Carbonaceous and noncarbonaceous iron meteorites: Differences in chemical, physical, and collective properties

Alan E. Rubin

Meteorit Planet Sci. . doi:10.1111/maps.13128


“Iron‐meteorite groups that appear from published isotopic data to have been derived from melted carbonaceous‐chondrite‐like precursors (CC irons) (IIC, IID, IIF, IIIF, IVB) tend to have higher median refractory siderophile element (RSE) contents, higher median Ni contents, and higher median Ir/Ni and Ir/Au ratios than magmatic noncarbonaceous (NC) iron‐meteorite groups (IC, IIAB, IIIAB, IIIE, IVA). (Group IIG is also NC.) One potential source of RSEs in magmatic CC irons is the set of refractory metal nuggets from inherited CAIs. Magmatic CC‐iron groups tend to have longer cosmic‐ray exposure (CRE) ages than magmatic NC‐iron groups, indicating long residence times as small bodies in interplanetary space. The lower membership of CC‐iron groups is probably mainly due to the high oxidation state of their precursors. Such oxidation would have produced lesser amounts of free metal; parent body differentiation of such bodies would have produced smaller cores, resulting in fewer samples available to make CC‐iron meteorites in the first place. (Ungrouped magmatic irons, most of which can be considered groups with only one member, also tend to be carbonaceous.) It is possible that a subset of the chondrule‐poor dark inclusions in many carbonaceous chondrites represent unmelted materials related to the precursors of the CC irons. The Eagle Station pallasites (also CC‐related) are analogous to CC irons in being more oxidized, richer in Ni and RSEs, and fewer in number than main‐group pallasites (PMG). However, Eagle Station has a shorter CRE age than most PMG. ”