Chondrule Formation, Metamorphism, Brecciation, an Important New Primary Chondrule Group, and the Classification of Chondrules

by Sears, D. W. G.; Huang, S. X.; Benoit, P. H.

The recently proposed compositional classification scheme for meteoritic chondrules divides the chondrules into groups depending on the composition of their two major phases, olivine (or pyroxene) and the mesostasis, both of which are genetically important. The scheme is here applied to discussions of three topics: the petrographic classification of Roosevelt County 075 (the least-metamorphosed H chondrite known), brecciation (an extremely important and ubiquitous process probably experienced by > 40% of all unequilibrated ordinary chondrites), and the group A5 chondrules in the least metamorphosed ordinary chondrites which have many similarities to chondrules in the highly metamorphosed 'equilibrated' chondrites. Since composition provides insights into both primary formation properties of the chondrules and the effects of metamorphism on the entire assemblage it is possible to determine the petrographic type of RC075 as 3.1 with unique certainty. Similarly, the new scheme can be applied to individual chondrules without knowledge of the petrographic type of the host chondrite, which makes it especially suitable for studying breccias. Finally, the new scheme has revealed the existence of chondrules not identified by previous techniques and which appear to be extremely important. Like group A1 and A2 chondrules (but unlike group B1 chondrules) the primitive group A5 chondrules did not supercool during formation, but unlike group A1 and A2 chondrules (and like group B1 chondrules) they did not suffer volatile loss and reduction during formation. It is concluded that the compositional classification scheme provides important new insights into the formation and history of chondrules and chondrites which would be overlooked by previous schemes.

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
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