Comprehensive Organic Analysis of Antarctic Micrometeorites

Wilson, R. C.; Dobrica, E.; Pearson, V. K.; Turner, D. C. and Gilmour, I. (2008). Comprehensive Organic Analysis of Antarctic Micrometeorites. In: 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 10-14 Mar 2008, League City, Texas, USA.



Introduction: Micrometeorites (MMs) are thought to be significant contributors of organic material to the early Earth [1], and a variety of techniques have been employed to identify their organic composition [2-6]. These include the identification of key organic groups using combinations of infrared, energy dispersive Xray, electron energy loss and Raman spectroscopy and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy [2-4], highlighting similarities between that of MMs and carbonaceous chondrites.
Few studies, however, have focused on the characterisation of individual micrometeoritic organic components. Microscopic L2MS has been used to identify up to C5 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their alkyl derivatives [5]. A combination of ionexchange chromatography and fluorimetric detection has also been successful in identifying a number of protein amino acids including glycine and alanine [6].
We have previously reported a method to analyse ?g-sized quantities of extraterrestrial materials, with prior application to assessing organic volatile release from MM atmospheric entry heating simulations [7]. In this study we utilise this technique to characterise the organic composition of Antarctic terrestrial particles and MMs collected in 1994 from Cap-Prudhomme [8].

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