Pallasite, Eagle Station group
(possibly CV-, CK-, or CO-related)

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"The Butterfly"

Found 1880
38° 37' N., 84° 58' W.

A 36.5 kg mass was found about 0.75 miles from Eagle Station, Carroll County, Kentucky. Eagle Station has the highest fayalite and Ni contents of all other pallasites, while Cold Bay and Itzawisis have nearly the same levels as Eagle Station. In 2010 the Karavannoe pallasite was recognized as the the fourth member of this pallasite grouplet (Korochantsev et al., 2013), and in 2012 the fifth member named Oued Bourdim 001 was found—the grouplet has become a group.

In consideration of these and other anomalous elemental ratios (e.g., high Ge/Ga, high Ni, and high Ir) as well as unique O-isotopic ratios, these pallasites define a group distinct from the pallasites of the main-group, the pyroxene-bearing pallasites (e.g., NWA 1911, Los Vientos 263), and the few known ungrouped/unique pallasites (e.g., Milton, Hassi el Biod). It is noteworthy that Milton plots proximate to the O-isotopic trend line (CCAM slope) of the CV and CK meteorites and the Eagle Station pallasites (Korochantsev et al., 2013) (see diagram below). It is also interesting that the 'Vermillion pallasite duo' of pyroxene pallasites comprising Vermillion and Y-8451, the pure olivine pallasite Hassi el Biod 002, and the iron-rich/pallasitic lodranite Choteau all plot within the broad field of the acapulcoite–lodranite clan on an oxygen three-isotope diagram (see plot 1 and 2).

Oxygen Isotope Composition of Ungrouped Pallasites
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Diagram adapted from Gregory et al., 47th LPSC, #2393 (2016)

Two very closely related silicated irons, Bocaiuva and NWA 176, also share many compositional similarities with the Eagle Station pallasites and probably originated from similar chondritic material in the same region of the protoplanetary disk. Calculations indicate that the oxidized CV chondrite parent body and the Eagle Station pallasites have similar parental metallic melt compositions (Humayun and Weiss, 2011). Precise O-isotopic compositions for Eagle Station and Itzawisis (Δ17O = –5.22 [±0.05] ‰), along with bulk metal Ni-isotopic compositions and siderophile element abundances, were used to support a genetic relationship among the Eagle Station pallasites, the Northwest Africa 176 silicated iron, and the CV and CK chondrites (Ali et al., 2013, 2014).

An O-isotopic analysis of various chondrule types in Allende was conducted by Ali et al. (2020) who then compared the results to the oxygen isotope values previously determined for the Eagle Station Group pallasites and to the ungrouped achondrites closely related to the CV group. They ascertained that the slopes for each of these groups when considered independently have very slight differences, although a broader scope would suggest they are at least related through their precursor material which was derived from a common reservoir (see diagram below).

O-isotopes for ES Pallasites, CV3 Chondrules, and Ungrouped Achondrites
Red-dotted line: Allende bulk chondrules (slope = 0.86)
Red-dashed line: Eagle Station Group (slope = 0.76
Gray-dashed line: ESUA trend line (slope = 0.91–0.92)

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Diagram credit: Ali et al., 51st LPSC, #1815 (2020)

Ali and Jabeen (2021) subsequently performed a broader study utilizing a combined O–Cr–Mo isotopic data set for CV3 Allende chondrules, Eagle Station pallasites, and several potentially related ungrouped achondrites (NWA 3133 [CV7], NWA 7822, NWA 8186, NWA 10503/10859, NWA 12264) and ungrouped irons (Bocaiuva, Deep Springs, Mbosi, NWA 176, Tucson). All of these meteorites plot broadly along the Young and Russell (Y&R slope = 1.00) and primitive chondrules mineral (PCM slope = 0.99) lines, which are considered to represent the most primitive nebular material. Their analyses further demonstrate that both differentiated and undifferentiated meteorites could at one time have represented various components—core, core–mantle boundary, mantle, and crust—of a common planetesimal (see diagram below).

