Terrestrial exposure of a fresh Martian meteorite causes rapid changes in hydrogen isotopes and water concentrations

Stephant, Alice; Garvie, Laurence A. J.; Mane, Prajkta; Hervig, Richard and Wadhwa, Meenakshi (2018). Terrestrial exposure of a fresh Martian meteorite causes rapid changes in hydrogen isotopes and water concentrations. Scientific reports, 8(1), article no. 12385.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-30807-w

Abstract

Determining the hydrogen isotopic compositions and H2O contents of meteorites and their components is important for addressing key cosmochemical questions about the abundance and source(s) of water in planetary bodies. However, deconvolving the effects of terrestrial contamination from the indigenous hydrogen isotopic compositions of these extraterrestrial materials is not trivial, because chondrites and some achondrites show only small deviations from terrestrial values such that even minor contamination can mask the indigenous values. Here we assess the effects of terrestrial weathering and contamination on the hydrogen isotope ratios and H2O contents of meteoritic minerals through monitored terrestrial weathering of Tissint, a recent Martian fall. Our findings reveal the rapidity with which this weathering affects nominally anhydrous phases in extraterrestrial materials, which illustrates the necessity of sampling the interiors of even relatively fresh meteorite falls and underlines the importance of sample return missions.

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