We have carried out a sample-correlated spectroscopic and mineralogical investigation of samples from seven different collection sites of the Tagish Lake C2 chondrite. Rietveld refinement of high-resolution powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) data was used to determine quantitative major mineral abundances. Thermal infrared (400-4500 cm-1, 2.2-25.0 μm) spectra of the same samples were obtained using diffuse (biconical) reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS). Our results are in good agreement with previous studies of the mineralogy of the Tagish Lake meteorite; we find however that Tagish Lake is more varied in major mineralogy than has previously been reported. In particular, we observed two new distinct lithologies, an inclusion-poor magnetite- and sulfide-rich lithology, and a carbonate-rich, siderite-dominated lithology in addition to the previously documented carbonate-rich and carbonate-poor lithologies. Grain density for each Tagish Lake sample was calculated from the measured mineral modal abundances and known mineral densities. For powders from three originally intact inclusion-rich samples, the calculated grain density is 2.77 ± 0.05 g cm-3, in excellent agreement with those reported in the literature for other intact inclusion-rich Tagish Lake samples. Tagish Lake disaggregated samples have a significantly higher calculated grain density due to their lower saponite-serpentine content, likely a result of mineral separation in the meltwater holes from which they were collected; the disaggregated samples may not therefore adequately represent bulk samples of the Tagish Lake meteorite. The predominance of very fine-grained material in the Tagish Lake samples investigated in this study is expected to produce infrared spectra representative of asteroidal regolith. Gypsum and talc have been found by XRD in powders from the inclusion-rich, intact Tagish Lake samples in this study, and may have been present in the parent body; if present, these hydrous sulfates would complicate the interpretation of possible hydrated mineral features in asteroid infrared spectra.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science