O-isotopes for ES Pallasites, CV3 Chondrules, Ungrouped Achondrites, and Ungrouped Irons
Dotted line: Allende bulk chondrules (ABC slope = 0.86)
Dashed line: ESP, ung. achondrites, ung. irons (ESPAI slope = 0.99)
Long-dashed line: Eagle Station pallasites (ESP slope = 0.76)
Y&R and PCM lines not shown below, but see Fig. 2 of article

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Diagram credit: Ali and Jabeen, MAPS, vol. 56, #2, p. 397 (2021)
'Evaluating the O-Cr-Mo isotope signatures in various meteorites representing core–mantle–crust fragments:
Implications for partially differentiated planetesimal(s) accreted in the early outer solar system'

It was determined by Papanastassiou and Chen (2011) that the 54Cr isotopic compositions among the chromite and olivine phases in Eagle Station are different from those of CV chondrites, and consequently these differences in ε54Cr must also exist between the Eagle Station pallasite and carbonaceous chondrite precursor material. Despite the established O-isotopic similarities, this ε54Cr heterogeneity across the two groups calls into question the existence of a genetic relationship between them. In an effort to better resolve potential genetic relationships that might exist, a Cr-isotopic analysis of olivine from the Milton pallasite was conducted by Sanborn et al. (2018). Sanborn and Yin (2019) demonstrated on a coupled ε54Cr–Δ17O diagram that Milton plots among the CV clan with the achondrites NWA 7822 and NWA 10503, and it is plausible that they share a genetic relationship. Furthermore, they also demonstrated that Eagle Station plots closer to the CK (or CO) chondrite group along with the achondrite NWA 8186. It could be inferred that both the CV and CK planetesimals experienced a similar petrogenetic history in a similar isotopic reservoir of the early Solar System (see diagram below).

ε54Cr vs. Δ17O for Carbonaceous Achondrites
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Diagram credit: Sanborn and Yin, 50th LPSC, #1498 (2019)

In a subsequent isotopic analysis of Eagle Station, Dey et al. (2019) obtained a Δ17O value of –4.93 ‰, which is more consistent with that of the CK chondrites. They used newly obtained Δ17O and ε54Cr values for several irons, a pallasite, and their associated silicates/oxides to investigate (i) if each iron/pallasite and the associated phases originated on a common parent body (i.e., an endogenous mixture of core and mantle versus an exogenous mixture through impact), and (ii) if any genetic connection exists between the irons/pallasite and other meteorite groups (e.g., IAB with winonaites, IIE with H chondrites, and Eagle Station pallasites with CK chondrites). It was demonstrated on a coupled ε54Cr–Δ17O diagram (UCD in top diagram below) that the ε54Cr values for both the silicates and the oxide phase (chromite) in Eagle Station are identical, which is indicative of an origin from a common reservoir and is less consistent with an impact origin. In a similar comparative analysis performed for the Imilac and Vermillion pallasites and two additional Eagle Station pallasite members, Cold Bay and Itzawisis, the same result was found indicating an endogenous mixing process for each (see bottom diagram below). Other results from their study can be found on the Caddo County and Miles pages.

ε54Cr vs. Δ17O for Irons and Pallasites
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Diagram credit: Dey et al., 50th LPSC, #2977 (2019)

Oxygen and Chromium Isotope Systematics for Pallasites
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Diagram credit: Dey and Yin, 53rd LPSC, #2428 (2022)

A petrographical, mineralogical, and geochemical study of the Eagle Station group member Karavannoe was conducted by Teplyakova et al. (2022). They concluded that the Eagle Station pallasites were formed as a result of a severe impact that excavated a significant portion of the mantle leaving a huge crater. This major impact created large fractures that penetrated into the molten core allowing metallic liquid to fill the fracture space. Inward cooling of the molten metal within the fracture led to sequential fractionation with increasing depth as illustrated in the schematic below. Compositionally homogeneous mantle olivine located adjacent to the fracture wall was incorporated into the metal liquid to form a pallasitic texture upon cooling. Subsequent impacts led to some remelting and mixing, either on the original disaggregated body or possibly on one or more daughter bodies. They also demonstrated that the Eagle Station pallasites have trace element ratios in metal that are consistent with those of magmatic irons, and specifically with IIF irons, as well as having metal Fe/Ni vs. W/Ni trends that are consistent with CV chondrite-like metal (see element ratio charts from Teplyakova et al., 2022). A fractional crystallization origin for the Eagle Station pallasites on a CV or CO chondrite-like parent body is supported by their data and modeling results.

