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A reappraisal of the metamorphic history of EH3 and EL3 enstatite chondrites

Abstract : The thermal history of a series of EH3 and EL3 chondrites has been investigated by studying the degree of structural order of the organic matter (OM) located and characterized in matrix areas by Raman micro-spectroscopy. By comparison with unequilibrated ordinary chondrites (UOCs) and CO and CV carbonaceous chondrites, the following petrologic types have been assigned to various E chondrites: Sahara 97096 and Allan Hills 84206: 3.1-3.4; Allan Hills 85170 and Parsa: 3.5; Allan Hills 85119: 3.7; Qingzhen, MacAlpine Hills 88136 and MacAlpine Hills 88184: 3.6-3.7. The petrologic type of Qingzhen is consistent with the abundance of the P3 noble gas component, a sensitive tracer of the grade of thermal metamorphism. The petrologic types are qualitatively consistent with the abundance of fine-grained matrix for the whole series. No significant effects of shock processes on the structure of OM were observed. However such processes certainly compete with thermal metamorphism and the possibility of an effect cannot be fully discarded, in particular in the less metamorphosed objects. The OM precursors accreted by the EH3 and EL3 parent bodies appear to be fairly similar to those of UOCs and CO and CV carbonaceous chondrites. Raman data however show some slight structural differences that could be partly accounted for by shock processes. The metamorphic history of EH3 and EL3 chondrites has often been described as complex, in particular regarding the combined action of shock and thermal metamorphism. Because OM maturity is mostly controlled by the temperature of peak metamorphism, it is possible to distinguish between the contributions of long duration thermal processes and that of shock processes. Comparison of the petrologic types with the closure temperatures previously derived from opaque mineral assemblages has revealed that the thermal history of EH3 and EL3 chondrites is consistent with a simple asteroidal onion shell model. Thermal metamorphism in enstatite chondrites appears to be fairly similar to that which takes place in other chondrite classes. The complex features recorded by mineralogy and petrology and widely reported in the literature appear to be mostly controlled by shock processes
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Eric Quirico, Michèle Bourot-Denise, Christophe Robin, Gilles Montagnac, Pierre Beck. A reappraisal of the metamorphic history of EH3 and EL3 enstatite chondrites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2011, 75 (11), pp.3088-3102. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2011.03.009⟩. ⟨insu-00683862⟩

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