Pallasite meteorites-mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry

P R Buseck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Pallasites are highly differentiated meteorites and provide a unique sample from the deep interiors of solar system parent bodies. They contain evidence of the former existence of one or more residual melts. Olivine is a major phase. Its primary shape is rounded; the angular crystals in many pallasites are secondary. Tubular inclusions are widespread. They perhaps are the residence of CO2, released during laboratory heating experiments. Phosphoran olivine, a new variety of olivine containing 4-5 wt% P2O5, occurs in a few pallasites. Its Fe/Mg ratio is apparently independent of the host olivine composition. Pyroxene (not previously described from pallasites) occurs in symplectic intergrowths in seven meteorites. Compositionally, it lies in the gap between pyroxenes in chondrites and most irons. There are two groups: Fs11.6 ± 0.2 and Fs16.7 ± 0.2 The pyroxene contains exceptionally low Ca (< 0.1-0.2 wt%) and there is an indication of an inverse relation between Fe and Ca. Modal analyses and density measurements were made on all available specimens and bulk compositions were calculated. The 'average' pallasite contains 65 vol. % olivine and 50.5 wt % total Fe. Many of the densities of pallasites cluster around that calculated for close-packed olivine. Pallasites are exotic cumulates. Their textures resemble terrestrial cumulates, as does the presence of olivine and chromite. The metal texture resembles a solidified intercumulus liquid. Those pallasites containing olivine in excess of close-packing were subjected to adcumulus growth, thereby also explaining the widespread mutual borders. There is abundant evidence of deformation. For olivines this includes their fragmental shape and kink banding. Troilite formed a eutectic-like melt with kamacite: pieces of spalled olivine and schreibersite were injected into and captured by this melt. Troilite polycrystallinity resulted from the deformation. This deformation occurred while the pallasites were still deeply buried, resulting in incipient spheroidization of olivine fragments, including the formation of elongate, rounded crystals. A later, lower temperature deformation disrupted plessite. Pallasites formed in multiple parent bodies by processes that recurred in several places within the solar system, as shown by the mineralogical and textural similarities between pallasites that differ in their isotopic and trace element compositions. Type IIIB irons still seem the most likely associated meteorites. Two new pallasites, Dora and Rawlinna, are described briefly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-721,723-740
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Pallasite meteorites-mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this