Testing variations within the Tagish Lake meteorite—I: Mineralogy and petrology of pristine samples

Blinova AI, Zega TJ, Herd CDK and Stroud RM (in press)

Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 49: 473–502. doi: 10.1111/maps.12271


Four samples (TL5b, TL11h, TL11i, and TL11v) from the pristine collection of the Tagish Lake meteorite, an ungrouped C2 chondrite, were studied to characterize and understand its alteration history using EPMA, XRD, and TEM. We determined that samples TL11h and TL11i have a relatively smaller proportion of amorphous silicate material than sample TL5b, which experienced low-temperature hydrous parent-body alteration conditions to preserve this indigenous material. The data suggest that lithic fragments of TL11i experienced higher degrees of aqueous alteration than the rest of the matrix, based on its low porosity and high abundance of coarse- and fine-grained sheet silicates, suggesting that TL11i was present in an area of the parent body where alteration and brecciation were more extensive. We identified a coronal, “flower”-like, microstructure consisting of a fine-grained serpentine core and coarse-grained saponite-serpentine radial arrays, suggesting varied fluid chemistry and crystallization time scales. We also observed pentlandite with different morphologies: an exsolved morphology formed under nebular conditions; a nonexsolved pentlandite along grain boundaries; a “bulls-eye” sulfide morphology and rims around highly altered chondrules that probably formed by multiple precipitation episodes during low-temperature aqueous alteration (≥100 °C) on the parent body. On the basis of petrologic and mineralogic observations, we conclude that the Tagish Lake parent body initially contained a heterogeneous mixture of anhydrous precursor minerals of nebular and presolar origin. These materials were subjected to secondary, nonpervasive parent-body alteration, and the samples studied herein represent different stages of that hydrous alteration, i.e., TL5b (the least altered) < TL11h < TL11i (the most altered). Sample TL11v encompasses the petrologic characteristics of the other three specimens.