Feldspar in type 4–6 ordinary chondrites: Metamorphic processing on the H and LL chondrite parent bodies


Corresponding author. E-mail: rjones@unm.edu


Abstract– We have carried out a study of feldspar compositions in a suite of H and LL ordinary chondrites, of petrologic types 4, 5, and 6, in order to examine the process of recrystallization and equilibration of feldspar as the degree of metamorphism increases. In the H chondrites, there is little variation in feldspar compositions among the petrologic types, suggesting that homogenization of chondrule mesostasis, from which feldspar is presumed to have crystallized, occurred before feldspar crystallization began. The LL chondrites we studied are more complex. In Bjurböle (L/LL4), plagioclase in individual relict chondrules has distinct compositions, with a range of An/Ab ratios and low Or contents. This heterogeneity is most likely attributable to original compositional heterogeneity among chondrule mesostases: localized recrystallization of mesostasis must have occurred before diffusional equilibration took place. In Tuxtuac (LL5), the An/Ab ratio of plagioclase is more homogeneous, and plagioclase includes a significant Or component. In addition, we observe what appears to be exsolution of K-feldspar from albitic host grains. In Saint Séverin (LL6), the An/Ab ratio of plagioclase is homogeneous, but plagioclase compositions show a range of Or contents, corresponding to a patchy distribution of K in individual feldspar grains. The observations in these LL chondrites are difficult to interpret with a simple model of progressive equilibration with increasing petrologic type. We suggest that the current criteria for assigning petrologic types are poorly defined: it is possible that the assigned petrologic types of these chondrites do not correlate with their peak temperatures. We propose that feldspar compositions might record conditions during the heating stage of metamorphism, and that the early stages of metamorphism may have occurred in the presence of fluids, rather than under the dry conditions that are commonly assumed.