The University of Arizona

Thermodynamic constraints on fayalite formation on parent bodies of chondrites

M. Yu. ZOLOTOV, M. V. MIRONENKO, E. L. SHOCK

Abstract


Thermochemical equilibria are calculated in the multicomponent gas-solution-rock system in order to evaluate the formation conditions of fayalite, (Fe0.881.0Mg0.120)2SiO4, Fa88100, in unequilibrated chondrites. Effects of temperature, pressure, water/rock ratio, rock composition, and progress of alteration are evaluated. The modeling shows that fayalite can form as a minor secondary and transient phase with and without aqueous solution. Fayalite can form at temperatures below ~350 °C, but only in a narrow range of water/rock ratios that designates a transition between aqueous and metamorphic conditions. Pure fayalite forms at lower temperatures, higher water/rock ratios, and elevated pressures that correspond to higher H2/H2O ratios. Lower pressure and water/rock ratios and higher temperatures favor higher Mg content in olivine. In equilibrium assemblages, fayalite usually coexists with troilite, kamacite, magnetite, chromite, Ca-Fe pyroxene, and phyllosilicates. Formation of fayalite can be driven by changes in temperature, pressure, H2/H2O, and water/rock ratios. However, in fayalite-bearing ordinary and CV3 carbonaceous chondrites, the mineral could have formed during the aqueous-to-metamorphic transition. Dissolution of amorphous silicates in matrices and/or silica grains, as well as low activities of Mg solutes, favored aqueous precipitation of fayalite. During subsequent metamorphism, fayalite could have formed through the reduction of magnetite and/or dehydration of ferrous serpentine. Further metamorphism should have caused reductive transformation of fayalite to Ca-Fe pyroxene and secondary metal, which is consistent with observations in metamorphosed chondrites. Although bulk compositions of matrices/chondrites have only a minor effect on fayalite stability, specific alteration paths led to different occurrences, quantities, and compositions of fayalite in chondrites.

Keywords


unequilibrated Meteorites;aqueous Alteration;Thermal metamorphism;Olivine

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