Altered primary iron sulfides in CM2 and CR2 carbonaceous chondrites: Insights into parent body processes

S. A. Singerling, A. J. Brearley

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
First Published: 13 February 2020


“The presence of primary iron sulfides that appear to be aqueously altered in CM and CR carbonaceous chondrites provides the potential to study the effects and, by extension, the conditions of aqueous alteration. In this work, we have used SEM, TEM, and EPMA techniques to characterize primary sulfides that show evidence of secondary alteration. The alteration styles consist of primary pyrrhotite altering to secondary pentlandite (CMs only), magnetite (CMs and CRs), and phyllosilicates (CMs only) in grains that initially formed by crystallization from immiscible sulfide melts in chondrules (pyrrhotite‐pentlandite intergrowth [PPI] grains). Textural, microstructural, and compositional data from altered sulfides in a suite of CM and CR chondrites have been used to constrain the conditions of alteration of these grains and determine their alteration mechanisms. This work shows that the PPI grains exhibit two styles of alteration—one to form porous pyrrhotite‐pentlandite (3P) grains by dissolution of precursor PPI grain pyrrhotite and subsequent secondary pentlandite precipitation (CMs only), and the other to form the altered PPI grains by pseudomorphic replacement of primary pyrrhotite by magnetite (CMs and CRs) or phyllosilicates (CMs only). The range of alteration textures and products is the result of differences in conditions of alteration due to the role of microchemical environments and/or brecciation. Our observations show that primary sulfides are sensitive indicators of aqueous alteration processes in CM and CR chondrites.”