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A carbon-rich region in Miller Range 091004 and implications for ureilite petrogenesis

Abstract : Ureilite meteorites are partially melted asteroidal-peridotite residues, or more rarely, cumulates that can contain greater than three weight percent carbon. Here we describe an exceptional C-rich lithology, composed of 34 modal % large (up to 0.8 mm long) crystalline graphite grains, in the Antarctic ureilite meteorite Miller Range (MIL) 091004. This C-rich lithology is embedded within a silicate region composed dominantly of granular olivine with lesser quantities of low-Ca pyroxene, and minor FeNi metal, high-Ca pyroxene, spinel, schreibersite and troilite. Petrological evidence indicates that the graphite was added after formation of the silicate region and melt depletion. Associated with graphite is localized reduction of host olivine (Fo88-89) to nearly pure forsterite (Fo99), which is associated with FeNi metal grains containing up to 11 wt.% Si. The main silicate region is typical of ureilite composition, with highly siderophile element (HSE) abundances ∼0.3 × chondrite, 187Os/188Os of 0.1260-0.1262 and Δ17O of -0.81 ± 0.16‰. Mineral trace-element analyses reveal that the rare earth elements (REE) and the HSE are controlled by pyroxene and FeNi metal phases in the meteorite, respectively. Modeling of bulk-rock REE and HSE abundances indicates that the main silicate region experienced ∼6% silicate and >50% sulfide melt extraction, which is at the lower end of partial melt removal estimated for ureilites. Miller Range 091004 demonstrates heterogeneous distribution of carbon at centimeter scales and a limited range in Mg/(Mg + Fe) compositions of silicate grain cores, despite significant quantities of carbon. These observations demonstrate that silicate rim reduction was a rapid disequilibrium process, and came after silicate and sulfide melt removal in MIL 091004. The petrography and mineral chemistry of MIL 091004 is permissive of the graphite representing late-stage C-rich melt that pervaded silicates, or carbon that acted as a lubricant during anatexis and impact disruption in the parent body. Positive correlation of Pt/Os ratios with olivine core compositions, but a wide range of oxygen isotope compositions, indicates that ureilites formed from a compositionally heterogeneous parent body that experienced variable sulfide and metal melt-loss that is most pronounced in relatively oxidized ureilites with Δ17O between -1.5 and ∼0‰.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 9:15:48 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 3:47:24 AM

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James M. D. Day, Christopher A. Corder, Pierre Cartigny, Andrew M. Steele, Nelly Assayag, et al.. A carbon-rich region in Miller Range 091004 and implications for ureilite petrogenesis. GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, 2017, 198, pp.379-395. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2016.11.026⟩. ⟨insu-03748878⟩

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