Meteorites & Asteroids

Abundance, Major Element Composition and Size of Components and Matrix in CV, CO and Acfer 094 Chondrites

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
June 27, 2023
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Abundance, Major Element Composition and Size of Components and Matrix in CV, CO and Acfer 094 Chondrites
Mg-Ca-Al = red-green-blue x-ray mosaics of (A) Kainsaz 4717-1Cp1 (CO 3.2), showing clast outlines (yellow lines) in right hand portion; (B) Allende AL2ps25 (CVOxA ~3.6), showing outlines and clasts labels; (C) Vigarano (CV-R 3.3), showing outlines; (D) ~800 µm chondrule in Colony (CO 3.0), plane polarized light image (upper) and x-ray mosaic (lower) showing outline (dashed line); (E) Tibooburra (CV 3), showing outlines and, on right, grayscale input to ImageJ step of analysis algorithm; and (F) cropped area of Acfer 094 (C2-ungr) showing outlines (yellow). — astro-ph.EP

The relative abundances and chemical compositions of the macroscopic components or “inclusions” (chondrules and refractory inclusions) and fine-grained mineral matrix in chondritic meteorites provide constraints on astrophysical theories of inclusion formation and chondrite accretion.

We present new techniques for analysis of low count per pixel Si, Mg, Ca, Al, Ti and Fe x-ray intensity maps of rock sections, and apply them to large areas of CO and CV chondrites, and the ungrouped Acfer 094 chondrite. For many thousands of manually segmented and type-identified inclusions, we are able to assess, pixel-by-pixel, the major element content of each inclusion.

We quantify the total fraction of those elements accounted for by various types of inclusion and matrix. Among CO chondrites, both matrix and inclusion Mg to Si ratios approach the solar (and bulk CO) ratio with increasing petrologic grade, but Si remains enriched in inclusions relative to matrix.

The oxidized CV chondrites with higher matrix-inclusion ratios exhibit more severe aqueous alteration (oxidation), and their excess matrix accounts for their higher porosity relative to reduced CV chondrites. Porosity could accommodate an original ice component of matrix as the direct cause of local alteration of oxidized CV chondrites.

We confirm that major element abundances among inclusions differ greatly, across a wide range of CO and CV chondrites. These abundances in all cases add up to near-chondritic (solar) bulk abundance ratios in these chondrites, despite wide variations in matrix-inclusion ratios and inclusion sizes: chondrite components are complementary. This “complementarity” provides a robust meteoritic constraint for astrophysical disk models.

Denton S. Ebel, Chelsea Brunner, Kevin Konrad, Kristin Leftwich, Isabelle Erb, Muzhou Lu, Hugo Rodriguez, Ellen J. Crapster-Pregont, Jon M. Friedrich, Michael K. Weisberg

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Geophysics (physics.geo-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2306.12650 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2306.12650v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Journal reference: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 172: 322-356 (2016)
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Submission history
From: Denton Ebel
[v1] Thu, 22 Jun 2023 03:33:57 UTC (6,114 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