The University of Arizona

Al-Mg isotopic evidence for episodic alteration of Ca-Al-rich inclusions from Allende



Textures, mineral assemblages, and Al-Mg isotope systematics indicate a protracted, episodic secondary mineralization history for Allende Ca-Al-rich inclusions (CAIs). Detailed observations from one type B1 CAI, one B2, one compact type A (CTA), and one fluffy type A (FTA) indicate that these diverse types of CAIs are characterized by two distinct textural and mineralogic types of secondary mineralization: (1) grossular-rich domains, concentrated along melilite grain boundaries in CAI interiors, and (2) feldspathoid-bearing domains, confined mostly to CAI margins just interior to the Wark-Lovering rim sequence. The Al-Mg isotopic compositions of most secondary minerals in the type B1 CAI, and some secondary minerals in the other CAIs, show no resolvable excesses of 26Mg, whereas the primary CAI phases mostly yield correlated excesses of 26Mg with increasing Al/Mg corresponding to canonical initial 26Al/27Al ~ 4.55 10^(-5). These secondary minerals formed at least 3 Ma after the primary CAI minerals. All but two analyses of secondary minerals from the fluffy type-A CAI define a correlated increase in 26Mg/24Mg with increasing Al/Mg, yielding (26Al/27Al)0 = (4.9 ± 2.8) 10^(-6). The secondary minerals in this CAI formed 1.8 ± 3.2 Ma after the primary CAI minerals. In both cases, the timing of secondary alteration is consistent with, but does not necessarily require, alteration in an asteroidal setting. One grossular from the type B2 CAI, and several grossular and secondary feldspar analyses from the compact type A CAI, have excesses of 26Mg consistent with initial 26Al/27Al ~ 4.5 ±  10^(-5). Especially in the compact type A CAI, where 26Mg/24Mg in grossular correlates with increasing Al/Mg, these 26Mg excesses are almost certainly due to in situ decay of 26Al. They indicate a nebular setting for formation of the grossular. The preservation of these diverse isotopic patterns indicates that heating on the Allende parent body was not pervasive enough to reset isotopic systematics of fine-grained secondary minerals. Secondary mineralization clearly was not restricted to a short time interval, and at least some alteration occurred coincident with CAI formation and melting events (chondrule formation) in the nebula. This observation supports the possibility that alteration followed by melting affected the compositional evolution of CAIs.


Aluminum-26;Alteration;Calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs)

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