Abundances of presolar silicon carbide grains in primitive meteorites determined by NanoSIMS

Davidson, Jemma; Busemann, Henner; Nittler, Larry R.; Alexander, Conel M.O’D.; Orthous-Daunay, François-Régis; Franchi, Ian A. and Hoppe, Peter (2014). Abundances of presolar silicon carbide grains in primitive meteorites determined by NanoSIMS. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 139 pp. 248–266.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2014.04.026

Abstract

It has been suggested that the matrices of all chondrites are dominated by a common material with Ivuna-like (CI) abundances of volatiles, presolar grains and insoluble organic matter (IOM) (e.g., Alexander, 2005). However, matrix-normalized abundances of presolar silicon carbide (SiC) grains estimated from their noble gas components show significant variations in even the most primitive chondrites (Huss and Lewis, 1995, Huss et al., 2003), in contradiction to there being a common chondrite matrix material. Here we report presolar SiC abundances determined by NanoSIMS raster ion imaging of IOM extracted from primitive members of different meteorite groups. We show that presolar SiC abundance determinations are comparable between NanoSIMS instruments located at three different institutes, between residues prepared by different demineralization techniques, and between microtomed and non-microtomed samples. Our derived SiC abundances in CR chondrites are comparable to those found in the CI chondrites (∼30 ppm) and are much higher than previously determined by noble gas analyses. The revised higher CR SiC abundances are consistent with the CRs being amongst the most primitive chondrites in terms of the isotopic compositions and disordered nature of their organic matter. Similar abundances between CR1, CR2, and CR3 chondrites indicate aqueous alteration on the CR chondrite parent body has not progressively destroyed SiC grains in them. A low SiC abundance for the reduced CV3 RBT 04133 can be explained by parent body thermal metamorphism at an estimated temperature of ∼440 °C. Minor differences between primitive members of other meteorite classes, which did not experience such high temperatures, may be explained by prolonged oxidation at lower temperatures under which SiC grains formed outer layers of SiO2 that were not thermodynamically stable, leading to progressive degassing/destruction of SiC.

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