Cooling rates of LL, L and H chondrites and constraints on the duration of peak thermal conditions: Diffusion kinetic modeling and implications for fragmentation of Asteroids and impact resetting of petrologic types

1Jibamitra Ganguly, 2Massimiliano Tirone, 3Kenneth Domanik
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [doi:10.1016/j.gca.2016.07.030]
1Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
2Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie, Geophysik, Rühr-Universität, D-44780 Bochum, Germany
3Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Copyright Elsevier

We have carried out detailed thermometric and cooling history studies of several LL-, L- and H-chondrites of petrologic types 5 and 6. Among the selected samples, the low-temperature cooling of St. Séverin (LL6) has been constrained in an earlier study by thermochronological data to an average rate of ∼2.6 °C/My below 500 °C. However, numerical simulations of the development of Fe-Mg profiles in Opx-Cpx pairs using this cooling rate grossly misfit the measured compositional profiles. Satisfactory simulation of the latter and low temperature thermochronological constraints requires a two-stage cooling model with a cooling rate of ∼50-200 °C/ky from the peak metamorphic temperature of ∼875 °C down to 450 °C, and then transitioning to very slow cooling with an average rate of ∼2.6 °C/My. Similar rapid high temperature cooling rates (200-600 °C/ky) are also required to successfully model the compositional profiles in the Opx-Cpx pairs in the other samples of L5, L6 chondrites. For the H-chondrite samples, the low temperature cooling rates were determined earlier to be 10-20 °C/My by metallographic method. As in St. Séverin, these cooling rates grossly misfit the compositional profiles in the Opx-Cpx pairs. Modeling of these profiles requires very rapid cooling, ∼200-400 °C/ky, from the peak temperatures (∼810-830 °C), transitioning to the metallographic rates at ∼450 – 500 °C. We interpret the rapid high temperature cooling rates to the exposure of the samples to surface or near surface conditions as a result of fragmentation of the parent body by asteroidal impacts. Using the thermochronological data, the timing of the presumed impact is constrained to be ∼4555 – 4560 My before present for St. Séverin (Fig. 3). We also deduced similar two stage cooling models in earlier studies of H-chondrites and mesosiderites that could be explained, using the available geochronological data, by impact induced fragmentation at around the same time. Diffusion kinetic analysis shows that if a lower petrological type got transformed by the thermal effect of shock impacts to reflect higher metamorphic temperature, as has been suggested as a possibility, then the peak temperatures would have had to be sustained for at least 10 ky and 80 ky, respectively, for transformation to the petrologic types 6 and 4. Finally, we present a model that reconciles textural data supporting an onion-shell parent body of H-chondrites with rapid cooling rate at high temperature caused by impact induced disturbance, and also discuss alternatives to the onion shell parent body model.

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