Metal‐rich nodules in anomalous EL3 chondrite Northwest Africa (NWA) 8785

Margrit A. Rindlisbacher, Michael K. Weisberg, Denton S. Ebel, Samuel P. Alpert

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Version of Record online: 13 May 2021


“NWA 8785 is a remarkable, recently identified, unequilibrated enstatite chondrite. It was classified as an EL3 but contains highly unusual characteristics not observed in any other EL3, including a high abundance of FeO‐rich matrix and metal‐rich nodules that are texturally and mineralogically different from those in other EL3s. We characterized the mineral assemblages and compositions of metal‐rich nodules in a thin section of NWA 8785 and compared them to nodules in other EL3s to evaluate models for formation of metal‐rich nodules in EL3s. Of a total of 40 metal‐rich nodules, 10 were selected for detailed study. These metal‐rich nodules vary in their physical structure, texture, and mineral assemblages. Some contain the rare Al‐poor, alkali‐rich silicate mineral roedderite, a first discovery in an EL3, as well as the Cl‐bearing sulfide djerfisherite. The diversity of metal‐rich nodules in NWA 8785 suggests each nodule formed independently and supports their origin by primary processes prior to accretion. The high abundance of FeO‐rich matrix and the unique qualities of its metal‐rich nodules call into question classification of NWA 8785 as an EL3, but the Si content in its kamacite and Cr and Ti content in its troilite, and the presence of alabandite, support its classification as an EL3; thus, it is an EL3‐anomalous. Although alternative hypotheses exist, the presence of roedderite, as well as a magnetite‐rich matrix and sodalite, may provide the first evidence of extensive metasomatic alteration on the EL3 parent body.”