Magnetism of the Acapulco Primitive Achondrite and Implications for the Evolution of Partially Differentiated BodiesOPEN ACCESS 

Elias N. Mansbach, Benjamin P. Weiss, Neesha R. Schnepf, Eduardo A. Lima, Cauê S. Borlina, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Jérôme Gattacceca, Minoru Uehara, Huapei Wang

JGR Planets
First published: 14 December 2023


“Primitive achondrites like the acapulcoites-lodranites (AL) clan are meteorites that formed on bodies in the process of forming a metallic core, providing a unique window into how early solar system processes transformed unmelted material into differentiated bodies. However, the size and structure of the parent body of ALs and other primitive achondrites are largely unknown. Paleomagnetism can establish the presence or absence of a metallic core by looking for evidence of a dynamo field. We conducted a magnetic study of the Acapulco acapulcoite to determine its ferromagnetic minerals and their recording properties. This is the first detailed rock magnetic and first paleomagnetic study of a primitive achondrite group. We determined that metal inclusions inside silicate grains consist of two magnetic minerals, kamacite and tetrataenite, which have robust recording properties. However, the mechanisms and timing by which these minerals acquired any natural remanent magnetization are unknown. Despite this, Acapulco has not been substantially remagnetized since arriving on Earth and therefore should retain a record dating to 4.55 billion years ago. Future studies could characterize this record by using high-resolution magnetometry measurements of individual populations of grains and developing an understanding of how and when they became magnetized. Our discovery of tetrataenite in ALs provides the first mineralogical evidence for slow cooling [<∼5–10 × 103°C per million years (Ma−1)] of the AL parent body at low temperatures (∼320°C). Its presence suggests the AL parent body is unlikely to have been catastrophically disrupted at AL peak temperatures (∼1,200°C) without subsequent reaccretion.”