The Paris meteorite, the least altered CM chondrite so far

Hewins, Roger H.; Bourot-Denise, Michèle; Zanda, Brigitte; Leroux, Hugues; Barrat, Jean-Alix; Humayun, Munir; Göpel, Christa; Greenwood, Richard C.; Franchi, Ian A.; Pont, Sylvain; Lorand, Jean-Pierre; Cournède, Cécile; Gattacceca, Jérôme; Rochette, Pierre; Kuga, Maïa; Marrocchi, Yves and Marty, Bernard (2014). The Paris meteorite, the least altered CM chondrite so far. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 124 pp. 190–222.



The Paris chondrite provides an excellent opportunity to study CM chondrules and refractory inclusions in a more pristine state than currently possible from other CMs, and to investigate the earliest stages of aqueous alteration captured within a single CM bulk composition. It was found in the effects of a former colonial mining engineer and may have been an observed fall. The texture, mineralogy, petrography, magnetic properties and chemical and isotopic compositions are consistent with classification as a CM2 chondrite. There are ∼45 vol.% high-temperature components mainly Type I chondrules (with olivine mostly Fa0–2, mean Fa0.9) with granular textures because of low mesostasis abundances. Type II chondrules contain olivine Fa7 to Fa76. These are dominantly of Type IIA, but there are IIAB and IIB chondrules, II(A)B chondrules with minor highly ferroan olivine, and IIA(C) with augite as the only pyroxene. The refractory inclusions in Paris are amoeboid olivine aggregates (AOAs) and fine-grained spinel-rich Ca–Al-rich inclusions (CAIs). The CAI phases formed in the sequence hibonite, perovskite, grossite, spinel, gehlenite, anorthite, diopside/fassaite and forsterite. The most refractory phases are embedded in spinel, which also occurs as massive nodules. Refractory metal nuggets are found in many CAI and refractory platinum group element abundances (PGE) decrease following the observed condensation sequences of their host phases. Mn–Cr isotope measurements of mineral separates from Paris define a regression line with a slope of 53Mn/55Mn = (5.76 ± 0.76) × 106. If we interpret Cr isotopic systematics as dating Paris components, particularly the chondrules, the age is 4566.44 ± 0.66 Myr, which is close to the age of CAI and puts new constraints on the early evolution of the solar system. Eleven individual Paris samples define an O isotope mixing line that passes through CM2 and CO3 falls and indicates that Paris is a very fresh sample, with variation explained by local differences in the extent of alteration. The anhydrous precursor to the CM2s was CO3-like, but the two groups differed in that the CMs accreted a higher proportion of water. Paris has little matrix (∼47%, plus 8% fine grained rims) and is less altered than other CM chondrites. Chondrule silicates (except mesostasis), CAI phases, submicron forsterite and amorphous silicate in the matrix are all well preserved in the freshest domains, and there is abundant metal preserved (metal alteration stage 1 of Palmer and Lauretta (2011)). Metal and sulfide compositions and textures correspond to the least heated or equilibrated CM chondrites, Category A of Kimura et al. (2011). The composition of tochilinite–cronstedtite intergrowths gives a PCP index of ∼2.9. Cronstedtite is more abundant in the more altered zones whereas in normal highly altered CM chondrites, with petrologic subtype 2.6–2.0 based on the S/SiO2 and ∑FeO/SiO2 ratios in PCP or tochilinite–cronstedtite intergrowths (Rubin et al., 2007), cronstedtite is destroyed by alteration. The matrix in fresh zones has CI chondritic volatile element abundances, but interactions between matrix and chondrules occurred during alteration, modifying the volatile element abundances in the altered zones. Paris has higher trapped Ne contents, more primitive organic compounds, and more primitive organic material than other CMs. There are gradational contacts between domains of different degree of alteration, on the scale of ∼1 cm, but also highly altered clasts, suggesting mainly a water-limited style of alteration, with no significant metamorphic reheating.

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