Light element geochemistry of the Chelyabinsk meteorite

Pillinger, C. T.; Greenwood, R. C.; Johnson, D.; Gibson, J. M.; Tindle, A. G.; Verchovsky, A. B.; Buikin, A. I.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M. (2013). Light element geochemistry of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Geochemistry International, 51(7) pp. 540–548.



The spectacular arrival of a huge meteorite in central Siberia on February 15th 2013 was the largest event of its kind for more than a hundred years. Oxygen isotope analysis reveals the object involved was an ordinary chondrite of type LL. Petrological examination of the material analysed shows two main lithologies, metamorphic grade 5, were present both having veins of shock produced glass. All three types of material were investigated for carbon, nitrogen and noble gas content and isotopic compositions. The relatively low abundance of carbon and nitrogen indicate that Chelyabinsk is uncontaminated by comparison with other samples in meteorite collections so that indigenous components may be recognized. All the samples studied contained minimal amounts of cosmogenic and primordial noble gases, evidence that the pre-atmospheric size of the object was large, greater than two metres in diameter and that the explosion and break-up was accompanied by catastrophic degassing. The implications for other major meteorite falls and the Tunguska event are discussed.

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