Oxygen isotopic composition of relict olivine grains in cosmic spherules: Links to chondrules from carbonaceous chondrites

N.G. Rudraswami, M. Shyam Prasad, K. Nagashima, R.H. Jones

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, available online 12 May 2015


Most olivine relict grains in cosmic spherules selected for the present study are pristine and have not been disturbed during their atmospheric entry, thereby preserving their chemical, mineralogical and isotopic compositions. In order to understand the origin of the particles, oxygen isotope compositions of relict olivine grains in twelve cosmic spherules collected from deep sea sediments of the Indian Ocean were studied using secondary ion mass spectrometry. Most of the data lie close to the CCAM (Carbonaceous Chondrite Anhydrous Mineral) line, with Δ17O ranging from –5 to 0‰. The data overlap oxygen isotopic compositions of chondrules from carbonaceous chondrites such as CV, CK, CR and CM, which suggests that chondrules from carbonaceous chondrites are the source of relict grains in cosmic spherules. Chemical compositions of olivine in cosmic spherules are also very similar to chondrule olivine from carbonaceous chondrites. Several olivine relict grains in three cosmic spherules are 16O-rich (Δ17O –21.9 to –18.7‰), similar to oxygen isotopic compositions observed in calcium aluminium rich inclusions (CAIs), amoeboid olivine aggregates (AOAs), and some porphyritic chondrules from carbonaceous chondrites. These grains appear to have recorded the initial oxygen isotopic composition of the inner solar nebula. Three olivine grains from two cosmic spherules have δ18O values > +20‰, which could be interpreted as mixing with stratospheric oxygen during atmospheric entry.