Acapulcoite-lodranite meteorites: Ultramafic asteroidal partial melt residues

Klaus Keil, Timothy J. McCoy

Chemie der Erde – Geochemistry

Review article
Available online 14 July 2017


“Acapulcoites (most ancient Hf-W ages are 4,563.1 ± 0.8 Ma), lodranites (most ancient Hf-W ages are 4,562.6 ± 0.9 Ma) and rocks transitional between them are ancient residues of different degrees of partial melting of a chondritic source lithology (e.g., as indicated by the occurrence of relict chondrules in 9 acapulcoites), although the precise chondrite type is unknown. Acapulcoites are relatively fine- grained (∼150–230 μm) rocks with equigranular, achondritic textures and consist of olivine, orthopyroxene, Ca-rich clinopyroxene, plagioclase, metallic Fe,Ni, troilite, chromite and phosphates. Lodranites are coarser grained (540–700 μm), with similar equigranular, recrystallized textures, mineral compositions and contents, although some are significantly depleted in eutectic Fe,Ni-FeS and plagioclase- clinopyroxene partial melts. The acapulcoite-lodranite clan is most readily distinguished from other groups of primitive achondrites (e.g., winoanites/IAB irons) by oxygen isotopic compositions, although more than 50% of meteorites classified as acapulcoites currently lack supporting oxygen isotopic data. The heat source for melting of acapulcoites-lodranites was internal to the parent body, most likely 26Al, although some authors suggest it was shock melting. Acapulcoites experienced lower temperatures of ∼980–1170 °C and lower degrees of partial melting (∼1–4 vol.%) and lodranites higher temperatures of ∼1150–1200 °C and higher degrees (∼5 ≥ 10 vol.%) of partial melting. Hand-specimen and thin section observations indicate movement of Fe,Ni-FeS, basaltic, and phosphate melts in veins over micrometer to centimeter distances. Mineralogical, chemical and isotopic properties, Cosmic Ray Exposure (CRE) ages which cluster around 4–6 Ma and the occurrence of some meteorites consisting of both acapulcoite and lodranite material, indicate that these meteorites come from one parent body and were most likely ejected in one impact event. Whereas the precise parent asteroid of these meteorites is unknown, there is general agreement that it was an S-type object. There is nearly total agreement that the acapulcoite-lodranite parent body was <∼100 km in radius and, based on the precise Pb–Pb age for Acapulco of 4555.9 ± 0.6 Ma, combined with the Hf/W and U/Pb records and cooling rates deduced from mineralogical and other investigations, that the parent body was fragmented during its cooling which the U/Pb system dates at precisely 4556 ± 1 Ma. Hf-W chronometry suggests that the parent body of the acapulcoites-lodranites and, in fact, the parent bodies of all “primitive achondrites” accreted slightly later than those of the differentiated achondrites and, thus, had lower contents of 26Al, the heat producing radionuclide largely responsible for heating of both primitive and differentiated achondrites. Thus, the acapulcoite-lodranite parent body never experienced the high degrees of melting responsible for the formation of the differentiated meteorites, but arrested its melting history at relatively low degrees of ∼15 vol.%."