A novel organic-rich meteoritic clast from the outer solar system

Kebukawa, Yoko; Ito, Motoo; Zolensky, Michael E.; Greenwood, Richard C.; Rahman, Zia; Suga, Hiroki; Nakato, Aiko; Chan, Queenie H. S.; Fries, Marc; Takeichi, Yasuo; Takahashi, Yoshio; Mase, Kazuhiko and Kobayashi, Kensei (2019). A novel organic-rich meteoritic clast from the outer solar system. Scientific Reports, 9(1), article no. 3169.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39357-1


The Zag meteorite which is a thermally-metamorphosed H ordinary chondrite contains a primitive xenolitic clast that was accreted to the parent asteroid after metamorphism. The cm-sized clast contains abundant large organic grains or aggregates up to 20μm in phyllosilicate-rich matrix. Here we report organic and isotope analyses of a large (~10μm) OM aggregate in the Zag clast. The X-ray micro-spectroscopic technique revealed that the OM aggregate has sp2 dominated hydrocarbon networks with a lower abundance of heteroatoms than in IOM from primitive (CI,CM,CR) carbonaceous chondrites, and thus it is distinguished from most of the OM in carbonaceous meteorites. The OM aggregate has high D/H and 15N/14N ratios (δD=2,370±74‰ and δ15N=696±100‰), suggesting that it originated in a very cold environment such as the interstellar medium or outer region of the solar nebula, while the OM is embedded in carbonate-bearing matrix resulting from aqueous activities. Thus, the high D/H ratio must have been preserved during the extensive late-stage aqueous processing. It indicates that both the OM precursors and the water had high D/H ratios. Combined with 16O-poor nature of the clast, the OM aggregate and the clast are unique among known chondrite groups. We further propose that the clast possibly originated from D/P type asteroids or trans-Neptunian Objects.

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