A sample preparation guide for clay-rich carbonaceous chondritesOPEN ACCESS 

Bennett J. K. Wilson, Veronica E. Di Cecco, Laurence A. J. Garvie, Kimberly T. Tait, Michael G. Daly

MAPS, Version of Record online: 26 January 2024


“The matrix of the C2-ungrouped Tarda meteorite contains abundant smectite minerals that swell and crumble when exposed to polar liquids, causing the sample to rapidly slake. This phenomenon presents a serious challenge when polishing the meteorite, as common polishing liquids used on carbonaceous chondrites, such as water, ethanol, ethylene glycol, and isopropyl alcohol, are polar and will cause the sample to swell, making it unsuitable for some analyses. Hexane and mineral oil are nonpolar liquids that were found to not induce swelling on highly expansive montmorillonite-clay analog material and were effectively integrated into a polishing procedure for Tarda. Here, we detail a procedure for mounting, cutting, and polishing the Tarda meteorite to prepare a surface that is suitable for a variety of sensitive techniques, such as electron microprobe analysis. This work offers a practical methodology for the preparation of other clay-rich samples, which may include the recently returned Ryugu and Bennu materials.”