Exposure history and terrestrial ages of ordinary chondrites from the Dar al Gani region, Libya

K. C. Welten, K. Nishiizumi, R. C. Finkel, D. J. Hillegonds, A. J T Jull, L. Franke, L. Schultz

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18 Scopus citations

Abstract

We measured the concentrations of noble gases in 32 ordinary chondrites from the Dar al Gani (DaG) region, Libya, as well as concentrations of the cosmogenic radionuclides 14C, 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, and 41Ca in 18 of these samples. Although the trapped noble gases in five DaG samples show ratios typical of solar or planetary gases, in all other DaG samples, they are dominated by atmospheric contamination, which increases with the degree of weathering. Cosmic ray exposure (CRE) ages of DaG chondrites range from ∼1 Myr to 53 Myr. The CRE age distribution of 10 DaG L chondrites shows a cluster around 40 Myr due to four members of a large L6 chondrite shower. The CRE age distribution of 19 DaG H chondrites shows only three ages coinciding with the main H chondrite peak at ∼7 Myr, while seven ages are <5 Myr. Two of these H chondrites with short CRE ages (DaG 904 and 908) show evidence of a complex exposure history. Five of the H chondrites show evidence of high shielding conditions, including low 22Ne/21Ne ratios and large contributions of neutron-capture 36Cl and 41Ca. These samples represent fragments of two or more large pre-atmospheric objects, which supports the hypothesis that the high H/L chondrite ratio at DaG is due to one or more large unrecognized showers. The 14C concentrations correspond to terrestrial ages <35 kyr, similar to terrestrial ages of chondrites from other regions in the Sahara but younger than two DaG achondrites. Despite the loss of cosmogenic 36Cl and 41Ca during oxidation of metal and troilite, concentrations of 36Cl and 41Ca in the silicates are also consistent with 14C ages <35 kyr. The only exception is DaG 343 (H4), which has a 41Ca terrestrial age of 150 ± 40 kyr. This old age shows that not only iron meteorites and achondrites but also chondrites can survive the hot desert environment for more than 50 kyr. A possible explanation is that older meteorites were covered by soils during wetter periods and were recently exhumed by removal of these soils due to deflation during more arid periods, such as the current one, which started ∼3000 years ago. Finally, based on the 26Al/21Ne and 10Be/21Ne systematics in 16 DaG meteorites, we derived more reliable estimates of the 10Be/21Ne production rate ratio, which seems more sensitive to shielding than was predicted by the semi-empirical model of Graf et al. (1990) but less sensitive than was predicted by the purely physical model of Leya et al. (2000).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-498
Number of pages18
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Volume39
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics

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    Welten, K. C., Nishiizumi, K., Finkel, R. C., Hillegonds, D. J., Jull, A. J. T., Franke, L., & Schultz, L. (2004). Exposure history and terrestrial ages of ordinary chondrites from the Dar al Gani region, Libya. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 39(3), 481-498.