominant mineralogy and texture, NWA 1500 resembles the majority of monomict ureilites. However, it is more ferroan than known ureilites (Fo> or =75) and other mineral compositional parameters are out of the ureilite range as well. Furthermore, neither apatite nor plagioclase have ever been observed, and chromite is rare in monomict ureilites. Nevertheless, this meteorite may be petrologically related to the rare augite-bearing ureilites and represent a previously unsampled part of the ureilite parent body (UPB). The Mn/Mg ratio of its olivine and textural features of its pyroxenes are consistent with this interpretation. However, its petrogenesis differs from that of known augite-bearing ureilites in that: 1) it formed under more oxidized conditions; 2) plagioclase appeared before orthopyroxene in its crystallization sequence; and 3) it equilibrated to significantly lower temperatures (800-1000 degrees C, from two-pyroxene and olivine-chromite thermometry). Formation under more oxidized conditions and the appearance of plagioclase before orthopyroxene could be explained if it formed at a greater depth on the UPB than previously sampled. However, its significantly different thermal history (compared to ureilites) may more plausibly be explained if it formed on a different parent body. This conclusion is consistent with its oxygen isotopic composition, which suggests that it is an ungrouped achondrite. Nevertheless, the parent body of NWA 1500 may have been compositionally and petrologically similar to the UPB, and may have had a similar differentiation history.

US$19.90

DOI: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2006.tb00496.x


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