The Aguas Zarcas carbonaceous chondrite meteorite: Brecciation and aqueous alteration on the parent body

I. Kouvatsis, J. A. Cartwright, W. E. Hames

MAPS, Version of Record online: 29 May 2024


“CM chondrites are samples from primitive water-rich asteroids that formed early in the solar system; many record evidence for silicate rock–liquid water interaction. Many CM chondrites also exhibit well-developed fine-grained rims (FGRs) that surround major components, including chondrules and refractory inclusions. Previous studies have shown that Aguas Zarcas, a CM2 chondrite fall recovered in 2019, is a breccia consisting of several lithologies. Here, we present a study of Aguas Zarcas using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and electron probe microanalysis, focusing on brecciation and aqueous alteration on the parent body. We observed two lithologies within our sample, separated by a distinct textural and chemical boundary. The first lithology has a higher chondrule abundance (“chondrule-rich”) and significantly larger FGRs compared to the second lithology (“chondrule-poor”), even for similarly sized chondrules. We observed clear compositional differences between the two lithologies and more multilayered FGRs in the chondrule-rich lithology. We determined that the chondrule-rich lithology is less altered (petrologic type 2.7–2.8) and displays larger FGRs to chondrule ratios compared to the more altered chondrule-poor lithology (petrologic type 2.5–2.6). These observations are contrary to previous models that predict aqueous alteration as a cause of FGR formation in the parent body. Our observed differences in Mg and Fe distribution in the lithology matrices alongside variable FGR thickness suggest distinct formation environments. We propose that the Aguas Zarcas parent body was subjected to several minor and major brecciation events that mixed different materials with variable degrees of aqueous alteration together, in agreement with previous studies.”