Summary: Anomalous iron meteorites are those which do not have Ni, Ga, and Ge contents appropriate to one of the twelve chemical groups; they account for 14% of all irons. The chemistry of irons in the twelve groups can be largely understood in terms of primary fractionation in the nebula, which established the bulk composition of the groups, and secondary fractionation in the parent bodies (probably fractional crystallization), which produced the chemical trends within groups. Logarithmic element-Ga graphs containing data for groups and anomalous irons reveal that anomalous irons experienced the same primary and secondary fractionations as affected the groups.
The uniformity of chemical trends within groups allows possible genetic relationships between anomalous irons and groups and among anomalous irons to be tested. It is concluded that the sixty-nine anomalous irons are samples from fifty-odd additional groups, which had similar histories to the twelve groups. Less than five of the anomalous irons could be compositional end- members or reprocessed irons from the groups.
Because ‘anomalous’ means abnormal, some other term for the irons which do not belong to the twelve groups would be a useful reminder that these irons formed in a similar way to irons in the major groups. They could be called members of minor groups or grouplets.