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Day, JMD, Corder CA, Cartigny P, M. SA, Assayag N, Rumble D, Taylor LA.  2017.  A carbon-rich region in Miller Range 091004 and implications for ureilite petrogenesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 198:379-395.   10.1016/j.gca.2016.11.026   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 to 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. Modelling 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‰.

Hyde, BC, Day JMD, Tait KT, Ash RD, Holdsworth DW, Moser DE.  2014.  Characterization of weathering and heterogeneous mineral phase distribution in brachinite Northwest Africa 4872. Meteoritics and Planetary Science. 49(7):1141-1156.   10.1111/maps.12320   Abstract

Terrestrial weathering of hot desert achondrite meteorite finds and heterogeneous phase distributions in meteorites can complicate interpretation of petrological and geochemical information regarding parent-body processes. For example, understanding the effects of weathering is important for establishing chalcophile and siderophile element distributions within sulfide and metal phases in meteorites. Heterogeneous mineral phase distribution in relatively coarsely grained meteorites can also lead to uncertainties relating to compositional representativeness. Here, we investigate the weathering and high-density (e.g., sulfide, spinel, Fe-oxide) phase distribution in sections of ultramafic achondrite meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 4872. NWA 4872 is an olivine-rich brachinite (Fo63.6 ± 0.5) with subsidiary pyroxene (Fs9.7 ± 0.1Wo46.3 ± 0.2), Cr-spinel (Cr# = 70.3 ± 1.1), and weathered sulfide and metal. Raman mapping confirms that weathering has redistributed sulfur from primary troilite, resulting in the formation of Fe-oxide (-hydroxide) and marcasite (FeS2). From Raman mapping, NWA 4872 is composed of olivine (89%), Ca-rich pyroxene (0.4%), and Cr-spinel (1.1%), with approximately 7% oxidized metal and sulfide and 2.3% marcasite-dominated sulfide. Microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) observations reveal high-density regions, demonstrating heterogeneities in mineral distribution. Precision cutting of the largest high-density region revealed a single 2 mm Cr-spinel grain. Despite the weathering in NWA 4872, rare earth element (REE) abundances of pyroxene determined by laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) indicate negligible modification of these elements in this mineral phase. The REE abundances of mineral grains in NWA 4872 are consistent with formation of the meteorite as the residuum of the partial melting process that occurred on its parent body. LA-ICP-MS analyses of sulfide and alteration products demonstrate the mobility of Re and/or Os; however, highly siderophile element (HSE) abundance patterns remain faithful recorders of processes acting on the brachinite parent body(ies). Detailed study of weathering and phase distribution offers a powerful tool for assessing the effects of low-temperature alteration and for identifying robust evidence for parent-body processes.

O'Driscoll, B, Day JMD, Walker RJ, Daly JS, McDonough WF, Piccoli PM.  2012.  Chemical heterogeneity in the upper mantle recorded by peridotites and chromitites from the Shetland Ophiolite Complex, Scotland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 333:226-237.   10.1016/j.epsl.2012.03.035   Abstract

The timing, causes and extent of mantle heterogeneity preserved in the ∼492 Ma Shetland Ophiolite Complex (Scotland) are evaluated using Re–Os isotope and whole rock highly siderophile element (HSE: Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Pd, Re) abundance measurements of a suite of eight chromitites and 21 serpentinised harzburgites and dunites. Shetland dunites have more variable initial 187Os/188Os, as well as absolute and relative abundances of the HSE, compared to spatially associated harzburgites. As is common for ophiolitic peridotites, the harzburgites (γOs492Ma of −5.3 to +2.6) preserve evidence for a Mesoproterozoic depletion event, but are dominated by contemporary chondritic, ambient upper mantle compositions. The dunites have γOs492Ma values ranging between −3.3 and +12.4, reflecting dunite formation by higher degrees of melt interaction with mantle rock than for the spatially associated harzburgites.

Chromitite seams from three locations separated by <500 m have a large range in HSE concentrations (e.g., 0.09 to ∼2.9 μg g−1 Os) with initial γOs492Ma values ranging only from +0.48 to +3.95. Sulphides, arsenides and platinum-group minerals are the primary hosts for the HSE in the chromitites. Their isotopic variations reflect initial isotopic heterogeneity in their primary magmatic signatures. Coupled with field observations that support chromitite formation in concentrated zones of enhanced melt flow, the isotopic dichotomy between the harzburgites and the chromitites suggests that chromitite 187Os/188Os compositions may better approximate the upper limit, rather than an average value, of the bulk convecting upper mantle.

The Shetland peridotite compositions reflect protracted melt depletion (low-Al2O3) and melt percolation events in a supra-subduction zone (SSZ) setting at ∼492 Ma, following an earlier (Mesoproterozoic) melt-depletion event. These results provide further evidence that ancient chemical complexities can be preserved in the upper mantle during ocean plate formation. Chromitites and peridotites from the Shetland Ophiolite Complex also attest to lithological and geochemical heterogeneities generated at scales of less than tens of metres during the formation of ancient oceanic lithosphere by high-degree SSZ melt extraction, percolation and during chromitite formation in the oceanic lithosphere.

