CM Murchison : nebular formation of fine-grained chondrule rims followed by impact processing on the CM parent body




Hanna, Romy Darlene

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We examine the primitive carbonaceous chondrite, CM Murchison, to infer details concerning its formation and subsequent processing on the CM parent body. We use X-ray computed tomography (XCT) to measure the 3D morphology and spatial relationship of fine-grained rims (FGRs) of Type I chondrules and find that the relationship between FGR volume and interior core radius is well described by a power law function as proposed for FGR accretion in a turbulent nebula by Cuzzi (2004). We also find evidence that the rimmed chondrules were slightly larger than Kolmogorov-stopping-time nebular particles. Evidence against parent body FGR formation includes a positive correlation between rim thickness and chondrule size and no correlation between interior chondrule roughness (used as a proxy for degree of aqueous alteration) and FGR volume. We find that the chondrules are foliated and that the FGRs are compressed in the direction of maximum stress, resulting in rims that are consistently thicker in the plane of foliation. After accretion to the CM parent body, the material within Murchison experienced brittle deformation, porosity loss, and aqueous alteration. XCT reveals that partially altered chondrules define a prominent foliation and weak lineation. The presence of a lineation and evidence for a component of rotational, noncoaxial shear suggest that the deformation was caused by impact. Olivine optical extinction indicates that the sample is classified as shock stage S1 and electron microscopy reveals that plastic deformation was minimal and that brittle deformation was the dominant microstructural strain-accommodating mechanism. Evidence such as serpentine veins parallel to the foliation fabric and crosscutting alteration veins strongly suggest that some aqueous alteration post-dated or was contemporaneous with the deformation and that multiple episodes of fracturing and mineralization occurred. Finally, using the deformed shape of the chondrules we estimate the strain and infer that the original bulk porosity of Murchison before deformation was 32.2 – 53.4%. Our findings suggest that significant porosity loss, deformation, and compaction from impact can occur on chondrite parent bodies whose samples record only a low level of shock, and that significant chondrule deformation can result from brittle processes and does not require plastic deformation of grains.


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