Near-mid infrared spectroscopy of carbonaceous chondrites: Insights into spectral variation due to aqueous alteration and thermal metamorphism in asteroidsOPEN ACCESS 

Jinfei Yu, Haibin Zhao, Edward A. Cloutis, Hiroyuki Kurokawa, Yunzhao Wu

Icarus, In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 9 January 2024



“Carbonaceous chondrites (CCs) are windows into the early Solar System and the histories of their parent bodies. Their infrared spectral signatures are powerful proxies for deciphering their composition and evolution history, but still present formidable challenges in relation to determining the degree of secondary processing such as aqueous alteration and thermal metamorphism via comprehensive data and mid-infrared feature. In our study, we delved into the infrared spectra spanning 1–25 μm of 17 CCs, with distinct petrological characteristics and varying degrees of alteration. Through this investigation, we uncovered distinct spectral patterns that shed light on the processes of alteration and metamorphism. As aqueous alteration intensifies, two key spectral features, the 3 μm-region absorption feature associated with OH-bearing minerals and water, and the 6 μm band indicative of water molecules, both grow in intensity. Simultaneously, their band centers shift towards shorter wavelengths. Moreover, as alteration progresses, a distinctive absorption feature emerges near 2.72 μm, resembling the OH absorption feature found in serpentine and saponite minerals. Comparison of aqueous alteration to laboratory-heated CCs suggests that the 3 μm region OH/H2O absorption feature differs between CC heated to less than or more than ~300 °C. Further insights are gained by examining the vibrational features of silicate minerals, notably influencing the 10 μm and 20 μm regions. The 12.4 μm /11.4 μm reflectance ratio diminishes, and the reflectance peak in the 9–14 μm range shifts towards shorter wavelengths. These changes are attributed to the transformation of anhydrous silicates into phyllosilicates. In the 15–25 μm region, the influence of thermal metamorphism becomes evident and results in the appearance of more spectral features, the single reflectance peak at 22.1 μm undergoes a transformation into two distinct peaks at 19 μm and 25 μm, which is primarily attributed to the increased presence of anhydrous silicates and olivine recrystallization. These findings offer novel insights into the volatile-rich compositions of C-complex asteroids and the thermal evolution histories of their parent bodies.”