Upper limits of water contents in olivine and orthopyroxene of equilibrated chondrites and several achondritesOPEN ACCESS 

Dennis Harries, Xuchao Zhao, Ian Franchi

Version of Record online: 13 April 2023


“Hydroxyl defects in nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs) were potential carriers of water in the early Solar System and might have contributed to the accretion of terrestrial water. To better understand this, we have conducted a nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry survey of water contents in olivine and orthopyroxene from a set of equilibrated ordinary chondrites of the L and LL groups (Baszkówka, Bensour, Kheneg Ljouâd, and Tuxtuac) and several ultramafic achondrites (Zakłodzie, Dhofar 125, Northwest Africa [NWA] 4969, NWA 6693, and NWA 7317). For calibration, we used terrestrial olivine and orthopyroxene with H2O contents determined by Fourier transform infrared. Our 99.7% (~3SD) detection limits are 3.6–5.4 ppmw H2O for olivine and 7.7–10.9 ppmw H2O for orthopyroxene. None of the meteoritic samples studied consistently shows water contents above the detection limits. A few exceptions slightly above the detection limits are suspected of terrestrial contamination by ferric oxyhydroxides. If the meteorite samples investigated accreted in the presence of small amounts of water ice, the upper limits of water contents provided by our survey suggest that the retention of hydrogen during thermal metamorphism and differentiation was ineffective. We suggest that loss occurred through combinations of low internal pressures, high permeability along grain boundaries, and speciation of hydrogen into reduced compounds such as H2 and methane, which are less soluble in NAMs than in water.”