Mineralogy of interplanetary dust particles from the "olivine" infrared class

Roy Christoffersen, P R Buseck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Analytical electron microscopy observations establish that olivine is abundant and the predominant silicate phase in three interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) from the "olivine" infrared spectral category. Two of the particles have microstructures resembling those of most non-hydrous chondritic IDPs, consisting of micron to sub-micron grains together with a matrix composed of amorphous carbonaceous material and sub-500 Å grains. In addition to olivine these particles respectively contain enstatite and magnetite, and pentlandite plus Ca-rich clinopyroxene. The third IDP consists mostly of olivine and pyrrhotite with little or no matrix material. Olivine grains in this particle contain prominent solar-flare ion tracks with densities corresponding to a space-exposure age between 103 to 105 years. Although the three particles have olivine-rich mineralogies in common, other aspects of their mineralogies and microstructures suggest that they experienced different formation histories. The differences between the particles indicate that the olivine infrared spectral category is a diverse collection of IDPs that probably incorporates several genetic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-66
Number of pages14
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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