Paleomagnetism of a primitive achondrite parent body: The acapulcoite-lodranites

Friday, 19 December 2014
Neesha R Schnepf1, Benjamin P Weiss2, Eduardo Andrade Lima3, Roger R Fu4, Minoru Uehara5, Jerome Gattacceca5, Huapei Wang4 and Clement R Suavet4, (1)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)MIT, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)MIT-Earth & Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (5)CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence Cedex, France
Primitive achondrites are a recently recognized meteorite grouping with textures and compositions intermediate between unmelted meteorites (chondrites) and igneous meteorites (achondrites). Their existence demonstrates prima facie that some planetesimals only experienced partial rather than complete melting. We present the first paleomagnetic measurements of acapulcoite-lodranite meteorites to determine the existence and intensity of ancient magnetic fields on their parent body. Our paleomagnetic study tests the hypothesis that their parent body had an advecting metallic core, with the goal of providing one of the first geophysical constraints on its large-scale structure and the extent of interior differentiation. In particular, by analyzing samples whose petrologic textures require an origin on a partially differentiated body, we will be able to critically test a recent proposal that some achondrites and chondrite groups could have originated on a single body (Weiss and Elkins-Tanton 2013).

We analyzed samples of the meteorites Acapulco and Lodran. Like other acapulcoites and lodranites, these meteorites are granular rocks containing large (~0.1-0.3 mm) kamacite and taenite grains along with similarly sized silicate crystals. Many silicate grains contain numerous fine (1-10 μm) FeNi metal inclusions. Our compositional measurements and rock magnetic data suggest that tetrataenite is rare or absent. Bulk paleomagnetic measurements were done on four mutually oriented bulk samples of Acapulco and one bulk sample of Lodran. Alternating field (AF) demagnetization revealed that the magnetization of the bulk samples is highly unstable, likely due to the large (~0.1-0.3 mm) interstitial kamacite grains throughout the samples. To overcome this challenge, we are analyzing individual ~0.2 mm mutually oriented silicate grains extracted using a wire saw micromill. Preliminary SQUID microscopy measurements of a Lodran silicate grain suggest magnetization stable to AF levels of at least 25-40 mT.