Diamond xenolith and matrix organic matter in the Sutter’s Mill meteorite measured by C-XANES

Yoko Kebukawa, Michael E. Zolensky, A. L. David Kilcoyne, Zia Rahman, Peter Jenniskens and George D. Cody

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12312
Article first published online: 13 OCT 2014



The Sutter’s Mill (SM) meteorite fell in El Dorado County, California, on April 22, 2012. This meteorite is a regolith breccia composed of CM chondrite material and at least one xenolithic phase: oldhamite. The meteorite studied here, SM2 (subsample 5), was one of three meteorites collected before it rained extensively on the debris site, thus preserving the original asteroid regolith mineralogy. Two relatively large (10 μm sized) possible diamond grains were observed in SM2-5 surrounded by fine-grained matrix. In the present work, we analyzed a focused ion beam (FIB) milled thin section that transected a region containing these two potential diamond grains as well as the surrounding fine-grained matrix employing carbon and nitrogen X-ray absorption near-edge structure (C-XANES and N-XANES) spectroscopy using a scanning transmission X-ray microscope (STXM) (Beamline 5.3.2 at the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). The STXM analysis revealed that the matrix of SM2-5 contains C-rich grains, possibly organic nanoglobules. A single carbonate grain was also detected. The C-XANES spectrum of the matrix is similar to that of insoluble organic matter (IOM) found in other CM chondrites. However, no significant nitrogen-bearing functional groups were observed with N-XANES. One of the possible diamond grains contains a Ca-bearing inclusion that is not carbonate. C-XANES features of the diamond-edges suggest that the diamond might have formed by the CVD process, or in a high-temperature and -pressure environment in the interior of a much larger parent body.