Forsteritic olivine in EH (enstatite) chondrite meteorites: A record of nebular, metamorphic, and crystal-lattice diffusion effectsOPEN ACCESS 

Seann J. McKibbin, Lutz Hecht, Christina Makarona, Matthew Huber, Hermann Terryn, Philippe Claeys

MAPS, Version of Record online: 20 February 2024


“The occurrence of forsteritic olivine in EH enstatite chondrites is indicative of bulk disequilibrium. In MgO-rich magmatic systems, forsterite can either crystallize as a liquidus phase or be produced during peritectic melting of enstatite. Because diffusion of divalent cations through forsterite is relatively rapid, it records peak melting (i.e., chondrule-forming events) and is also sensitive to subsequent metamorphism in the EH chondrite parent body. Here, we report the major and minor element geochemistry of olivine in EH chondrites across petrologic types 3 and 4. In all cases, olivine meets the technical definition of forsterite (>90 mole% Mg2SiO4). For unequilibrated EH chondrites, minor elements identify CaO-Al2O3-TiO2-rich (refractory forsterite), MnO-rich (“LIME” forsterite), and FeO-bearing (forsteritic olivine) endmember components, the latter with Cr2O3-rich and Cr2O3-poor varieties. At higher petrologic type, minor element concentrations become restricted and compositions approach pure forsterite, while grain sizes reduce strongly with peak metamorphic temperatures. These changes reflect diffusive equilibration with enstatitic groundmass and dissolution reaction with free silica. The global geochemical distribution of forsteritic olivine in EH chondrites is, perhaps unexpectedly, more similar to those in low-FeO type I chondrules and associated objects in carbonaceous chondrites (CCs), rather than equivalent objects in ordinary (H, L, LL), low-FeO (or HH), or Kakangari (K) chondrites. Among achondrites, there is similarity between pure forsterite in aubrites and EH4 chondrites arising due to subsolidus equilibration in both settings, while Cr2O3-poor forsteritic olivine in EH3 and CCs is similar to magnesian xenocrystic olivine in angrites. This might reflect CaO-rich and SiO2-poor magmatic sources across multiple early solar system reservoirs.”