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Abee meteorite, Abee, Alberta, Canada

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 53° 50' North , 113° 15' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 53.83333,-113.25000
Non-native locality type:Meteorite

Enstatite chondrite (EH4; S2-S5)
Fall of 9 June 1953; 107 kg

In the long twilight of early June a fireball brighter than the full moon, accompanied by sonic booms, lit up the skys of Alberta for a few moments. Six days later a meteorite was excavated from a small crater (diameter, 1.7 m; Depth 1.5 m). Abee is not only an unusual meteorite (an Enstatite Chondrite), its 107 kg mass is nearly 4 times that of the next largest observed Enstatite Chondrite fall (Pillistfer). Enstatite chondrites are formally defined by their bulk elemental and oxygen isotope ratio, but their extremely reduced mineralogical assemblages often draws the most attention. Like most Enstatite chondrites, Abee’s most prominent mineral is Enstatite, an iron poor pyroxene — found in chondrules and in the surrounding matrix. Nickel-iron (mostly Kamacite) and Troilite are the most important accessory phases, but small amounts of Daubréelite, Oldhamite, Osbornite and other phases rarely — if ever — found on earth are also present. Indeed the minerals Keilite and Niningerite were first discovered in Abee. The presence of Niningerite is usually a sure indicator that the meteorite is an EH (high-iron) Enstatite Chondrite rather than a related EL (low iron) Enstatite Chondrite. Abee is usually classified as petrologic type EH4 as it has abundant chondrules which lack glass and many of its mineral assemblages are homogenized.

Some caveats. Tiny magnetite crystals found in Abee’s fusion crust are a result of heating and oxidation which occurred during Abee’s brief fiery passage thru the earth’s atmosphere. Long before Abee’s encounter with the earth, it had apparently experienced both strong impacts and metamorphic heating. For two decades Alan Rubin (Rubin, 2008; Rubin et al., 1997) has been working to disentangle such shock effects from endogenous heating. He and others frequently used the term impact-melt breccia to emphasize that sufficiently strong impacts create (local) heat sources whose effects often mimic more ‘normal’ metamorphism.

Addendum. Tiny Diamonds and various other phases are quite sparse. Such phases may be only infrequently observed in other, smaller Enstatite Chondrites.

Mineral List

20 valid minerals. 2 (TL) - type locality of valid minerals.

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Dawson, K. R., Maxwell, J. A & Parsons, D. E. (1960) A description of the meteorite which fell near Abee, Alberta, Canada. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 21(1-2): 127-144, I-X. (Dec 1960)

Wacker, J.F., & Marti, K. (1983) Noble gas components in clasts and separates of the Abee meteorite. Earth and Planetary Science Letter 62: 1747-158.

Keil, K. & Snetsinger, K. G. (1966): Niningerite: a new meteoritic sulfide. Science: 155: 451-453. (Jan 1967)

Keil, K. (1968). Mineralogical and Chemical Relationships among the Enstatite Chondrites. Journal of Geophysical Research 73 (22): 6945-6976.

Mason, B. H. (1972). The Mineralogy of Meteorites. Meteoritics 7 (3): 309-326.

Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites. Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.

Leitch, C. A. & Smith, J. V. (1982): Petrography, mineral chemistry and origin of Type I enstatite chondrites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 46, 2083-2097. (Nov 1982)

Rubin, A.E. & Keil, K. (1980): Mineralogy and petrology of the Abee enstatite chondrite. Meteoritics 15, 358-359.

Rubin, A.E. & Keil, K. (1983): Mineralogy and petrology of the Abee enstatite chondrite breccia and its dark inclusions. Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters 62, 118-131. (Jan 1983).

Griffin, A. A., Millman, P. M., & Halliday, I.] (1992) The fall of the Abee meteorite and its probable orbit, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 86, 5-14. (Feb 1992).

Rubin, Alan E. & Scott, Edward R. D. (1997) Abee and related EH chondrite impact-melt breccias, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 61, #2, p. 425-435. (Jan 1997).

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

Shimizu, M., Yoshida, H. & Mandarino, J.A. (2002) The new mineral species keilite, (Fe,Mg)S, the iron-dominant analogue of niningerite. Canadian Mineralogist 40, 1687-1992.

Rubin, A. E. (2008) Explicating the behavior of Mn-bearing phases during shock melting and crystallization of the Abee EH-chondrite impact-melt breccia, Meteoritics & Planetary Science 43, #9, 1481-1485. (Nov 2008).

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