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A proposition for the classification of carbonaceous chondritic micrometeoritesClassification of interplanetary dust particles (IDP's) should be unambiguous and, if possible, provide an opportunity to interrelate these ultrafine IDP's with the matrices of undifferentiated meteorites. I prefer a scheme of chemical groupings and petrologic classes that is based on primary IDP properties that can be determined without prejudice by individual investigators. For IDP's of 2-50 microns these properties are bulk elemental chemistry, morphology, shape, and optical properties. The two major chemical groups are readily determined by energy dispersive spectroscopic analysis using the scanning or analytical electron microscope. Refinement of chondritic IDP classification is possible using the dominant mineral species, e.g. olivine, pyroxene, and layer silicates, and is readily inferred from FTIR, and automated chemical analysis. Petrographic analysis of phyllosilicate-rich IDP's will identify smectite-rich and serpentine-rich particles. Chondritic IDP's are also classified according to morphology, viz., CP and CF IDP's are aggregate particles that differ significantly in porosity, while the dense CS IDP's have a smooth surface. The CP IDP's are characterized by an anhydrous silicate mineralogy, but small amounts of layer silicates may be present. Distinction between the CP and CF IDP's is somewhat ambiguous, but the unique CP IDP's are fluffy, or porous, ultrafine-grained aggregates. The CP IDP's, which may contain silicate whiskers, are the most carbon-rich extraterrestrial material presently known. The CF IDP's are much less porous that CP IDP's. Using particle type definitions, CP IDP's in the NASA JSC Cosmic Dust Catalogs are approx. 15 percent of all IDP's that include nonchondritic spheres. Most aggregate particles are of the CF type.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Rietmeijer, Frans J. M. (New Mexico Univ. Albuquerque, NM, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on the Analysis of Interplanetary Dust Particles
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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