P-O-rich sulfide phase in CM chondrites: Constraints on its origin on the CM parent body.

Zhang, A.-C., Itoh, S., Yurimoto, H., Hsu, W.-B., Wang, R.-C. and Taylor, L. A.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12583
Article first published online: 20 DEC 2015
DOI: 10.1111/maps.12583


“CM chondrites are a group of primitive meteorites that have recorded the alteration history of the early solar system. We report the occurrence, chemistry, and oxygen isotopic compositions of P-O-rich sulfide phase in two CM chondrites (Grove Mountains [GRV] 021536 and Murchison). This P-O-rich sulfide is a polycrystalline aggregate of nanometer-size grains. It occurs as isolated particles or aggregates in both CM chondrites. These grains, in the matrix and in type-I chondrules from Murchison, were partially altered into tochilinite; however, grains enclosed by Ca-carbonate are much less altered. This P-O-rich sulfide in Murchison is closely associated with magnetite, FeNi phosphide, brezinaite (Cr3S4), and eskolaite (Cr2O3). In addition to sulfur as the major component, this sulfide contains ~6.3 wt% O, ~5.4 wt% P, and minor amounts of hydrogen. Analyses of oxygen isotopes by SIMS resulted in an average δ18O value of −22.5 ‰ and an average Δ17O value of 0.2 ± 9.2 ‰ (2σ). Limited variations in both chemical compositions and electron-diffraction patterns imply that the P-O-rich sulfide may be a single phase rather than a polyphase mixture. Several features indicate that this P-O-rich sulfide phase formed at low temperature on the parent body, most likely through the alteration of FeNi metal (a) close association with other low-temperature alteration products, (b) the presence of hydrogen, (c) high Δ17O values and the presence in altered mesostasis of type-I chondrules and absence in type-II chondrules. The textural relations of the P-O-rich sulfide and other low-temperature minerals reveal at least three episodic-alteration events on the parent body of CM chondrites (1) formation of P-O-rich sulfide during sulfur-rich aqueous alteration of P-rich FeNi metal, (2) formation of Ca-carbonate during local carbonation, and (3) alteration of P-O-rich sulfide and formation of tochilinite during a period of late-stage intensive aqueous alteration.”