Linking mineralogy and spectroscopy of highly aqueously altered CM and CI carbonaceous chondrites in preparation for primitive asteroid sample returnOPEN ACCESS 

H. C. Bates, A. J. King, K. L. Donaldson Hanna, N. E. Bowles, S. S. Russell

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
First Published: 19 November 2019


“The highly hydrated, petrologic type 1 CM and CI carbonaceous chondrites likely derived from primitive, water‐rich asteroids, two of which are the targets for JAXA’s Hayabusa2 and NASA’s OSIRIS‐REx missions. We have collected visible and near‐infrared (VNIR) and mid infrared (MIR) reflectance spectra from well‐characterized CM1/2, CM1, and CI1 chondrites and identified trends related to their mineralogy and degree of secondary processing. The spectral slope between 0.65 and 1.05 μm decreases with increasing total phyllosilicate abundance and increasing magnetite abundance, both of which are associated with more extensive aqueous alteration. Furthermore, features at ~3 μm shift from centers near 2.80 μm in the intermediately altered CM1/2 chondrites to near 2.73 μm in the highly altered CM1 chondrites. The Christiansen features (CF) and the transparency features shift to shorter wavelengths as the phyllosilicate composition of the meteorites becomes more Mg‐rich, which occurs as aqueous alteration proceeds. Spectra also show a feature near 6 μm, which is related to the presence of phyllosilicates, but is not a reliable parameter for estimating the degree of aqueous alteration. The observed trends can be used to estimate the surface mineralogy and the degree of aqueous alteration in remote observations of asteroids. For example, (1) Ceres has a sharp feature near 2.72 μm, which is similar in both position and shape to the same feature in the spectra of the highly altered CM1 MIL 05137, suggesting abundant Mg‐rich phyllosilicates on the surface. Notably, both OSIRIS‐REx and Hayabusa2 have onboard instruments which cover the VNIR and MIR wavelength ranges, so the results presented here will help in corroborating initial results from Bennu and Ryugu.”