The effects of highly reduced magmatism revealed through aubrites

Zoë E. Wilbur, Arya Udry, Francis M. McCubbin, Kathleen E. vander Kaaden, Christopher DeFelice, Karen Ziegler, Daniel Kent Ross, Timothy J. McCoy, Juliane Gross, Jessica J. Barnes, Nick Dygert, Ryan A. Zeigler, Brent D. Turrin, Christopher McCoy

Version of Record online: 14 May 2022,


“Enstatite-rich meteorites, including the aubrites, formed under conditions of very low oxygen fugacity (ƒO2: iron-wüstite buffer −2 to −6) and thus offer the ability to study reduced magmatism present on multiple bodies in our solar system. Elemental partitioning among metals, sulfides, and silicates is poorly constrained at low ƒO2; however, studies of enstatite-rich meteorites may yield empirical evidence of the effects of low ƒO2 on elemental behavior. This work presents comprehensive petrologic and oxygen isotopic studies of 14 aubrites, including four meteorites that have not been previously investigated in detail. The aubrites exhibit a variety of textures and mineralogy, and their elemental zoning patterns point to slow cooling histories for all 14 samples. Oxygen isotope analyses suggest that the aubrite parent bodies may be more heterogeneous than originally reported or may have experienced incomplete magmatic differentiation. Contrary to the other classified aubrites and based on textural and mineralogical observations, we suggest that the Northwest Africa 8396 meteorite shows an affinity for an enstatite chondrite parentage. By measuring major elemental compositions of silicates, sulfides, and metals, we calculate new metal–silicate, sulfide–silicate, and sulfide–metal partition coefficients for aubrites that are applicable to igneous systems at low ƒO2. The geochemical behavior of elements in aubrites, as determined using partition coefficients, is similar to the geochemical behavior of elements determined experimentally for magmatic systems on Mercury. Enstatite-rich meteorites, including aubrites, represent valuable natural petrologic analogues to Mercury and their study could further our understanding of reduced magmatism in our solar system.”