The University of Arizona

A critical evaluation of oxidation versus reduction during metamorphism of L and LL group chondrites, and implications for asteroid spectroscopy

Heather K. Gastineau-Lyons, Harry Y., McSween, Michael J. Gaffey

Abstract


Modal mineralogies of individual, equilibrated (petrologic type 4-6) L and LL chondrites have been measured using an electron microprobe mapping technique, and the chemical compositions of coexisting silicate minerals have been analyzed. Progressive changes in the relative abundances and in the molar Fe/Mn and Fe/Mg ratios of olivine, low-Ca pyroxene, and diopside occur with increasing metamorphic grade. Variations in olivine/low-Ca pyroxene ratios (Ol/Px) and in metal abundances and compositions with petrologic type support the hypothesis that oxidation of metallic iron accompanied thermal metamorphism in ordinary chondrites. Modal Ol/Px ratios are systematically lower than normative Ol/Px ratios for the same meteorites, suggesting that the commonly used C.I.P.W. norm calculation procedure may not adequately estimate silicate mineral abundances in reduced chondrites. Ol/Px ratios calculated from VISNIR reflectance spectra of the same meteorites are not in agreement with other Ol/Px determinations, possibly because of spectral complexities arising from other minerals in chondrites. Characteristic features in VISNIR spectra are sensitive to the proportions and compositions of olivine and pyroxenes, the minerals most affected by oxidative metamorphism. This work may allow spectral calibration for the determination of mineralogy and petrologic type, and thus may be useful for spectroscopic studies of asteroids.

Keywords


L chondrites;metamorphism ;oxidation;VISNIR spectra;pyroxenes;spectroscopy

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