Sulfur isotope study of sulfides in CI, CM, C2ung chondrites and volatile-rich clasts – evidence for different generations and reservoirs of sulfide formation

Robbin Visser, Timm John, Markus Patzek, Addi Bischoff, Martin J. Whitehouse

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 8 July 2019


“Deciphering aspects of the solar system’s formation process and the origin of planetary bodies can be achieved by examining primitive solar system materials, as these materials reflect the early solar system composition and may represent the building blocks of planetary bodies. Along these lines, knowing the original composition of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites is a valuable asset for determining the conditions in the parent bodies where they formed. Therefore, to determine the key characteristics of the parent bodies from which the carbonaceous chondrites and primitive materials are derived, we examined chemical and sulfur isotope compositions of sulfides in CM, CI and C2ung carbonaceous chondrites as well as from CM- and CI-like volatile-rich clasts; such an investigation allows us to explore the origin of these sulfides and to determine the primordial S composition of their parent body source region. In this study, sulfides from 7 CM, CI, and C2ung carbonaceous chondrites and 16 chondritic and achondritic breccias containing volatile-rich clasts were analyzed by electron microprobe and SIMS. Different sulfides were found, which shows evidence of different formation origins. Based on compositions and exsolution textures, we suggest that one fraction of the sulfides in both clasts and chondrites formed at high temperatures prior to incorporation into the parent body. The other sulfides most likely have a secondary origin and precipitated during fluid–rock interaction. Furthermore, differences in the S isotopic signature of the sulfides in chondrites correlate with the degree of aqueous alteration of the carbonaceous host rocks (CM or CI). Studying the sulfides of the volatile-rich clasts in brecciated chondrites and achondrites, a similar fractionation cannot be seen. Even though the mineralogy of CI chondrites and CI-like clasts is similar, the sulfides in CI chondrites appear to be enriched in heavy isotopes compared to those in the clasts (δ34S +1‰ (CI) vs -2‰ (CI-like clast). This could have been caused by different alteration conditions, or it represents a different sampling reservoir. In this study a large S isotopic fractionation between pentlandite and pyrrhotite was found in large primarily formed sulfides showing exsolution textures, indicating that pentlandite prefers to incorporate light S isotopes. Considering the S isotope composition of the exsolved phase which can be found in CM- and CI-like clasts, the pristine δ34S value of the original monosulfide solid solution (mss) is estimated to be ∼-2‰. This value possibly resembles the sampling reservoir from which the sulfides formed, indicating that both CM- and CI-like clasts derived from a similar reservoir, and this reservoir is different from the formation reservoir of the CI chondrites.”