The University of Arizona

Brachinites: Igneous rocks from a differentiated asteroid

D. W. Mittlefehldt, D. D. Bogard, J. L. Berkley, D. H. Garrison


We have done petrologic studies of brachinites Allan Hills (ALH) 84025, Elephant Moraine (EET) 99402, and EET 99407; bulk geochemical studies of EET 99402 and EET 99407; Ar- Ar studies of Brachina and EET 99402; and a Xe isotopic study of Brachina. Textural, mineral compositional, and bulk compositional evidence show that EET 99402 and EET 99407 are paired. ALH 84025, EET 99402, and EET 99407 have igneous textures. Petrofabric analyses of ALH 84025 and EET 99407 demonstrate the presence of lineations and probable foliations of olivine grains that support formation as igneous cumulates. Mineral minor element chemistry and bulk rock incompatible lithophile element contents of the brachinites are distinct from those of acapulcoite- lodranite clan meteorites, a suite of high-grade metamorphic rocks and anatectic residues. The differences demonstrate a higher blocking temperature of equilibration for the brachinites and that cumulus plagioclase is present in EET 99402, EET 99407, and probably ALH 84025, thus indicating an igneous origin. Brachinites are differentiated, ultramafic achondrites, and are not part of a suite of primitive achondrites. We infer that their parent asteroid is a differentiated body. Brachina has an excess of 129Xe correlated with reactor-produced 128Xe, demonstrating that short-lived 129I was present at the time of formation. This, plus literature data, attests to early formation of the brachinites, within a few Ma of the formation of chondrites. Ar-Ar age data show that Brachina and EET 99407 were degassed about 4.13 Ga ago, possibly by a common impact event. EET 99402 and EET 99407 show petrographic evidence for shock, including possible conversion of plagioclase to maskelynite followed by devitrification. Brachina is unshocked, making a direct association between the Ar-Ar age and textures ambiguous.


Dawn mission;Eucrites; Ibitira;basaltic Achondrites

Full Text: