Phosphate minerals in LL chondrites: A record of the action of fluids during metamorphism on ordinary chondrite parent bodies

Rhian H. Jones, Francis M. McCubbin, Linda Dreeland, Yunbin Guan, Paul V. Burger, Charles K. Shearer

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    Ordinary chondrites contain two phosphate minerals, merrillite and chlorapatite, both of which are secondary minerals that developed in response to metamorphism on the chondrite parent bodies. We have studied the phosphate mineralogy of four LL chondrites, of petrologic types 3.9-6, in order to determine the petrogenesis of the two minerals and interpret the conditions under which they formed. Characterization of merrillite and apatite includes textural observations, mineral compositions determined by electron probe microanalysis, and ion microprobe analyses of trace element and volatile anion elemental abundances. Initial formation of phosphate minerals during mild metamorphism, to petrologic type 4 conditions, resulted in oxidation of P that was originally incorporated in metal, and growth of merrillite as inclusions within metal grains. Subsequent development of both phosphate minerals occurred in response to diffusional equilibration, possible precipitation from fluids as well as replacement reactions resulting from interactions with fluids. Porosity and vein-filling textures in both merrillite and chlorapatite, as well as textures indicating replacement of merrillite by chlorapatite, support a model in which fluid played a significant role and suggest an interface-coupled dissolution-reprecipitation mechanism during metasomatism. Some associations of phosphate minerals with chromite-plagioclase assemblages suggest that phosphate minerals could also be related to impact processes, either as precipitation from an impact melt or as a result of interactions with a fluid or vapor derived from an impact melt. Fluid compositions may have been water-bearing initially, at low temperatures of metamorphism, but later evolved to become halogen-rich and very dry. Late-stage halogen-rich fluids that dominated during cooling of LL chondrite material may have been derived from vaporization of partial melts in the interior of the parent body. Overall, the LL chondrite parent body underwent a complex chemical evolution, in which metasomatism played a significant role. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)120-140
    Number of pages20
    JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


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