Non-destructive quantitative analysis of melt inclusions in extraterrestrial samples: Case study of chassignite via nanoscale X-ray computed tomography

Peiyu Wu, Kyle Dayton, Esteban Gazel, Teresa Porri

MAPS, Version of Record online: 13 May 2024


“Estimation of the composition of planetary rocks and minerals is crucial for understanding their formation processes. In this study, we present the application of X-ray nano-computed tomography (nano-XCT) for non-destructive three-dimensional (3-D) phase analysis and estimation of phase abundances in rare Martian meteorite samples, specifically chassignite Northwest Africa (NWA) 2737. We determined the most suitable laser power for minimizing artifacts and maximizing phase contrast. By utilizing nano-XCT, we successfully identified and segmented primary phases in the bulk meteorite sample. Additionally, we were able to locate and segment crystallized silicate melt inclusions within the meteorite. The phase abundances in bulk NWA 2737 and within melt inclusions calculated using nano-XCT were in good agreement with previous studies that used thin section calculations, demonstrating the reliability of nano-XCT as a non-destructive alternative for estimating bulk phase abundances in rare samples. This study develops a benchmarking protocol and demonstrates the efficacy of nano-XCT as a non-destructive technique for generating an overview of phase distribution and assemblages of melt inclusions within rare samples. Future research can benefit from combining non-destructive 3-D phase assemblage estimations with non-destructive 3-D chemical analysis techniques to achieve a fully non-destructive parental magma composition estimation of rare cumulate samples.”