Exsolution in alkali feldspar in ordinary chondrites: Ubiquitous evidence for rapid cooling at high temperatures

1Jonathan A.Lewis,1,2Rhian H.Jones
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2021.12.014]
1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131
2Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Copyright Elsevier

Thermal metamorphism in undisrupted ordinary chondrite (OC) parent bodies is thought to occur through the radioactive decay of 26Al, producing an onion-shell-like structure with higher peak metamorphic temperatures corresponding to increasing depth. During retrograde metamorphism, the onion-shell model predicts slower cooling rates with increasing petrologic type. However, cooling rates determined by pyroxene diffusion, metallographic, and other methods are inconsistent with onion-shell-like cooling, leading to a model of asteroid disruption and reaccretion into a rubble pile, after peak metamorphism. Potassium-feldspar exsolution in albite, in a perthite texture, has been noted in OCs and can be used as another method for determining cooling rates. We conducted a survey of K-feldspar occurrences and textures, within chondrules, in petrologic type 3.6-6 H, L, and LL OCs. Potassium-feldspar is present as a secondary feature, in primary and secondary albite, as fine-scale exsolution lamellae, 0.1-1.5 μm wide, as well as in larger patches up to 50 μm in size. Exsolution is present in all OC groups and is most common in petrologic type 4.

In the H4 chondrite Avanhandava, we estimate the cooling rate from perthite to be 3-17 °C/yr over a temperature interval of 765-670 °C. Peristerite is also present in Avanhandava for which we estimate a cooling rate of 0.2-2.4×10-3 °C/yr from 570-540 °C. In general, the relatively fast, high-temperature cooling rate determined by perthite is similar to cooling rates recovered from two-pyroxene speedometry. The peristerite cooling rate is closer to the slow, lower temperature metallographic cooling rates. Because K-feldspar exsolution is present in similar fine-scale lamellae in all OC groups, we suggest that all OC parent bodies experienced the same cooling history at high temperatures. These results are inconsistent with predictions of OC asteroid cooling from undisturbed onion-shell metamorphism but are consistent with models involving disruption after peak metamorphism followed by reassembly.

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