Opaque minerals in the matrix of the Bishunpur (LL3.1) chondrite: Constraints on the chondrule formation environment

Dante S. Lauretta, P R Buseck, Thomas J. Zega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The chemistry and mineralogy of a group of opaque mineral assemblages in the matrix of the Bishunpur LL3.1 ordinary chondrite provide insight into the nebular environment in which they formed. The assemblages consist of a kamacite (Fe,Ni) core that is rimmed by troilite (FeS) and fayalite (Fe2SiO4). Accessory phases in the rims include silica (SiO2), chromite (FeCr2O4), whitlockite (Ca3(PO4)2), maricite (FeNaPO4), magnetite (Fe3O4), and tetrataenite (FeNi). We suggest that the metal melted in and equilibrated with an igneous chondrule under high-temperature, reducing conditions. In this environment the molten alloys incorporated varied amounts of Si, Ni, P, Cr, and Co, depending on the oxygen fugacity and temperature of the melt. Some of the metal was subsequently expelled from the chondrule interiors into the surrounding nebular gas. As the temperature dropped, the alloy solidified and volatile elements corroded the metal. The main reaction products were troilite and fayalite. Thermodynamic equilibrium calculations are used to constrain the conditions under which these two phases can form simultaneously in the solar nebula. Kinetic factors are used to place a lower limit on the formation temperature. We determine that the metal corroded between 1173 and 1261 K at a total pressure in the range of 10-5.0 to 10-4.1 bars and a dust/gas ratio of 302 to 355 x relative to solar composition. These conditions are consistent with our model that the metal corroded in a dust-rich region of the solar nebula that was cooling after a chondrule formation event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1337-1353
Number of pages17
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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