Multi-zone fusion crust formation and classification of the 2004 Auckland meteorite (L6, S5, and W0)OPEN ACCESS 

James M. Scott, Marianne Negrini, Kevin Faure, Marshall C. Palmer, Derek R. Knaack, Matthew I. Leybourne

Version of Record online: 19 February 2023


“On June 12, 2004, a meteorite passed through Earth’s atmosphere and landed under the television in the living room of a house in Auckland, New Zealand. Textural characteristics, the chemistry of olivine (Fa23–24) and orthopyroxene (Fs20.7), and the bulk rock triple oxygen isotopes (δ17O + 3.1; δ18O + 4.2‰) from the interior of the completely unweathered (W0) 1.3 kg meteorite, hereafter referred to as Auckland, suggest it to be a strongly metamorphosed fragment from the interior of a low iron ordinary chondrite (L6) parent asteroid. The occurrence of maskelynite but shock fracturing of olivine and pyroxene indicates Auckland experienced extreme shock metamorphism (S5), likely during Ordovician fragmentation of the asteroid parent. The fusion crust consists of three zones: (1) an innermost zone containing narrow Fe-Ni-S-bearing veins that migrated along pre-existing shock fractures in olivine and pyroxene; (2) a middle zone in which the meteorite partially melted to form a silicate glass and immiscible blebs of metal and troilite, and is accompanied by unmelted silicate minerals; and (3) an approximately 0.1 mm wide vesicular-rich outermost layer that largely melted, volatilizing sulfides, before quenching to form glass and olivine. Oxygen isotope values of the bulk rock and/or maskelynite of melted rim and modified substrate are 2–3‰ greater than the meteorite interior and indicate that up to 19% of terrestrial atmospheric O2 was incorporated into the fusion crust during the formation. The fusion crust migrated inwards as ablation occurred, enabling melting, migration, and re-precipitation ± loss of sulfide and metal components, with the prominent glassy rim therefore forming from an already chemically modified zone.”