Enstatite Chondrites

Our group is interested in the study of the enstatite chondrites, a rare class of meteorites which formed under very reducing conditions and which are primarily composed of a magnesium silicate known as enstatite. These meteorites can be divided into two classes, the EH and EL chondrites, where E stands for enstatite and H and L stand for high and low iron content, respectively. They also display a range of metamorphism, and differences in the highly metamorphosed members of the two classes indicate that they underwent different thermal histories following peak metamorphism.

We have studied the composition of the enstatite chondrites using techniques such as instrumental neutron activation analysis and electron microprobe analysis. We also use techniques such as thermoluminescence and cathodoluminescence in the study of their thermal histories. The cathodoluminescence properties of the metamorphosed enstatite chondrites are very different for the two classes (see mosaics, below), and we have proposed that this is due to the structural state of the enstatite within these meteorites, which in turn reflects major differences in thermal history.



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