In Situ Argon Isotope Analyses of Chondrule-Forming Materials in the Allende Meteorite: A Preliminary Study for 40Ar/39Ar Dating Based on Cosmogenic 39ArOPEN ACCESS 

Yuko Takeshima, Hironobu Hyodo, Tatsuki Tsujimori, Chitaro Gouzu and Tetsumaru Itaya

Minerals 2023, 13(1), 31; 25 Dec 2022


“The argon isotopic compositions of chondrule-forming minerals of the Allende (CV3) meteorite were examined to evaluate the possibility of in situ 40Ar/39Ar dating of planetary surface rocks based on cosmogenic 39Ar without neutron irradiation in a reactor. The investigated Allende meteorite sample (ME-247H: 50 mm × 45 mm × 5 mm; 28.85 g) contains at least three textural types of chondrules: barred olivine chondrule (BOC), porphyritic olivine chondrule (POC), and unclassified chondrule (UC). Most chondrules contain olivine, low-Ca pyroxene, clinopyroxene, and plagioclase as primary phases, with minor amounts of nepheline and sodalite formed during aqueous alteration of the CV3 parent body of the early solar system. In situ argon isotope analyses on selected chondrule-forming minerals in petrographic sections of two BOCs, two POCs, and one UC using a Nd:YAG pulse laser confirmed a significant amount of cosmogenic 39Ar that formed by a 39K (n, p) 39Ar reaction in an extraterrestrial environment. Laser step-heating analyses of five bulk chondrules irradiated in a reactor revealed a plateau age (3.32 ± 0.06 Ga) from one of the five chondrules. The age spectra of all chondrules show the younger age in the low-temperature fractions, resulting in the integrated ages from 2.7 to 3.2 Ga. These results suggest that the Allende meteorite experienced argon isotopic homogenization at 3.3 Ga and the argon loss in part after the 3.3 Ga. Apparent ages of chondrule-forming minerals that were calculated using the J values of nephelines in one BOC and two POCs do not show any consistent relationship among the three types of chondrules (BOC, POC, and UC). This might be attributed to the fact that the isotopic heterogeneity among minerals took place during the heterogeneous argon loss stage after the 3.3 Ga event. “