The Gao-Guenie H5 chondrite that fell on Burkina Faso (March 1960) has portions that were impact-melted on an H chondrite asteroid at ~300 Ma and, through later impact events in space, sent into an Earth-crossing orbit. This article presents a petrographic and electron microprobe analysis of a representative sample of the Gao-Guenie impact melt breccia consisting of a chondritic clast domain, quenched melt in contact with chondritic clasts, and an igneous-textured impact melt domain. Olivine is predominantly Fo80–82. The clast domain contains low-Ca pyroxene. Impact melt-grown pyroxene is commonly zoned from low-Ca pyroxene in cores to pigeonite and augite in rims. Metal–troilite orbs in the impact melt domain measure up to ~2 mm across. The cores of metal orbs in the impact melt domain contain ~7.9 wt% of Ni and are typically surrounded by taenite and Ni-rich troilite. The metallography of metal–troilite droplets suggest a stage I cooling rate of order 10 °C s−1 for the superheated impact melt. The subsolidus stage II cooling rate for the impact melt breccia could not be determined directly, but was presumably fast. An analogy between the Ni rim gradients in metal of the Gao-Guenie impact melt breccia and the impact-melted H6 chondrite Orvinio suggests similar cooling rates, probably on the order of ~5000–40,000 °C yr−1. A simple model of conductive heat transfer shows that the Gao-Guenie impact melt breccia may have formed in a melt injection dike ~0.5–5 m in width, generated during a sizeable impact event on the H chondrite parent asteroid.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science