Space-weathering induced changes in hydrated silicates: A multi-scale study combining visible/infrared spectroscopy and electron microscopy

Stefano Rubino, Hugues Leroux, Cateline Lantz, Alice Aléon-Toppani, Donia Baklouti, Zahia Djouadi, Obadias Mivumbi, David Troadec, Ferenc Borondics, Rosario Brunetto

Available online 28 March 2024, 116070


“Investigating the effects of space-weathering on primitive bodies is paramount in assessing their composition and understanding their history. For this purpose, we conducted 40 keV He and Ar ion-implantation experiments on terrestrial phyllosilicates, the main components of primitive C-class asteroids: two serpentines, and one saponite. We emulated the effects of the solar wind component of space weathering on hydrated surfaces over timescales of 1E3–4 years in the inner solar system. Spectral changes (from 0.35 to 30 μm in wavelength), surface topography variations, and elemental and morphological changes were investigated. In the visible range, we saw darkening for all samples, accompanied by reddening for the serpentine samples and blueing for the saponite. Spectroscopic features such as the silicate stretching and bending modes at 10 and 20 μm respectively, as well as the (M)-OH bending mode at 16 μm, exhibited a peak shift towards longer wavelength (red-shift), band area decrease, and band widening. The surface of Ar-implanted samples appeared polished, while no difference was noticeable for He-implanted samples. Morphological changes in the ion-implanted layers of our samples include abundant vesiculation and lattice amorphization. Mg and O appear to be particularly mobile upon ion implantation. In particular, dehydroxylation was observed for all samples. Changes observed for spectroscopic features do not correlate systematically with variations of the Mg/Fe ratio. They do correlate with oxygen loss via dehydroxylation and crystal lattice disordering and amorphization. Spectral changes in the visible range and for 10 and 20 μm features appear to be mainly due to crystal amorphization. Variation of the hydration feature at 16 μm correlates with both dehydroxylation and lattice amorphization. Compositional variations affect the hydration feature at 2.7 μm more consistently. The effects detected upon ion implantation on the samples in this work support the identification of spectral trends from the remote-sensing data of primitive bodies Ryugu and Bennu as changes induced by space-weathering. Findings are also compatible with laboratory analysis on returned weathered grains from Ryugu.”