Coincidental Compositional and Orbital Correspondences Among Some Ordinary Chondrites: No Strong Evidence for Meteoroid Streams


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Abstract

Previous attempts to assign ordinary chondrites (OC) to meteoroid streams have been unsuccessful because the orbits of the proposed members had different radiants and, in some cases, the meteorites had significantly different cosmic-ray exposure (CRE) ages. Using more conservative criteria, we have identified four pairs of equilibrated OC (L6 Nejo, Salem; L6 Perpeti, Vouillé; L6 Drake Creek, Forsyth; H5 Okabe, Kerilis) wherein each member of the pair could conceivably have been derived from the same immediate precursor body (IPB). The members of each pair are of the same chondrite group and petrologic type; they have similar CRE ages and fell within 1 calendar day of each other (in different years). Because there is a moderate range in oxidation state (represented by mean olivine Fa) among equilibrated OC in each group, similarities in this intrinsic geochemical property between the members of two of the proposed pairs offer some support for the hypothesis that these rocks were derived from the same IPB. If the pairs are genuine, their precursor bodies were probably meter-size near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) with aphelia within or beyond the Main Asteroid Belt. Fragmentation of such NEAs is most likely to have occurred near aphelia; in principle, the ejecta could have spread somewhat along the NEAs' orbits and collided with Earth on approximately the same calendar date but in different years. However, literature data show that, although ∼670 meteorites with masses ≥10 kg reach the Earth's surface each year, only five or six falls (typically in this mass range) are observed and recovered. This suggests that the chances of recovering more than one meteorite from a disrupted meter-size body in Earth-crossing orbit are small. It thus seems likely that the similar properties of the proposed OC pairs are due to coincidence.

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