Saratov L4


While you’re saving up money for that d’Orbigny angrite thin section you’ve been wanting I suggest you buy a chondrite TS or two, just to stay on your game. They don’t have to break the bank. One I’d suggest is Saratov if you can find one. The cost is usually reasonable and it always seems to have a good variety of features. It’s an L4 so the chondrules are large and there’s a payoff even with lower magnification.

I picked this one up for less than $50. The sample doesn’t have the high polish that I like – the mineral grains show a bit of a ground glass texture – but there’s still plenty to see.

Two large blue euhedral olivine crystals in a one millimeter chondrule. The upper one appears hollow.

A one and a half millimeter porphyritic olivine chondrule with a dust rim. Here, also, many of the phenocrysts present well formed crystal faces.

Large, mostly pyroxene chondrule.

Contrast. A PO chondrule and a radial pyroxene chondrule – sometimes called an exocentric chondrule.

A variety of features hint at processes at work over time. By the way, we can’t tell the full size of chondrules from just his one slide. These ARE just sections. If you have a two inch egg (or chondrule) and take a slice through the very end you will have just a tiny circle.

Part of a large complex chondrule at the edge of the sample shown with the polarizing filters in different positions. It highlights the fact that the orange features in the first picture are one related structure, a barred olivine chondrule, because they all go to extinction together.

In the center is a granular olivine chondrule with characteristic blebs of opaque material.

Up close it looks like it might have been hit from the lower left and shattered in place.

Closer yet. A cool view, I think.

– John


About the Author

John Kashuba
John is a natural history enthusiast living in Oregon.