The University of Arizona

Ar-Ar and I-Xe ages and the thermal history of IAB meteorites

D. D. Bogard, D. H. Garrison, H. Takeda


Studies of several samples of the large Caddo County IAB iron meteorite reveal andesitic material enriched in Si, Na, Al, and Ca, which is essentially unique among meteorites. This material is believed to have formed from a chondritic source by partial melting and to have further segregated by grain coarsening. Such an origin implies extended metamorphism of the IAB parent body. New 39Ar-40Ar ages for silicate from three different Caddo samples are consistent with a common age of 4.50-4.51 Gyr. Less well-defined Ar-Ar degassing ages for inclusions from two other IABs, EET (Elephant Moraine) 83333 and Udei Station, are ~4.32 Gyr, whereas the age for Campo del Cielo varies considerably over about 3.23-4.56 Gyr. New 129I-129Xe ages for Caddo County and EET 83333 are 4557.9 ± 0.1 Myr and 4557-4560 Myr, respectively, relative to an age of 4562.3 Myr for Shallowater. Considering all reported Ar-Ar degassing ages for IABs and related winonaites, the range is ~4.32-4.53 Gyr, but several IABs give similar Ar ages of 4.50-4.52 Gyr. We interpret these older Ar ages to represent cooling after the time of last significant metamorphism on the parent body and the younger ages to represent later 40Ar diffusion loss. The older Ar-Ar ages for IABs are similar to Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr isochron ages reported in the literature for Caddo County. Considering the possibility that IAB parent body formation was followed by impact disruption, reassembly, and metamorphism (e.g., Benedix et al. 2000), the Ar-Ar ages and IAB cooling rates deduced from Ni concentration profiles in IAB metal (Herpfer et al. 1994) are consistent if the time of the postassembly metamorphism was as late as about 4.53 Gyr ago. However, I-Xe ages reported for some IABs define much older ages of about 4558-4566 Myr, which cannot easily be reconciled with the much younger Ar-Ar and Sm-Nd ages. An explanation for the difference in radiometric ages of IABs may reside in combinations of the following: a) I-Xe ages have very high closure temperatures and were not reset during metamorphism about 4.53 Gyr ago; b) a bias exists in the 40K decay constants which makes these Ar-Ar ages approximately 30 Myr too young; c) the reported Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr ages for Caddo are in error by amounts equal to or exceeding their reported 2-sigma uncertainties; and d) about 30 Myr after the initial heating that produced differentiation of Caddo silicate and mixing of silicate and metal, a mild metamorphism of the IAB parent body reset the Ar-Ar ages.


I-Xe ages;IAB meteorites;Caddo County meteorites;Ar-Ar ages

Full Text: