Shock melt veins of Tenham chondrite as a possible paleomagnetic recorder: Rock magnetism and high-pressure minerals

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Heavily shocked meteorites of shock stages S5 and S6 contain shock-induced melt veins (SMVs). SMVs might have reset the remanence of an asteroidal metamorphism at the time of giant collisions against a chondrite parent body. Here we present micropaleomagnetic and petrologic studies of SMVs in L6S5 Tenham chondrite with ∼500 μm thick black veins enclosing high-pressure minerals such as ringwoodite. Paleomagnetic data show that the high-temperature (HT, 200°C-650°C) and high-coercivity (HC, 20-100 mT) stable components of SMVs formed a cluster even from different portions of SMV, whereas the stable HT component of surrounding host rock showed a scattered orientation under stereonet projection. The host rock HC components form a girdle between the mixing of SMVs and unknown overprints, tracing the magnetic susceptibility foliation. Magnetic force microscopy and backscattered electron images confirmed kamacite and taenite assemblages in iron sulfides as remanence-carrying minerals in SMVs. Hysteresis data of SMVs revealed the presence of single-domain (SD) FeNi metals with Mrs/Ms = ∼0.1 and H rc/Hc = ∼2, although these parameters are only applicable to magnetite. Because the metastable ringwoodite in SMVs transforms back to olivine at 188°C for 1000 Myr (metamorphism) or at 900°C for 1 h (postshock heating), the preservation of ringwoodite suggests that SMVs have not experienced either thermal condition. The magnetic time-temperature relation for SD FeNi metals suggested that 200°C unblocking temperature corresponds to the storage time of 100 years for kamacite and 4500 Myr for taenite at room temperature. The difference of HT components discards the possibility of postshock heating. Therefore, the SMV's remanence is a characteristic shock-induced thermal remanence that has newly been acquired during hypervelocity collision under a cryptic magnetic field.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberQ04Z16
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr


  • Back transformation
  • Blocking diagram
  • Ringwoodite
  • Shock melt veins


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