Mapping the composition of chondritic meteorite Northwest Africa 3118 with micro-Raman spectroscopy

Analía G. Dall’Asén, Sophia I. Dimas, Sarah Tyler, Jessica F. Johnston, Timothy R. Anderton, Inese I. Ivans, Jordan M. Gerton, Benjamin C. Bromley & Scott J. Kenyon

Spectroscopy Letters
Published online: 05 Jul 2017


“Meteorites provide precious clues about the formation of planets in the solar system. Here, an analytical method to study chondritic meteorites using low- and high-resolution micro-Raman spectroscopy is presented. An approach in mapping the distribution of mineral compositions of a sample is introduced by measuring ∼104 Raman spectra along linear, micron-wide paths that traverse the sample to capture detail on small and large spatial scales (from micrometers to millimeters). To refine these analytical procedures, a well-defined chondrule and surrounding matrix of the carbonaceous chondrite Northwest Africa 3118 are analyzed. The morphology and elemental composition of the sample are also studied using scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and creating composite maps with the images obtained by these techniques along the same Raman linear path. The Raman line scan maps of this sample show clear spatial segregation of constituents including pyroxene and olivine, both within and outside the chondrule. Graphitic carbon is also present and appears clustered in domains of a few hundred microns both in the matrix and in the central core of the chondrule. The results obtained with the scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy techniques show that iron is most abundant in the matrix surrounding the chondrule, while the chondrule is enhanced in silicon, magnesium, calcium, aluminum, and sodium. These findings provide a detailed identification of the elemental and mineralogical, spatial composition of the analyzed regions of Northwest Africa 3118.”