Origin of felsic achondrites Graves Nunataks 06128 and 06129, and ultramafic brachinites and brachinite-like achondrites by partial melting of volatile-rich primitive parent bodies

Day, JMD, Walker RJ, Ash RD, Liu Y, Rumble D, Irving AJ, Goodrich CA, Tait K, McDonough WF, Taylor LA.  2012.  Origin of felsic achondrites Graves Nunataks 06128 and 06129, and ultramafic brachinites and brachinite-like achondrites by partial melting of volatile-rich primitive parent bodies. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 81:94-128.

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asteroidal, basaltic meteorites, crust, early solar-system, geochemistry, highly siderophile elements, iiicd iron-meteorites, lunar, osmium isotope, silicate minerals, ureilite


New major- and trace-element abundances, highly siderophile element (HSE: Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Pd, Re) abundances, and oxygen and rhenium-osmium isotope data are reported for oligoclase-rich meteorites Graves Nunataks 06128 and 06129 (GRA 06128/9), six brachinites (Brachina; Elephant Morraine 99402/7; Northwest Africa (NWA) 1500; NWA 3151; NWA 4872; NWA 4882) and three olivine-rich achondrites, which are referred to here as brachinite-like achondrites (NWA 5400; NWA 6077; Zag (b)). GRA 06128/9 represent examples of felsic and highly-sodic melt products from an asteroid that may provide a differentiation complement to brachinites and/or brachinite-like achondrites. The new data, together with our petrological observations, are consistent with derivation of GRA 06128/9, brachinites and the three brachinite-like achondrites from nominally volatile-rich and oxidised 'chondritic' precursor sources within their respective parent bodies. Furthermore, the range of Delta O-17 values (similar to 0 parts per thousand to -0.3 parts per thousand) among the meteorites indicates generation from isotopically heterogeneous sources that never completely melted, or isotopically homogenised. It is possible to generate major-and trace-element compositions similar to brachinites and the three studied brachinite-like achondrites as residues of moderate degrees (13-30%) of partial melting of primitive chondritic sources. This process was coupled with inefficient removal of silica-saturated, high Fe/Mg felsic melts with compositions similar to GRA 06128/9. Melting of the parent bodies of GRA 06128/9, brachinites and brachinite-like achondrites halted well before extensive differentiation, possibly due to the exhaustion of the short-lived radionuclide Al-26 by felsic melt segregation. This mechanism provides a potential explanation for the cessation of run-away melting in asteroids to preserve achondrites such as GRA 06128/9, brachinites, brachinite-like achondrites, acapulcoite-lodranites, ureilites and aubrites. Moderate degrees of partial melting of chondritic material and generation of Fe-Ni-S-bearing melts are generally consistent with HSE abundances that are within factors of similar to 2-10 x CI-chondrite abundances for GRA 06128/9, brachinites and the three brachinite-like achondrites. However, in detail, brachinite-like achondrites NWA 5400, NWA 6077 and Zag (b) are interpreted to have witnessed single-stage S-rich metal segregation, whereas HSE in GRA 06128/9 and brachinites have more complex heritages. The HSE compositions of GRA 06128/9 and brachinites require either: (1) multiple phases in the residue (e. g., metal and sulphide); (2) fractionation after generation of an initial melt, again involving multiple phases; (3) fractional fusion, or; (4) a parent body with non-chondritic relative HSE abundances. Petrological and geochemical observations permit genetic links (i.e., same parent body) between GRA 06128/9 and brachinites and similar formation mechanisms for brachinites and brachinite-like achondrites. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.