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Schematic illustration credit: Teplyakova et al., MAPS, vol. 57, #6, pp. 1158–1173 (2022)
'Karavannoe: Mineralogy, trace element geochemistry, and origin of Eagle Station group pallasites'

Dispersed throughout the metal matrix of Eagle Station are angular, highly fragmented, cm-sized olivine crystals intermixed with sharp, irregular, sub-mm-sized olivine splinters. A multi-stage formation history has been proposed in which an initial impact generated enough heat to form a melt. After 20% fractional crystallization of this melt, both silicates and solid metal precipitated from the parental melt and accumulated, representing the material that would become the Eagle Station pallasites. A subsequent impact shattered the olivine and mobilized the metal, which flowed into existing cracks. Thereafter, deformational events produced shock forces which incorporated angular shards of olivine, schreibersite, and chromite into melted troilite. Rounding of olivine crystals, once considered to be due to thermodynamic processes that minimize the capillary forces along the olivine–metal interface (Saiki et al., 2003), is now thought to occur primarily from resorption at high temperatures (above ~1250°C) in the presence of silicate melt (Boesenberg et al., 2012).

The Eagle Station pallasites are confidently resolved from main-group pallasites in having higher Ni, Ge, Ir, Co, Re, Pt, and Cu contents, and lower As, Au, and Ga in the metal. Karavannoe exhibits some anomalous elemental abundance ratios, possibly the result of very extensive terrestrial weathering. The Eagle Station pallasites also have higher Fe contents in the silicates compared to the main-group (Fa1920 vs. Fa1113); moreover, they have higher Sc and lower Mg and Mn. These elemental compositions, along with the O- and Cr-isotopic ratios, are similar to those in group IIF irons and the CO, CK, and oxidized CV carbonaceous chondrites, particularly Felix (CO3) and Tibooburra (CV3). In addition, Humayun et al. (2014) observed that many of the siderophile element abundances measured in Karavannoe and Eagle Station are a good match to the CV chondrites, and are indicative of formation in an oxidizing environment. Their studies suggest a sequential formation for Karavannoe involving fractional crystallization of a CV-like metallic melt that was more evolved than the Eagle Station metal.

A scenario has been considered in which the Eagle Station pallasites were once a part of a large, differentiated parent body that was collisionally disrupted. This is consistent with the finding of natural remanent magnetization in the CV chondrites, attesting to the existence of a core dynamo at the time these meteorites were formed (Weiss et al., 2010). Likewise, paleomagnetic studies conducted by Tarduno et al. (2014) revealed a strong natural remanent magnetization in tiny magnetic inclusions in Eagle Station olivines. Importantly, this remanent magnetization attests to the fact that the Eagle Station pallasite was not formed near the core-mantle boundary, because a rotating core dynamo would necessarily cease prior to any significant cooling of adjacent material; therefore, no remanent magnetization would exist.

Application of the Hf–W isotopic chronometer to Eagle Station reveals that core formation occurred relatively late, ~10 m.y. after the differentiation of the large asteroid 4 Vesta (Dauphas et al., 2005 #1100). It has been calculated that melting and core–mantle differentiation due to radiogenic heating should cease by ~7–8 m.y. (Sahijpal et al., 2007). This implies that heating of the Eagle Station asteroid continued until after all radiogenic 26Al and 60Fe was extinct, and that such late heating may have been generated through large impact events. Alternatively, the estimated initial Solar System ratio of 60Fe/56Fe could have been higher than previously considered, leading to conditions conducive of a more prolonged core–mantle differentiation. Other features observed in Karavannoe, such as troilite globules, and rounded olivines containing inclusion chains, are thought to record multiple severe and/or disruptive impact events.

One research study found the chemical composition of Karavannoe to be consistent with formation after 60% fractional crystallization of a metallic melt, possibly on the CK parent body. Teplyakova et al. (2022) employed modeling for the Eagle Station pallasites based on a scenario in which they derive from a CV-like metallic melt. Their results are consistent with a formation of Itzawisis, Eagle Station, Karavannoe, Cold Bay, and Qued Bourdim 001 after ~1%, 1%, 40%, 50%, and 75% fractional crystallization, respectively.

The O- and Cr-isotopic signatures of Eagle Station have been used to establish a formation age of 4.557 (±0.6) b.y. Employing three methods, Yang et al. (2010) determined the cooling rate of the Eagle Station pallasites to be ~15 K/m.y., which is near the rate of the fastest cooled main-group pallasites. The CRE age of Eagle Station was determined by some to be 32 (±6) m.y., while others arrived at a value of 388 (±74) m.y. (Cook et al., 2010). Remarkably, multiple approaches conducted by Huber et al. (2010) resulted in a much longer CRE age of ~1 b.y. An estimate of the pre-atmospheric mass was calculated to be ~83.3 kg. The photo above shows a 0.69 g thin partial slice of Eagle Station. The photo below shows a large slice showing the typical distribution of silicate and metal in Eagle Station, courtesy of Sergey Vasiliev.

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Photo courtesy of Sergey Vasiliev—SV-meteorites.com