Geochemistry and chronology of the bunburra rockhole ungrouped achondrite

Lev J. Spivak-Birndorf, Audrey Bouvier, Gretchen K. Benedix, Samantha Hammond, Gregory A. Brennecka, Kieren Howard, Nick Rogers, Meenakshi Wadhwa, Philip A. Bland, Pavel Spurný, Martin C. Towner

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2 Scopus citations


Bunburra Rockhole is a unique basaltic achondrite that has many mineralogical and petrographic characteristics in common with the noncumulate eucrites, but differs in its oxygen isotope composition. Here, we report a study of the mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, and chronology of Bunburra Rockhole to better understand the petrogenesis of this meteorite and compare it to the eucrites. The geochemistry of bulk samples and of pyroxene, plagioclase, and Ca-phosphate in Bunburra Rockhole is similar to that of typical noncumulate eucrites. Chronological data for Bunburra Rockhole indicate early formation, followed by slow cooling and perhaps multiple subsequent heating events, which is also similar to some noncumulate eucrites. The <sup>26</sup>Al-<sup>26</sup>Mg extinct radionuclide chronometer was reset in Bunburra Rockhole after the complete decay of <sup>26</sup>Al, but a slight excess in the radiogenic <sup>26</sup>Mg in a bulk sample allows the determination of a model <sup>26</sup>Al-<sup>26</sup>Mg age that suggests formation of the parent melt for this meteorite from its source magma within the first ~3 Ma of the beginning of the solar system. The <sup>207</sup>Pb-<sup>206</sup>Pb absolute chronometer is also disturbed in Bunburra Rockhole minerals, but a whole-rock isochron provides a re-equilibration age of ~4.1 Ga, most likely caused by impact heating. The mineralogy, geochemistry, and chronology of Bunburra Rockhole demonstrate the similarities of this achondrite to the eucrites, and suggest that it formed from a parent melt with a composition similar to that for noncumulate eucrites and subsequently experienced a thermal history and evolution comparable to that of eucritic basalts. This implies the formation of multiple differentiated parent bodies in the early solar system that had nearly identical bulk elemental compositions and petrogenetic histories, but different oxygen isotope compositions inherited from the solar nebula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)958-975
Number of pages18
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Spivak-Birndorf, L. J., Bouvier, A., Benedix, G. K., Hammond, S., Brennecka, G. A., Howard, K., Rogers, N., Wadhwa, M., Bland, P. A., Spurný, P., & Towner, M. C. (2015). Geochemistry and chronology of the bunburra rockhole ungrouped achondrite. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 50(5), 958-975.