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Happy Canyon meteorite, Armstrong Co., Texas, USA

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Enstatite Chondrite, low-iron [EL6/7; S2]
1971 find, 16.3 kg; highly weathered

The Happy Canyon meteorite was plowed up on a farm and identified as a meteorite. In spite of severe weathering which has removed much of the exterior and allowed carbonate-rich veins to penetrate the interior, the remaining mass preserves both a clear meteoritic identity and has provoked some controversy about its preferred classification. The main constituents of the meteorite are Enstatite (~85 vol%), Plagioclase (Oligoclase), Enstatite (5-10 vol%), and minor diopside. In addition, minor amounts of troilite and Ni-Fe metal have (partially) survived the weathering processes. In sum, the meteorite has the bulk chemistry of a weathered Enstatite Chondrite — most likely, an member of the EL (low-iron) chemical group. It would seem that the absence of oldhamite, Daubreélite, and other reduced sulfides would be but the natural consequence of weathering over a period of several centuries.

We have, however, left the best for last. This meteoritic stone consists primarily of euhedral crystals of enstatite. There are no chondrules and, in the first reports at least, no relics of chondrules. The conundrum as stated by Olsen et al., (1977) is that “The bulk composition is that of an (E6) enstatite chondrite, however, it has the texture of a crystal cumulate…” One might explain this curious phenomenon as due to burial of EL6 material or, as has, been the custom lately, as an instance of ‘shock melting’ — melting due to violent pre-terrestrial impact(s) on the original Enstatite Chondrite homeworld(s). Before the reader draws his or her own conclusions, the descriptive article by Olsen et al. provides an excellent starting point.

Descriptive Reference:
Olsen, E. J., Bunch, T. E., Jarosewich, E., Noonan, A. F. & Huss, G. I. (1977) Happy Canyon - A new type of enstatite achondrite, Meteoritics 12 (2), 109-123. (June 1977)

Mineral List

9 entries listed. 6 valid minerals.

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Clarke, R. S. [Ed.] (1976). Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 54. Meteoritics 11 (1): 69-93 (March 1976).

Olsen, E., Bunch, T., Jarosewich, E. & Huss, G. I. (1976) Happy Canyon: An E-7 enstatite chondrite (abstract), Meteoritics 11 (4): 348-349. (Dec 1976)

Olsen, E. J., Bunch, T. E., Jarosewich, E., Noonan, A. F. & Huss, G. I. (1977) Happy Canyon - A new type of enstatite achondrite, Meteoritics 12 (2), 109-123. (June 1977)

Watters, T. R. & Prinz, M (1979) Aubrites - Their origin and relationship to enstatite chondrites. In: Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 10th, Houston, Tex., March 19-23, 1979, Proceedings. Volume 1. (A80-23557 08-91) New York, Pergamon Press, Inc., 1979, p. 1073-1093.

McCoy, T. J. et al., (1995) Origin and history of impact-melt rocks of enstatite chondrite parentage, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 59, #1, 161-175. (Jan 1995)

Grady, M. M. (2000). Catalogue of Meteorites (5/e). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Oakleigh, Madrid, Cape Town. 690 pages.

Boesenberg, J. S., Weisberg, M. K., Greenwood, R. C., Gibson, J. M. & Franchi, I. A. (2014) The Anomalous Enstatite Meteorites — Part 2: The Recrystallized EL Meteorites, Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XXXXV. LPI Contribution No. 1777, p.1486. (March 2014)

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