Sulfur and sulfides in chondrules

Abstract : The nature and distribution of sulfides within type I PO, POP and PP chondrules of the carbonaceous chondrite Vigarano (CV3) have been studied by secondary electron microscopy and electron microprobe. They occur predominantly as spheroidal blebs composed entirely of low-Ni iron sulfide (troilite, FeS) or troilite + magnetite but in less abundance in association with metallic Fe–Ni beads in opaque assemblages. Troilites are mainly located within the low-Ca pyroxene outer zone and their amounts increase with the abundance of low-Ca pyroxene within chondrules, suggesting co-crystallization of troilite and low-Ca pyroxene during high-temperature events. We show that sulfur concentration and sulfide occurrence in chondrules obey high temperature sulfur solubility and saturation laws. Depending on the fS2 and fO2 of the surrounding gas and on the melt composition, mainly the FeO content, sulfur dissolved in chondrule melts may eventually reach a concentration limit, the sulfur content at sulfide saturation (SCSS), at which an immiscible iron sulfide liquid separates from the silicate melt. The occurrence of both a silicate melt and an immiscible iron sulfide liquid is further supported by the non-wetting behavior of sulfides on silicate phases in chondrules due to the high interfacial tension between their precursor iron-sulfide liquid droplets and the surrounding silicate melt during the high temperature chondrule-forming event. The evolution of chondrule melts from PO to PP towards more silicic compositions, very likely due to high PSiO(g) of the surrounding nebular gas, induces saturation of FeS at much lower S content in PP than in PO chondrules, leading to the co-crystallization of iron sulfides and low-Ca pyroxenes. Conditions of co-saturation of low-Ca pyroxene and FeS are only achieved in non canonical environments characterized by high partial pressures of sulfur and SiO and redox conditions more oxidizing than IW-3. Fe and S mass balance calculations also suggest the occurrence of an external source of iron, very likely gaseous, during chondrule formation. We therefore propose that enrichments in sulfur (and other volatile and moderately volatile elements) from PO to PP type I bulk chondrule compositions towards chondritic values result from progressive reaction between partially depleted olivine-bearing precursors and a volatile-rich gas phase.
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Yves Marrocchi, Guy Libourel. Sulfur and sulfides in chondrules. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2013, 119, pp.117 - 136. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2013.05.020⟩. ⟨hal-01764490⟩

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