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Meteorite Mineralogy

Rubin, Alan E. and Ma, Chi (2020) Meteorite Mineralogy. In: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science. Oxford University Press , New York, NY. ISBN 9780190647926.

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Meteorites are rocks from outer space that reach the Earth; more than 60,000 have been collected. They are derived mainly from asteroids; a few hundred each are from the Moon and Mars; some micrometeorites derive from comets. By mid 2020, about 470 minerals had been identified in meteorites. In addition to having characteristic petrologic and geochemical properties, each meteorite group has a distinctive set of pre-terrestrial minerals that reflect the myriad processes that the meteorites and their components experienced. These processes include condensation in gaseous envelopes around evolved stars, crystallization in chondrule melts, crystallization in metallic cores, parent-body aqueous alteration, and shock metamorphism. Chondrites are the most abundant meteorites; the major components within them include chondrules, refractory inclusions, opaque assemblages, and fine-grained silicate-rich matrix material. The least-metamorphosed chondrites preserve minerals inherited from the solar nebula such as olivine, enstatite, metallic Fe-Ni, and refractory phases. Other minerals in chondrites formed on their parent asteroids during thermal metamorphism (such as chromite, plagioclase and phosphate), aqueous alteration (such as magnetite and phyllosilicates) and shock metamorphism (such as ringwoodite and majorite). Differentiated meteorites contain minerals formed by crystallization from magmas; these phases include olivine, orthopyroxene, Ca-plagioclase, Ca-pyroxene, metallic Fe-Ni and sulfide. Meteorites also contain minerals formed during passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and via terrestrial weathering after reaching the surface. Whereas some minerals form only by a single process (e.g., by high-pressure shock metamorphism or terrestrial weathering of a primary phase), other meteoritic minerals can form by several different processes, including condensation, crystallization from melts, thermal metamorphism, and aqueous alteration.

Item Type:Book Section
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemCambridge eBook
Ma, Chi0000-0002-1828-7033
Additional Information:© 2020 Oxford University Press. A version of this article is expected to appear in the book Meteorite Mineralogy by Alan Rubin and Chi Ma, to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2021.
Subject Keywords:Meteorites, minerals, asteroids, chondrites, chondrules, silicates, sulfides, oxides, mesosiderites, pallasites
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201002-100710919
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Official Citation:Rubin, A., & Ma, C. (2020, September 28). Meteorite Mineralogy. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105753
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:02 Oct 2020 17:34
Last Modified:30 Aug 2022 21:20

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