Trace element geochemistry of coarse‐grained angrites from Northwest Africa: Implications for their petrogenesis on the angrite parent body

Matthew E. Sanborn, Meenakshi Wadhwa

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
First Published: 3 March 2021


“The angrites are a class of achondrites that encompass a wide range of igneous textures from quenched, volcanic, and subvolcanic stones to slowly cooled, plutonic rocks. The compositions of the various geochemical reservoirs generating this variety of rocks have not been investigated fully because historically the numbers and masses of angrites available for study have been quite small. However, the rapid increase in meteorites from Northwest Africa (NWA) has enabled a renewed opportunity for such an investigation. In particular, three samples, NWA 2999, 4590, and 4801, have provided a new window into our understanding of the origin and petrogenesis of the coarse‐grained (plutonic) angrites. We report here the trace element abundances in individual mineral grains of pyroxene, plagioclase, olivine/kirschsteinite, and phosphate and in the whole‐rock samples. We utilize these data to constrain the petrogenetic history of each of these samples on the angrite parent body (e.g., parental melt compositions and oxygen fugacity conditions) and assess genetic relationships to previously investigated angrites. The trace element abundances in each of the three coarse‐grained angrites studied here indicate a unique history for each. The observed trace element abundances and patterns in NWA 2999 show similarities with previously studied fine‐grained, volcanic angrites and potentially indicate a common geochemical source reservoir, even though NWA 2999 is temporally distinct from the volcanic angrites. In contrast, NWA 4590 has trace element characteristics analogous to other coarse‐grained angrites (e.g., Lewis Cliff [LEW] 86010), suggesting that these samples originated from geochemically similar source reservoirs. The third angrite, NWA 4801, exhibits geochemical characteristics most similar to the plutonic, coarse‐grained angrites, but also appears to have some affinities in its trace element characteristics to the volcanic, fine‐grained angrites. This suggests that NWA 4801 may represent a petrogenetic link between two distinct geochemical reservoirs on the angrite parent body. In aggregate, the trace element distributions in these three plutonic angrites suggest that while they may have originated up to several million years after the fine‐grained angrites, they sampled a range of source reservoirs on the angrite parent body. Some of these source reservoirs were likely similar to those of the fine‐grained angrites, but others had distinct geochemical characteristics.”