Temperature and oxygen fugacity constraints on CK and R chondrites and implications for water and oxidation in the early solar system

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Abstract

Recent chondritic meteorite finds in Antarctica have included CB, CH, CK and R chondrites, the latter two of which are among the most oxidized materials found in meteorite collections. In this study we present petrographic and mineralogic data for a suite of CK and R chondrites, and compare to previous CK and R chondrites, as well as some CV. In particular we focus on the opaque minerals - magnetite, chromite, sulfides, and metal - as well as unusual silicates - hornblende, biotite, and plagioclase. Several mineral thermometers and oxy-barometers are utilized to calculate temperatures and oxygen fugacities for these unusual meteorites compared to other more common chondrite groups. R and CK chondrites show lower equilibrium temperatures than ordinary chondrites, even though they are at similar petrologic grades (e.g., thermal type 6). Oxygen fugacity calculated for CV and R chondrites ranges from values near the iron-wustite (IW) oxygen buffer to near the fayalite-magnetite-quartz (FMQ) buffer. In comparison, the fO2 recorded by ilmenite-magnetite pairs from CK chondrites are much higher, from FMQ + 2 to FMQ + 4.5. The latter values are the highest recorded for materials in meteorites, and place some constraints on the formation conditions of these magnetite-bearing chondrites. Differences between mineralogic and O isotopic compositions of CK and R chondrites suggest two different oxidation mechanisms, which may be due to high and low water:rock ratios during metamorphism, or to different fluid compositions, or both.

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Righter, K., & Neff, K. E. (2007). Temperature and oxygen fugacity constraints on CK and R chondrites and implications for water and oxidation in the early solar system. Polar Science, 1(1), 25–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polar.2007.04.002

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