Metamorphism and Aqueous Alteration in Low Petrographic Type Ordinary Chondrites

by Sears, D. W. G.; Morse, A. D.; Hutchison, R.; Guimon, R. K.; Jie, L.; Alexander, C. M. O.; Benoit, P. H.; Wright, I.; Pillinger, C.; Xie, T. A.; Lipschutz, M. E.

In order to investigate the relative importance of dry metamorphism and aqueous alteration in the history of chondrules, chondrules were hand-picked from the Semarkona (petrographic type 3.0), Bishunpur (3.1), Chainpur (3.4), Dhajala (3.8) and Allegan (5) chondrites, and matrix samples were extracted from the first three ordinary chondrites. The thermoluminescence (TL) properties of all the samples were measured, and appropriate subsets of the samples were analyzed by electron-microprobe and radiochemical neutron activation and the water and H-isotopic composition determined. The TL data for chondrules from Semarkona and Bishunpur scatter widely showing no unambiguous trends, although group B1 chondrules tend to have lower sensitivities and lower peak temperatures compared with group A5 chondrules. It is argued that these data reflect the variety of processes accompanying chondrule formation. The chondrules show remarkably uniform contents of the highly labile elements, indicating mineralogical control on abundance and volatile loss from silicates and loss and recondensation of mobile chalcophiles and siderophiles in some cases. Very high D/H values (up to similar to 8000 parts per thousand SMOW) are observed in certain Semarkona chondrules, a confirmation of earlier work. With increasing petrographic type, mean TL sensitivities of the chondrules increase, the spread of values within an individual meteorite decreases, and peak temperatures and peak widths show trends indicating that the TL is mainly produced by feldspar and that dry, thermal metamorphism is the dominant secondary process experienced by the chondrules. The TL sensitivities of matrix samples also increase with petrographic type. Chainpur matrix samples show the same spread of peak temperatures and peak widths as Chainpur chondrules, indicating metamorphism-related changes in the feldspar are responsible for the TL of the matrix. The TL data for the Semarkona and Bishunpur matrix samples provide, at best, only weak evidence for aqueous alteration, but the matrix contains H with approximately terrestrial D/H values, even though it contains much water. Secondary processes (probably aqueous alteration) presumably lowered the D/H of the matrix and certain chondrules. While chondrule properties appear to be governed primarily by formation processes and subsequent metamorphism, the matrix of Semarkona has a more complex history involving aqueous alteration as a meteorite-wide process.

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