Mesosiderite Clasts with the Most Extreme Positive Europium Anomalies Among Solar System Rocks

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Science  21 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5073, pp. 1096-1099
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5073.1096


Pigeonite-plagioclase gabbros that occur as clasts in mesosiderites (brecciated stony-iron meteorites) show extreme fractionations of the rare-earth elements (REEs) with larger positive europium anomalies than any previously known for igneous rocks from the Earth, moon, or meteorite parent bodies and greater depletions of light REEs relative to heavy REEs than known for comparable cumulate gabbros. The REE pattern for merrillite in one of these clasts is depleted in light REEs and has a large positive europium anomaly as a result of metamorphic equilibration with the silicates. The extreme REE ratios exhibited by the mesosiderite clasts demonstrate that multistage igneous processes must have occurred on some asteroids in the early solar system. Melting of the crust by large-scale impacts or electrical induction from an early T-Tauri-phase sun may be responsible for these processes.