Oxygen isotope constraints on the alteration temperatures of CM chondrites

Maximilien J. Verdier-Paoletti, Yves Marrocchi, Guillaume Avice, Mathieu Roskosz, Andrey Gurenko, Matthieu Gounelle

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 15 November 2016


• Carbonate O-isotope compositions of 9 CMs define a continuous trend crossing the TFL.
• This mass independent trend matches the one defined by bulk CM-COs and matrix (BMC trend).
• CM water defines a trend (CMW) parallel to the bulk-matrix-carbonate trend (BMC).
• The distance between BMC and CMW is directly related to CM alteration temperature.
• Carbonates precipitated at higher temperatures than previously inferred (50–300 °C).”

“We report a systematic oxygen isotopic survey of Ca-carbonates in nine different CM chondrites characterized by different degrees of alteration, from the least altered known to date (Paris, 2.7–2.8) to the most altered (ALH 88045, CM1). Our data define a continuous trend that crosses the Terrestrial Fractionation Line (TFL), with a general relationship that is indistinguishable within errors from the trend defined by both matrix phyllosilicates and bulk O-isotopic compositions of CM chondrites. This bulk-matrix-carbonate (BMC) trend does not correspond to a mass-dependent fractionation (i.e., slope 0.52) as it would be expected during fluid circulation along a temperature gradient. It is instead a direct proxy of the degree of O-isotopic equilibration between 17,18O-rich fluids and 16O-rich anhydrous minerals. Our O-isotopic survey revealed that, for a given CM, no carbonate is in O-isotopic equilibrium with its respective surrounding matrix. This precludes direct calculation of the temperature of carbonate precipitation. However, the O-isotopic compositions of alteration water in different CMs (inferred from isotopic mass-balance calculation and direct measurements) define another trend (CMW for CM Water), parallel to BMC but with a different intercept. The distance between the BMC and CMW trends is directly related to the temperature of CM alteration and corresponds to average carbonates and serpentine formation temperatures of 110 °C and 75 °C, respectively. However, carbonate O-isotopic variations around the BMC trend indicate that they formed at various temperatures ranging between 50 and 300 °C, with 50% of the carbonates studied here showing precipitation temperature higher than 100 °C. The average Δ17O and the average carbonate precipitation temperature per chondrite are correlated, revealing that all CMs underwent similar maximum temperature peaks, but that altered CMs experienced protracted carbonate precipitation event(s) at lower temperatures than the least altered CMs. Our data suggest that the Δ17O value of Ca-carbonates could be a reliable proxy of the degree of alteration experienced by CM chondrites.”