The University of Arizona

Enstatite aggregates with niningerite, heideite, and oldhamite from the Kaidun carbonaceous chondrite: Relatives of aubrites and EH chondrites?



We studied 2 enstatite aggregates (En >99), with sizes of 0.5 and 1.5 mm, embedded in the carbonaceous matrix of Kaidun. They contain sulfide inclusions up to 650 μm in length, which consist mainly of niningerite but contain numerous grains of heideite as well as oldhamite and some secondary phases (complex Fe, Ti, S hydroxides and Ca carbonate). Both niningerite and heideite are enriched in all trace elements relative to the co-existing enstatite except for Be and Sc. The niningerite has the highest Ca content (about 5 wt%) of all niningerites analyzed so far in any meteorite and is the phase richest in trace elements. The REE pattern is fractionated, with the CI-normalized abundance of Lu being higher by 2 orders of magnitude than that of La, and has a strong negative Eu anomaly. Heideite is, on average, poorer in trace elements except for Zr, La, and Li. Its REE pattern is flat at about 0.5 x CI, and it also has a strong negative Eu anomaly. The enstatite is very poor in trace elements. Its Ce content is about 0.01 that of niningerite, but Li, Be, Ti, and Sc have between 0.1 and 1 x CI abundances. The preferential partitioning of typical lithophile elements into sulfides indicates highly O-deficient and S-dominated formation conditions for the aggregates. The minimum temperature of niningerite formation is estimated to be ~850-900° C. The texture and the chemical characteristics of the phases in the aggregates suggest formation by aggregation and subsequent sintering before incorporation into the Kaidun breccia. The trace element data obtained for heideite, the first on record, show that this mineral, in addition to oldhamite and niningerite, is also a significant carrier of trace elements in enstatite meteorites


aubrites;enstatite Chondrites;Niningerite;Trace elements

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