Fe isotope composition of bulk chondrules from Murchison (CM2): Constraints for parent body alteration, nebula processes and chondrule-matrix complementarity

Dominik C. Hezel, Johanna S. Wilden, Daniel Becker, Sonja Steinbach, Markus Harak

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 490, 15 May 2018, Pages 31-39



• We report the first Fe isotope data for bulk chondrules in CM chondrites.
• The Fe budget of most chondrules is dominated by silicates,
• Chondrule Fe isotope variations were produced by evaporation and recondensation.
• Parent body alteration narrowed the initial chondrule Fe isotope compositions.
• Chondrule-matrix element complementarities suggest formation from a single reservoir.”

“Chondrules are a major constituent of primitive meteorites. The formation of chondrules is one of the most elusive problems in cosmochemistry. We use Fe isotope compositions of chondrules and bulk chondrites to constrain the conditions of chondrule formation. Iron isotope compositions of bulk chondrules are so far only known from few studies on CV and some ordinary chondrites. We studied 37 chondrules from the CM chondrite Murchison. This is particularly challenging, as CM chondrites contain the smallest chondrules of all chondrite groups, except for CH chondrites. Bulk chondrules have δ56Fe between −0.62 and +0.24‰ relative to the IRMM-014 standard. Bulk Murchison has as all chondrites a δ56Fe of 0.00‰ within error. The δ56Fe distribution of the Murchison chondrule population is continuous and close to normal. The width of the δ56Fe distribution is narrower than that of the Allende chondrule population. Opaque modal abundances in Murchison chondrules is in about 67% of the chondrules close to 0 vol.%, and in 33% typically up to 6.5 vol.%. Chondrule Al/Mg and Fe/Mg ratios are sub-chondritic, while bulk Murchison has chondritic ratios. We suggest that the variable bulk chondrule Fe isotope compositions were established during evaporation and recondensation prior to accretion in the Murchison parent body. This range in isotope composition was likely reduced during aqueous alteration on the parent body. Murchison has a chondritic Fe isotope composition and a number of chondritic element ratios. Chondrules, however, have variable Fe isotope compositions and chondrules and matrix have complementary Al/Mg and Fe/Mg ratios. In combination, this supports the idea that chondrules and matrix formed from a single reservoir and were then accreted in the parent body. The formation in a single region also explains the compositional distribution of the chondrule population in Murchison.”