The case for the angrite parent body as the archetypal first-generation planetesimal: Large, reduced and Mg-enriched

François L.H. Tissot, Max Collinet, Olivier Namur, Timothy L. Grove

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 7 October 2022


“Angrites are silica-undersaturated achondrites formed very early in the history of the Solar System, and the most volatile-depleted known meteorites. As such, the study of angrites can provide critical insights into the early stages of planetary formation, melting and differentiation. Yet, understanding the origins of angrites and the nature of their parent body has long been hindered by the initially small number of specimens available. Here, we leverage (i) the rapidly growing number of known angrites, and (ii) equilibrium crystallization experiments at various pressure, temperature and oxygen fugacity conditions (P-T-fO2), to revisit the petrogenesis of angrites and constrain key features of the angrite parent body (APB), such as its composition and size.

We observe that quenched (i.e., volcanic) angrites define two compositional groups, which we show are readily related by fractional crystallization. This crystallization trend converges on an olivine-clinopyroxene-plagioclase (Ol + Cpx + Plag) multiple saturation boundary, whose composition is sampled by D’Orbigny, Sahara 99555 and NWA 1296. Using the observation that some quenched specimens represent primitive angritic melts, we derive a self-consistent bulk composition for the APB. We find that this composition matches the proposed Mg/Si ratio of 1.3 derived from the angrite δ30Si values, and yields a core size (18 ± 6 wt%) in agreement with the siderophile elements depletion in the APB mantle. Our results support a primary control of nebular fractionation (i.e., partial condensation) on the composition of the APB. To establish the liquid phase equilibria of angrites, a series of 1 atmosphere and high-pressure crystallization experiments (piston cylinder and internally heated pressure vessel) was performed on a synthetic powder of D’Orbigny. The results suggest that the APB was a large (possibly Moon-sized) body, formed from materials condensed at relatively high-temperature (∼1300-1400 K), and whose fO2 changed from mildly reducing (∼IW-1.5) to relatively oxidizing (∼IW+1±1) in the ∼3 Myr between its core formation and the crystallization of D’Orbigny-like (Group 2) angrites. Based on its timing of accretion and differentiation, its composition, redox, and size, we argue that the APB represents the archetype of the first-generation of refractory-enriched planetesimals and embryos formed in the innermost part of the inner Solar System (<1 AU), and which accreted in the telluric planets.”