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Euhedral metallic-Fe-Ni grains in extraterrestrial samplesMetallic Fe-Ni is rare in terrestrial rocks, being largely restricted to serpentinized peridotites and volcanic rocks that assimilated carbonaceous material. In contrast, metallic Fe-Ni is nearly ubiquitous among extraterrestrial samples (i.e., meteorites, lunar rocks, and interplanetary dust particles). Anhedral grains are common. For example, in eucrites and lunar basalts, most of the metallic Fe-Ni occurs interstitially between silicate grains and thus tends to have irregular morphologies. In many porphyritic chondrules, metallic Fe-Ni and troilite form rounded blebs in the mesostasis because their precursors were immiscible droplets. In metamorphosed ordinary chondrites, metallic Fe-Ni and troilite form coarse anhedral grains. Some of the metallic Fe-Ni and troilite grains has also been mobilized and injected into fractures in adjacent silicate grains where local shock-reheating temperatures reached the Fe-FeS eutectic (988 C). In interplanetary dust particles metallic Fe-Ni most commonly occurs along with sulfide as spheroids and fragments. Euhedral metallic Fe-Ni grains are extremely rare. Several conditions must be met before such grains can form: (1) grain growth must occur at free surfaces, restricting euhedral metallic Fe-Ni grains to systems that are igneous or undergoing vapor-deposition; (2) the metal (+/-) sulfide assemblage must have an appropriate bulk composition so that taenite is the liquidus phase in igneous systems or the stable condensate phase in vapor-deposition systems; and (3) metallic Fe-Ni grains must remain underformed during subsequent compaction, thermal metamorphism, and shock. Because of these restrictions, the occurrence of euhedral metallic Fe-Ni grains in an object can potentially provide important petrogenetic information. Despite its rarity, euhedral metallic Fe-Ni occurs in a wide variety of extraterrestrial materials. Some of these materials formed in the solar nebula; others formed on parent body surfaces by meteoroid impacts.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Rubin, Alan E. (California Univ. Los Angeles, CA, 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 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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