Cooling rates and impact histories of group IAB and other IAB complex iron meteorites inferred from zoned taenite and the cloudy zone

Joseph I. Goldstein, Edward R. D. Scott, Timothy B. Winfield, Jijin Yang

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Version of Record online: 18 October 2021


“Metallographic cooling rates of 10–20 K Myr−1 were obtained for four IAB iron meteorites from electron probe analyses of taenite and models simulating kamacite growth. Cooling rates were also determined for 21 irons in the IAB complex from the size of tetrataenite particles in the cloudy zone and a calibration curve using data for the four IAB irons and five other iron and stony iron groups. We find that the closely related IAB main group, low-Au subgroups, Pitts grouplet irons, and San Cristobal cooled through 500 °C at 10–35 K Myr−1. The ungrouped IAB complex irons, Santa Catharina and Twin City, have bulk Ni contents of ~30 wt% and cooled much faster at ~200–1000 K Myr−1, most probably in a different parent body. Our cooling rates and observations allow conflicting interpretations of the nature of the low-Ni phase in the cloudy zone to be reconciled. We infer that in fast cooled irons like Santa Catharina, the low-Ni phase transforms to antitaenite, but in very slowly cooled meteorites like mesosiderites, martensite forms instead. In meteorites with intermediate cooling rates like IAB irons, the bulk of the cloudy zone probably contains antitaenite as the low-Ni phase, but in the coarse region next to tetrataenite, martensite is present. Published isotopic ages show that metal–silicate mixing in group IAB irons occurred ~5–10 Myr after CAI formation, but the nature and timing of the impact are poorly constrained at present. Ar-Ar ages testify to shock reheating of plagioclase during cooling over ~100 Myr. However, the cloudy zone is well preserved showing that metal was not heated significantly by shocks after slow cooling through 400 °C.”