Impact-related noncoaxial deformation in the Pułtusk H chondrite inferred from petrofabric analysis

Krzesińska, A., Gattacceca, J., Friedrich, J. M. and Rochette, P. (2015),

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12429


Petrofabrics in chondrites have the potential to yield important information on the impact evolution of chondritic parent asteroids, but studies involving chondritic petrofabrics are scarce. We undertook an analysis of the Pułtusk H chondrite regolith breccia. Measurements of anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility and quantitative tomographic examination of metal grains are presented here and the results are compared with petrographic observations. The major fabric elements are in Pułtusk shear fractures cutting the light-colored chondritic clasts as well as brittly and semibrittly deformed, cataclased fragments in dark matrix of regolith breccia. Cataclasis is accompanied by rotation of silicate grains and frictional melting. Fabric of metal grains in chondrite is well defined and coherently oriented over the breccia, both in the clasts and in the cataclastic matrix. Metal grains have prolate shapes and they are arranged into foliation plane and lineation direction, both of which are spatially related and kinematically compatible to shear-dominated deformational features. We argue that the fabric of Pułtusk was formed in response to impact-related noncoaxial shear strain. Deformation promoted brittle cataclastic processes and shearing of silicates, and, simultaneously, allowed for ductile metal to develop foliation and lineation. We suggest that plastic flow is the most probable mechanism for the deformation of metal grains in the shear-dominated strain field. The process led also to the formation of large metal nodules and bands in the dark matrix of breccia.