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

1James M.D. Day, 1Christopher A. Corder, 2Pierre Cartigny, 3Andrew M. Steele, 2Nelly Assayag, 3Douglas Rumble III, 4Lawrence A. Taylor
Geochmica et Cosmochmica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2016.11.026]
1Geosciences Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0244, USA
2Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Univ. Paris Diderot, UMR 7154 CNRS, 1 rue Jussieu, 75238 Paris, France
3Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC 20015, USA
4Planetary Geosciences Institute, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Copyright Elsevier

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‰

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