Morphological changes of olivine grains reacted with amino acid solutions by impact process

Yuhei Umeda, Atsushi Takase, Nao Fukunaga, Toshimori Sekine, Takamichi Kobayashi, Yoshihiro Furukawa, Takeshi Kakegawa

Physics and Chemistry of Minerals
March 2017, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 203–212
First Online: 04 October 2016


“Early oceans on Earth might have contained certain amounts of biomolecules such as amino acids, and they were subjected to meteorite impacts, especially during the late heavy bombardment. We performed shock recovery experiments by using a propellant gun in order to simulate shock reactions among olivine as a representative meteorite component, water and biomolecules in oceans in the process of marine meteorite impacts. In the present study, recovered solid samples were analyzed by using X-ray powder diffraction method, scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, and transmission electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry. The analytical results on shocked products in the recovered sample showed (1) morphological changes of olivine to fiber- and bamboo shoot-like crystals, and to pulverized grains; and features of lumpy surfaces affected by hot water, (2) the formation of carbon-rich substances derived from amino acids, and (3) the incorporation of metals from container into samples. According to the present results, fine-grained olivine in meteorites might have morphologically changed and shock-induced chemical reactions might have been enhanced so that amino acids related to the origin of life may have transformed to carbon-rich substances by impacts.”