The University of Arizona

Carbonates in Vigarano: Terrestrial, preterrestrial, or both?

N. M. Abreu, A. J. Brearley

Abstract


Studies of two separate stones of the CV3 chondrite Vigarano have revealed the presence of previously unreported occurrences of calcite. In the first stone, calcite occurs as thin veins in a type B CAI. In contrast, observations of the second stone, which was recovered one month after its fall, show three calcite occurrences: networks of veins, vesicle fillings in the fusion crust, and pseudomorphic replacement of augite associated with a porphyritic olivine chondrule. The most common occurrence is as veins ranging in thickness from <1 μm to 25 μm and extending for more than several hundred m. Some veins crosscut the fusion crust and are connected to a carbonate coating on the exterior of the meteorite. Extensive minor element zoning occurs in carbonate masses, indicating variations in the fluid composition and/or redox potential during carbonate growth. Based on the textural evidence and a comparative study with carbonate veins in the CV3 chondrite Leoville, we conclude that the veins are terrestrial in origin. We propose a model for rapid carbonate formation in which calcite precipitation is driven by hydrolysis and oxidation in the meteorite interior that move the fluid composition to alkaline values. In addition, both stones also contain minor occurrences of carbonate that are not readily explained by terrestrial alteration. Minor carbonate in a type B CAI occurs in the first stone and calcite occurs as pseudomorphic replacement of augite in the second stone. Both of these occurrences appear to be preterrestrial, probably asteroidal in origin.

Keywords


Calcite;CV3 chondrite;Terrestrial weathering

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