Mineralogy and petrology of dark clasts in the Allan Hills 76005 polymict eucrite pairing group

Kevin Righter, Alexander P. Holmwood

Meteoritics & Planetary Science


“The Allan Hills 76005 polymict eucrite pairing group consists of 15 paired masses recovered during six different field seasons in the Transantarctic Mountains. Although this group has been well studied in general, most of the meteorites contain a significant portion of dark clasts that have not been well characterized. The Dawn mission to Vesta discovered dark materials that provide insight into its evolution. The ALH dark clasts are thus of great interest to understanding the evolution of Vesta. Here, 45 different dark clasts from 15 different thin sections from the pairing group are characterized in detail to better understand their nature and origin. Five different textural types of dark clasts are recognized among this group—skeletal, vitrophyric, pilotaxitic, fan spherulitic, and troilite‐silica‐plagioclase‐rich clasts with aphyric or blobby textures. Mineralogy of the clasts is dominated by plagioclase and pyroxene, with minor troilite, silica, ilmenite, chromite, and rare Fe‐Ni metal. All of the textures can be produced by rapid cooling rates on the order of 60–2500°C h−1. Bulk compositions of the clasts are demonstrably eucritic, and not chondritic, howarditic, or diogenitic. The combination of mineralogy, composition, and textures strongly suggests that the dark clasts are eucritic impact melts. Several craters on Vesta have associated orange deposits that have been proposed as impact melt breccias. The ALH pairing group may thus represent material that originated near Oppia or Octavia craters.”