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Chondrites, S asteroids, and space weathering: Thumping noises from the coffin?Most of the spectral characteristics of ordinary chondrites and S-asteroids in the visible and infrared can be reduced to three numerical values. These values represent the depth of the absorption band resulting from octahedrally coordinated Fe(sup 2+), the reflectance at 0.56 microns and the slope of the continuum (as measured according to convention). By plotting these three characteristics, it is possible to immediately compare the spectral characteristics of large numbers of ordinary chondrites and S-asteroids. Commonality of spectral characteristics between these populations can thus be evaluated on the basis of overlap in position on three two-coordinate systems: albedo vs. band depth, band depth vs. slope, and slope vs. albedo. In order to establish identity, members of the two populations must overlap on all three of these independent parameter spaces. In this coordinate system, spectra of 23 ordinary chondrites (representing all metamorphic grades), and 39 S-asteroids were compared. It was found that there was no overlap between the two populations in terms of the slope vs. band depth parameters, nor were most chondrites identical to the S-asteroids with respect to the other criteria. However, the controversial question remains: Where are the parent bodies of the chondrites? Perhaps an even more critical question is: Where are our samples of the S-asteroids? Considering the geography of the asteroid belt and the theory that early solar-system electromagnetic induction heating differentiated protoasteroids in the inner portion of the main belt, it was suggested that although S-asteroids and ordinary chondrites have very similar mineralogy, the S-asteroids are mixtures of metallic nickel iron and silicates which resulted from magmatism induced by electromagnetic heating whereas chondrites were only slightly metamorphosed nebular condensates. In this scenario chondrites would have been derived from a population of bodies with thermal lag times so short that they were not subjected to melting during the phase of the electromagnetic induction heating event but only to various degrees of pervasive metamorphism. Furthermore, these objects would then have been too small to be observed and systematically included in the library of asteroidal spectra. It was also suggested that the parametric distribution of S-asteroid spectra could be reproduced by mixing various proportions of NiFe meteorite and achondritic materials. This has also been demonstrated in the laboratory.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Fanale, F. P. (Hawaii Univ. Manoa, HI, United States)
Clark, B. E. (Hawaii Univ. Manoa, HI, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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