Tait, KT, Day JMD.  2018.  Chondritic late accretion to Mars and the nature of shergottite reservoirs. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 494:99-108.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.04.040   AbstractFree for 50 days

Mars is considered to have formed as a planetary embryo that experienced extensive differentiation early in its history. Shergottite meteorites preserve evidence for this history, and for late accretion events that affected their mantle sources within Mars. Here we report the first coupled 187Re–187Os, 87Sr/86Sr, highly siderophile element (HSE: Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Pd, Re) and major element abundance dataset for martian shergottites that span a range of MgO contents, from 6.4 to 30.3 wt.%. The shergottites range from picro-basalt to basaltic-andesite compositions, have enriched to depleted incompatible trace-element compositions, and define fractional crystallization trends, enabling the determination of HSE compatibility for martian magmatism in the order: Os > Ir ≥ Ru ≫ Pt ≥ Pd ≥ Re. This order of compatibility is like that defined previously for Earth and the Moon, but the fractionation of strongly compatible Os, Ir and Ru appears to take place at higher MgO contents in martian magmas, due to early onset of sulfide fractionation. In general, enriched shergottites have lower MgO contents than intermediate or depleted shergottites and have fractionated HSE patterns (Re + Pd + Pt > Ru + Ir + Os) and more radiogenic measured 87Sr/86Sr (0.7127–0.7235) and 187Os/188Os (0.140–0.247) than intermediate or depleted shergottite meteorites (87Sr/86Sr = 0.7010–0.7132; 187Os/188Os = 0.127–0.141). Osmium isotope compositions, corrected for crystallization age, define compositions that are implausibly unradiogenic in some enriched shergottites, implying recent mobilization of Re in some samples. Filtering for the effects of alteration and high Re/Os through crystal-liquid fractionation leads to a positive correlation between age-corrected Sr and Os isotope compositions. Mixing between hypothetical martian crustal and mantle reservoirs are unable to generate the observed Sr–Os isotope compositions of shergottites, which require either distinct and discrete long-term incompatible-element depleted and enriched mantle sources, or originate from hybridized melting of deep melts with metasomatized martian lithosphere. Using MgO-regression methods, we obtain a modified estimate of the bulk silicate Mars HSE composition of (in ng g−1) 0.4 [Re], 7.4 [Pd], 9.6 [Pt], 6.2 [Ru], 3.7 [Ir], 4 [Os], and a long-term chondritic 187Os/188Os ratio (∼0.1312). This result does not permit existing models invoking high-pressure and temperature partitioning of the HSE. Instead, our estimate implies 0.6–0.7% by mass of late accretion of broadly chondritic material to Mars. Our results indicate that Mars could have accreted earlier than Earth, but that disproportional accretion of large bodies and a relative constant flux of accretion of available materials in the first 50–100 Ma of Solar System led to the broad similarity in HSE abundances between Earth and Mars.

Day, JMD, Taylor LA, Floss C, Patchen AD, Schnare DW, Pearson DG.  2006.  Comparative petrology, geochemistry, and petrogenesis of evolved, low-Ti lunar mare basalt meteorites from the LaPaz Icefield, Antarctica. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 70:1581-1600.   10.1016/j.gca.2005.11.015   AbstractWebsite

New data is presented for five evolved, low-Ti lunar mare basalt meteorites from the LaPaz Icefield, Antarctica, LAP 02205, LAP 02224, LAP 02226, LAP 02436, and LAP 03632. These basalts have nearly identical mineralogies, textures, and geochemical compositions, and are therefore considered to be paired. The LaPaz basalts contain olivine (Fo(64-2)) and pyroxene (Fs(32)Wo(8)En(60) to Fs(84-86)Wo(15)En(2-0)) crystals that record extreme chemical fractionation to Fe-enrichment at the rims, and evidence for silicate liquid immiscibility and incompatible element enrichment in the mesostasis. The basalts also contain FeNi metals with unusually high Co and Ni contents, similar to some Apollo 12 basalts, and a single-phase network of melt veins and fusion crusts. The fusion crust has similar chemical characteristics to the whole rock for the LaPaz basalts, whereas the melt veins represent localized melting of the basalt and have an endogenous origin. The crystallization conditions and evolved nature of the LaPaz basalts are consistent with fractionation of olivine and chromite from a parental liquid similar in composition to some olivine-phyric Apollo 12 and Apollo 15 basalts or lunar low-Ti pyroclastic glasses. However, the young reported ages for the LaPaz mare basalts (similar to 2.9 Ga) and their relative incompatible element enrichment compared to Apollo mare basalts and pyroclastic glasses indicate they cannot be directly related. Instead, the LaPaz mare basalts may represent fractionated melts from a magmatic system fed by similar degrees of partial melting of a mantle source similar to that of the low-Ti Apollo mare basalts or pyroclastic glasses, but which possessed greater incompatible element enrichment. Despite textural differences, the LaPaz basalts and mare basalt meteorite NWA 032 have similar ages and compositions and may originate from the same magmatic system on the Moon. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.