Tracing the earliest stages of hydrothermal alteration on the CM chondrite parent body

A. J. King, E. Mason, H. C. Bates, P. F. Schofield, K. L. Donaldson Hanna, N. E. Bowles, S. S. Russell

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Version of Record online: 02 September 2021


“The CM carbonaceous chondrites are an important resource in our efforts to understand the role of volatiles in the formation of planetary systems. We report the bulk mineralogy, water abundance, and infrared (IR) reflectance spectra of the CM chondrites LaPaz Icefield (LAP) 04514, LAP 04796, LAP 04565, and LAP 02333. They contain abundant Fe- and Mg-rich serpentines (˜70–80 vol%), and based on their phyllosilicate fractions, we classify LAP 04514, LAP 04796, and LAP 04565 as petrologic subtype 1.6 and LAP 02333 as 1.4. This is consistent with estimated water abundances of 9.9 (±1.1) wt% for LAP 04796, 10.4 (±0.1) wt% for LAP 04565, and 11.5 (±0.5) wt% for LAP 02333. However, LAP 04514 contains less water (8.8 ± 0.3 wt%), has a shallower 3 µm band depth, and lacks tochilinite having experienced posthydration temperatures of ˜300–400 °C. We conclude that LAP 04514, LAP 04796, and LAP 04565 are among the least altered CM chondrites, which retain primitive features from the initial building blocks of the CM parent body. Finally, we use the IR spectral features of LAP 04514, LAP 04796, and LAP 04565 to identify C-complex asteroid surfaces that record mild levels of hydration.”