Multi-technique investigation reveals new mineral, chemical, and textural heterogeneity in the Tagish Lake C2 chondrite

M. R.M. Izawa, R. L. Flemming, P. J.A. McCausland, G. Southam, D. E. Moser, I. R. Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The Tagish Lake meteorite, an ungrouped C2 chondrite that is related to CI and CM chondrites, is a heterogeneous accretionary breccia with several distinct lithologies that, in bulk, are thought to represent the first known sample of a primitive carbonaceous D-type asteroid. Textural and chemical zoning of clasts and matrix have been little studied and promise additional insight into early solar system processes in both the solar nebula and on the Tagish Lake parent asteroid. We have examined an intact 2.9 g fragment and two polished thin sections from the spring 2000 (non-pristine) Tagish Lake collection to ascertain the major mineralogy and textures of notable features such as chondrules, amoeboid olivine aggregates (AOAs), inclusions, clasts, matrix, and fusion crust. We designed three stages of analysis for this friable meteorite: an initial, non-destructive in situ reconnaissance by μXRD to document meteorite mineralogy and textures and to identify features of interest, followed by spatially correlated μXRD, SEM-EDX and colour SEM-CL analysis of polished thin sections to fully understand mineralogy and the record of texture development, and finally higher resolution SEM-BSE mapping to document smaller scale relationships. Our analyses reveal several previously unreported or poorly characterized features: (1) distinctive colour cathodoluminescence (CL) zoning in relict CAI spinel, in chondrule and AOA forsterite, and in calcite nodules occurring throughout the Tagish Lake matrix. Forsterite frequently shows CL colour and intensity zonation that does not correspond with major or minor element differences resolvable with EPMA, indicating a trace element and/or structural CL-activation mechanism for the zonation that is likely of secondary origin; (2) an irregular inclusion dominated by magnesioaluminate spinel, dolomite, and phyllosilicates with traces of a Ca, Ti oxide phase (likely perovskite) interpreted to be a relict CAI; (3) variable preservation of mesostasis glass in porphyritic olivine chondrules. We anticipate that our multi-technique methodology, particularly non-destructive μXRD, can be successfully applied to other rare and friable materials such as the pristine Tagish Lake fragments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1364
Number of pages18
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • CAI
  • Carbonaceous chondrite
  • Carbonate
  • Cathodoluminescence
  • Chondrules
  • Magnetite
  • Micro-XRD
  • Olivine
  • Parent body alteration
  • Sulfide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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