Magmatic sulfides in the porphyritic chondrules of EH enstatite chondritesOPEN ACCESS 

Laurette Piani, Yves Marrocchi, Guy Libourel, Laurent Tissandier

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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 22 September 2016


“The nature and distribution of sulfides within 17 porphyritic chondrules of the Sahara 97096 EH3 enstatite chondrite have been studied by backscattered electron microscopy and electron microprobe in order to investigate the role of gas-melt interactions in the chondrule sulfide formation.

Troilite (FeS) is systematically present and is the most abundant sulfide within the EH3 chondrite chondrules. It is found either poikilitically enclosed in low-Ca pyroxenes or scattered within the glassy mesostasis. Oldhamite (CaS) and niningerite [(Mg,Fe,Mn)S] are present in ≈ 60% of the chondrules studied. While oldhamite is preferentially present in the mesostasis, niningerite associated with silica is generally observed in contact with troilite and low-Ca pyroxene. The Sahara 97096 chondrule mesostases contain high abundances of alkali and volatile elements (average Na2O = 8.7 wt.%, K2O = 0.8 wt.%, Cl = 7000 ppm and S = 3700 ppm) as well as silica (average SiO2 = 63.1 wt.%).

Our data suggest that most of the sulfides found in EH3 chondrite chondrules are magmatic minerals that formed after the dissolution of S from a volatile-rich gaseous environment into the molten chondrules. Troilite formation occurred via sulfur solubility within Fe-poor chondrule melts followed by sulfide saturation, which causes an immiscible iron sulfide liquid to separate from the silicate melt. The FeS saturation started at the same time as or prior to the crystallization of low-Ca pyroxene during the high temperature chondrule forming event(s). Protracted gas-melt interactions under high partial pressures of S and SiO led to the formation of niningerite-silica associations via destabilization of the previously formed FeS and low-Ca pyroxene. We also propose that formation of the oldhamite occurred via the sulfide saturation of Fe-poor chondrule melts at moderate S concentration due to the high degree of polymerization and the high Na-content of the chondrule melts, which allowed the activity of CaO in the melt to be enhanced. Gas-melt interactions thus appear to be a key process that may control the mineralogy of chondrules in the different classes of chondrite.”