Type 1 aqueous alteration in CM carbonaceous chondrites: Implications for the evolution of water-rich asteroids

King, A. J.; Schofield, P. F. and Russell, S. S. (2017). Type 1 aqueous alteration in CM carbonaceous chondrites: Implications for the evolution of water-rich asteroids. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 52(6) pp. 1197–1215.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.12872


The CM carbonaceous chondrite meteorites experienced aqueous alteration in the early solar system. They range from mildly altered type 2 to almost completely hydrated type 1 chondrites, and offer a record of geochemical conditions on water‐rich asteroids. We show that CM1 chondrites contain abundant (84–91 vol%) phyllosilicate, plus olivine (4–8 vol%), magnetite (2–3 vol%), Fe‐sulfide (<5 vol%), and calcite (<2 vol%). The CM1/2 chondrites contain phyllosilicate (71–88 vol%), olivine (4–20 vol%), enstatite (2–6 vol%), magnetite (2–3 vol%), Fe‐sulfides (1–2 vol%), and calcite (~1 vol%). As aqueous alteration progressed, the abundance of Mg‐serpentine and magnetite in the CM chondrites increased. In contrast, calcite abundances in the CM1/2 and CM1 chondrites are often depleted relative to the CM2s. The modal data support the model, whereby metal and Fe‐rich matrix were the first components to be altered on the CM parent body(ies), before further hydration attacked the coarser Mg‐rich silicates found in chondrules and fragments. Based on the absence of tochilinite, we suggest that CM1 chondrites experienced increased alteration due to elevated temperatures (>120 °C), although higher water/rock ratios may also have played a role. The modal data provide constraints for interpreting the composition of asteroids and the mineralogy of samples returned from these bodies. We predict that “CM1‐like” asteroids, as has been proposed for Bennu—target for the OSIRIS‐REx mission—will have a high abundance of Mg‐rich phyllosilicates and Fe‐oxides, but be depleted in calcite.

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