A cometary building block in a primitive asteroidal meteorite

Larry R. Nittler, Rhonda M. Stroud, Josep M. Trigo-Rodríguez, Bradley T. De Gregorio, Conel M. O’D. Alexander, Jemma Davidson, Carles E. Moyano-Cambero & Safoura Tanbakouei

Nature Astronomy (2019)
Published: 15 April 2019


“Meteorites originating from primitive C-type asteroids are composed of materials from the Sun’s protoplanetary disk, including up to a few per cent organic carbon. In contrast, some interplanetary dust particles and micrometeorites have much higher carbon contents, up to >90%, and are thought to originate from icy outer Solar System bodies and comets. Here we report an approximately 100-µm-diameter very carbon-rich clast, with highly primitive characteristics, in the matrix of a CR2 chondrite, LaPaz Icefield 02342. The clast may represent a cometary building block, largely unsampled in meteorite collections, that was captured by a C-type asteroid during the early stages of planet formation. The existence of this cometary microxenolith supports the idea of a radially inward transport of materials from the outer protoplanetary disk into the CR chondrite reservoir during the formation of planetesimals. Moreover, the H-isotopic composition of the clast is suggestive of a temporal evolution of organic isotopic compositions in the comet-forming region of the disk.”