The Milton pallasite and South Byron Trio Irons: Evidence for oxidation and core crystallization

1T.J.McCoy, 1C.M.Corrigan,1,2K.Nagashim, 1,3V.S.Reynolds, 4R.D.Ash, 4W.F.McDonough,5,6,7J.Yang, 5J.I.Goldstein, 4C.D.Hilton
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2019.06.005]
1Department of Mineral Sciences, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560-0119, USA
2Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, Univ. of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
3Dept. of Geography and Earth Sciences, UNC-Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223 USA
4Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742 USA
5Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003 USA
6Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 100029
7Institutions of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 100029
Copyright Elsevier

The link between the Milton pallasite and the South Byron Trio irons is examined through metallography and metallogaphic cooling rates; major, minor, and trace element compositions of metal; inclusion mineralogy and mineral compositions; and oxygen isotopic compositions. The metallic hosts of these Ni-rich meteorites (18.2-20.3 wt.% Ni) are dominated by plessite with spindles of kamacite and schreibersite. The presence of ∼50 nm wide tetrataenite and absence of high-Ni particles in the cloudy zone in Milton suggest cooling of ∼2,000 K/Myr or >10,000 K/Myr. Compositionally, the metallic host in all four meteorites exhibits modest (1-2 orders of magnitude compared to CI chondrites) depletions of volatile elements relative to refractory elements, and marked depletions in the redox sensitive elements W, Mo, Fe, and P. Oxygen isotopic compositions (Δ17O) are, within uncertainty, the same for the Milton and the South Byron Trio and for IVB irons. Similarities in metallography, metal composition, inclusion mineralogy, and oxygen (Δ17O), molybdenum and ruthenium isotopic composition suggest that the Milton pallasite and South Byron Trio irons could have originated on a common parent body as chemically distinct melt, or on separate parent bodies that experience similar cosmochemical and geochemical processes. The Milton pallasite and South Byron Trio irons share a number of properties with IVB irons, including metallography, enrichment in highly siderophile elements and nickel, inclusion mineralogy and oxygen isotopic composition, suggesting they formed in a similar nebular region through common processes, although Milton and the South Byron Trio did not experience the dramatic volatile loss of the IVB irons. Depletions in W, Mo, Fe, and P relative to elements of similar volatility likely result from oxidation, either in the nebula prior to accretion or on the parent body during melting. Oxidation ∼73 wt.% of Fe is indicated, with a correspondingly FeO-rich mantle and smaller core. If Milton and the South Byron Trio sample a common core, Milton formed near the surface of the core after stripping of the silicate shell and may have experienced rapid solidification and contamination by an impactor. The molten core, from which the South Byron Trio irons crystallized, solidified from the outside in.

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