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Composition of matrix in the CR chondrite LAP 02342

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2008.11.044


Abstract We report evidence of interchondrule matrix heterogeneity on a scale of ∼50 μm in the well-preserved CR2 chondrite LAP 02342. Despite minor effects resulting from asteroidal aqueous alteration, the matrix in this CR chondrite seems to preserve much of the compositional record of nebular fines. We carried out electron-microprobe studies using a 3-μm-diameter beam; we analyzed 10 elements in 36- or 49-point grids on 11 ca. 50 × 50-μm rectangular areas of matrix. Each grid area has a distinct composition, inconsistent with a simple model of matrix material having a uniform composition throughout the nebular formation region of the CR chondrites. On S–Fe, Mg–Si, K–Na and K–Al scatter diagrams, the grid areas (i.e., different matrix patches) are largely separated from each other; plots of means with 95% confidence limits demonstrate that the compositions are resolvable. Five matrix areas were analyzed again in duplicate runs; excellent agreement was observed between duplicate studies. LAP 02342 experienced two forms of mild aqueous alteration – as patchy enrichments in Ca (inferred to reflect CaCO 3) and as regions in which sulfide laths are embedded within phyllosilicates. Despite this evidence of aqueous transport, the effect on the composition of matrix is not resolvable. For example, matrix points that were adjacent to points with high CaCO 3 contents show elemental concentrations similar to those in regions having only one or two points with a Ca enrichment. It appears that secondary minerals are found in areas where there are suitable precursor phases and voids into which new phases could grow unimpeded. Calcium appears to be unique in forming a phase that greatly lowers the Ca ++ content of the aqueous medium, thus enhancing the rate of diffusion. Because chondrules vary widely in bulk composition, the formation of chondrules in small sets (100 or less) could generate “smoke” and mesostasis spray with compositions unique to each set. However, if these nanoparticles were moving independently in the nebula, it would not have been possible to have preserved compositional variations. We therefore infer that the anomalous materials were preserved in small nebular structures, probably as porous chondrules formed by low degrees of melting.

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