Refractory calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions and aluminum-diopside-rich chondrules in the metal-rich chondrites Hammadah al Hamra 237 and Queen Alexandra Range 94411

A. N. Krot, K. D. McKeegan, S. S. Russell, A. Meibom, M. K. Weisberg, J. Zipfel, T. V. Krot, T. J. Fagan, K. Keil

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Abstract

The metal-rich chondrites Hammadah al Hamra (HH) 237 and Queen Alexandra Range (QUE) 94411, paired with QUE 94627, contain relatively rare (<1 vol%) calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) and Al-diopside-rich chondrules. Forty CAIs and CAI fragments and seven Al-diopside-rich chondrules were identified in HH 237 and QUE 94411/94627. The CAIs, ∼50-400 μm in apparent diameter, include (a) 22 (56%) pyroxene-spinel ± melilite (+forsterite rim), (b) 11 (28%) forsterite-bearing, pyroxene-spinel ± melilite ± anorthite (+forsterite rim) (c) 2 (5%) grossite-rich (+spinel-melilite-pyroxene rim), (d) 2 (5%) hibonite-melilite (+spinel-pyroxene ± forsterite rim), (e) 1 (2%) hibonite-bearing, spinel-perovskite (+melilite-pyroxene rim), (f) 1 (2%) spinel-melilite-pyroxene-anorthite, and (g) 1 (2%) amoeboid olivine aggregate. Each type of CAI is known to exist in other chondrite groups, but the high abundance of pyroxene-spinel ± melilite CAIs with igneous textures and surrounded by a forsterite rim are unique features of HH 237 and QUE 94411/94627. Additionally, oxygen isotopes consistently show relatively heavy compositions with △ 17O ranging from-6‰ to-10‰ (1σ = 1.3‰) for all analyzed CAI minerals (grossite, hibonite, melilite, pyroxene, spinel). This suggests that the CAIs formed in a reservoir isotopically distinct from the reservoir(s) where "normal", 16O-rich (△17O < -20‰) CAIs in most other chondritic meteorites formed. The A1-diopside-rich chondrules, which have previously been observed in CH chondrites and the unique carbonaceous chondrite Adelaide, contain A1-diopside grains enclosing oriented inclusions of forsterite, and interstitial anorthitic mesostasis and A1-rich, Ca-poor pyroxene, occasionally enclosing spinel and forsterite. These chondrules are mineralogically similar to the A1-rich barred-olivine chondrules in HH 237 and QUE 94411/94627, but have lower Cr concentrations than the latter, indicating that they may have formed during the same chondrule-forming event, but at slightly different ambient nebular temperatures. Aluminum-diopside grains from two A1-diopside-rich chondrules have O-isotopic compositions (△17O ≈ -7 ± 1.1‰) similar to CAI minerals, suggesting that they formed from an isotopically similar reservoir. The oxygen-isotopic composition of one Ca, A1-poor cryptocrystalline chondrule in QUE 94411/94627 was analyzed and found to have △17O ≈ -3 ± 1.4‰. The characteristics of the CAIs in HH 237 and QUE 94411/94627 are inconsistent with an impact origin of these metal-rich meteorites. Instead they suggest that the components in CB chondrites are pristine products of large-scale, high-temperature processes in the solar nebula and should be considered bona fide chondrites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189-1216
Number of pages28
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Volume36
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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