Letter | Published:

Metamorphism of eucrite meteorites studied quantitatively using induced thermoluminescence

Abstract

EUCRITE meteorites1 are especially important in studies of the early Solar System because they are the simplest and most ancient products of a process that was widespread in the inner Solar System2,3: basaltic volcanism. They are also the meteorites for which there is least doubt of an asteroidal origin4,5. After volcanism the eucrites experienced a period of metamorphism6, either inside the asteroid as it cooled from igneous temperatures7 or on the surface of the asteroid as a result of impact heating8. Induced thermoluminescence studies provide a new and quantitative means of determining relative metamorphic intensities for these meteorites. Using this technique, we show that the eucrites constitute a continuous metamorphic series and not, as commonly assumed, two groups of metamorphosed and non-metamorphosed meteorites9. These studies are the first application of the induced thermoluminescence technique to igneous rocks and we suggest that the method may well have application to other basalts.

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