New insights into the heterogeneity of the Tagish Lake meteorite: Soluble organic compositions of variously altered specimens

Danielle N. Simkus, José C. Aponte, Jamie E. Elsila, Robert W. Hilts, Hannah L. McLain, Christopher D. K. Herd


“The Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite exhibits a unique compositional heterogeneity that may be attributed to varying degrees of aqueous alteration within the parent body asteroid. Previous analyses of soluble organic compounds from four Tagish Lake meteorite specimens (TL5b, TL11h, TL11i, TL11v) identified distinct distributions and isotopic compositions that appeared to be linked to their degree of parent body processing (Herd et al. 2011; Glavin et al. 2012; Hilts et al. 2014). In the present study, we build upon these initial observations and evaluate the molecular distribution of amino acids, aldehydes and ketones, monocarboxylic acids, and aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, including compound‐specific δ13C compositions, for three additional Tagish Lake specimens: TL1, TL4, and TL10a. TL1 contains relatively high abundances of soluble organics and appears to be a moderately altered specimen, similar to the previously analyzed TL5b and TL11h lithologies. In contrast, specimens TL4 and TL10a both contain relatively low abundances of all of the soluble organic compound classes measured, similar to TL11i and TL11v. The organic‐depleted composition of TL4 appears to have resulted from a relatively low degree of parent body aqueous alteration. In the case of TL10a, some unusual properties (e.g., the lack of detection of intrinsic monocarboxylic acids and aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons) suggest that it has experienced extensive alteration and/or a distinct organic‐depleted alteration history. Collectively, these varying compositions provide valuable new insights into the relationships between asteroidal aqueous alteration and the synthesis and preservation of soluble organic compounds.”