Petrology and geochemistry of chondrules and metal in nwa 5492 and gro 95551: a new type of metal-rich chondrite

Michael K. Weisberg, Denton S. Ebel, Daisuke Nakashima, Noriko T. Kita, Munir Humayun

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
available online 22 July 2015


Northwest Africa (NWA) 5492 and Grosvenor Mountains (GRO) 95551 are metal-rich chondrites having silicate (olivine and pyroxene) compositions that are more reduced than those in other metal-rich chondrites, such as the CH and CB chondrites. Additionally, sulfides in NWA 5492 and GRO 95551 are more abundant and not related to the metal, as in the CB chondrites. Average metal compositions in NWA 5492 and GRO 95551 are close to H chondrite metal. Oxygen isotope ratios of NWA 5492 and GRO 95551 components (chondrules and fragments) show a range of compositions with most having Δ17O values > 0 ‰. Since there is no matrix component, their average chondrule + fragment oxygen isotopic compositions are considered to be representative of whole rock and are sandwiched between the values for enstatite (E) and ordinary (O) chondrites. These data argue for a close relationship between NWA 5492 and GRO 95551 and suggest that they are the first examples of a new type of metal-rich chondrite.

Oxygen isotope ratios of chondrules in NWA 5492 and GRO 95551 show considerable overlap with chondrules in O, E and R chondrites, with average compositions indistinguishable from LL3 chondrules, suggesting considerable mixing between these Solar System materials during chondrule formation and/or that their precursors experienced similar formation environments and/or processes. Another characteristic shared between NWA 5492 and GRO 95551 and O, E and R chondrites is that they are all relatively dry (low abundances of hydrated minerals), compared to many C chondrites and have fewer, smaller CAIs than many C chondrites. (No CAIs were found in NWA 5492 or GRO 95551 but they contain rare Al-rich chondrules.) We suggest that O, E, R and the NWA 5492 and GRO 95551 chondrites are closely related Solar System materials.