Pyroxene structures, cathodoluminescence and the thermal history of the enstatite chondrites

by Zhang, Y. H.; Huang, S. X.; Schneider, D.; Benoit, P. H.; DeHart, J. M.; Lofgren, G. E.; Sears, D. W. G.

In order to explore the thermal history of enstatite chondrites, we examined the cathodoluminescence (CL) and thermoluminescence (TL) properties of 15 EH chondrites and 21 EL chondrites, including all available petrographic types, both textural types 3-6 and mineralogical types alpha-delta. The CL properties of EL3 alpha and EH3 alpha chondrites are similar. Enstatite grains high in Mn and other transition metals display red CL, while enstatite with low concentrations of these elements show blue CL. A few enstatite grains with >5 wt% FeO display no CL. In contrast, the luminescent properties of the metamorphosed EH chondrites are very different from those of metamorphosed EL chondrites. While the enstatites in metamorphosed EH chondrites display predominantly blue CL, the enstatites in metamorphosed EL chondrites display a distinctive magenta CL with blue and red peaks of approximately equal intensity in their spectra. The TL sensitivities of the enstatite chondrites correlate with the intensity of the blue CL and, unlike other meteorite classes, are not simply related to metamorphism. The different luminescent properties of metamorphosed EH and EL chondrites cannot readily be attributed to compositional differences. But x-ray diffraction data suggests that the enstatite in EH5 gamma,delta chondrites is predominantly disordered orthopyroxene, while enstatite in EL6 beta chondrites is predominantly ordered orthopyroxene. The difference in thermal history of metamorphosed EL and EH chondrites is so marked that the use of single ''petrographic'' types is misleading, and separate textural and mineralogical types are preferable. Our data confirm earlier suggestions that metamorphosed EH chondrites underwent relatively rapid cooling, and the metamorphosed EL chondrites cooled more slowly and experienced prolonged heating in the orthopyroxene field.

Meteoritics and Planetary Science
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1945-5100; 1086-9379