Toward an Understanding of Phyllosilicate Mineralogy in the Outer Main Asteroid Belt

Driss Takir, Joshua P. Emery, Harry Y. McSween

available online 13 May 2015


Proposed mineralogical linkages between CM/CI carbonaceous chondrites and outer Main Belt asteroids remain uncertain due to a dearth of diagnostic absorptions in visible and near-infrared (∼0.4 to 2.5 μm) spectra of the two sets of objects. Absorptions near 3 μm in both sets hold promise for illuminating the potential linkages. Spectral comparisons of meteorites and asteroids have been challenging because meteorite spectra have usually been acquired in ambient terrestrial environments, and hence were contaminated by atmospheric water. In this study, we compare near-infrared spectra of chondrites measured in the laboratory under asteroid-like conditions (Takir et al. 2013) and spectra of asteroids measured with the long-wavelength cross-dispersed (LXD: 1.9-4.2-μm) mode of the SpeX spectrograph/imager at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) (Takir and Emery 2012). Using the 3-μm band shape, we find that spectral Group 2 CM and CI (Ivuna) chondrites are possible meteorite analogs for asteroids with the sharp 3-μm features, which are predominately located in the 2.5 < a < 3.3 AU region. Spectral Group 2 CM chondrites contain phyllosilicate phases intermediate between endmembers Fe-serpentine and Mg-serpentine, with a petrological subtype ranging from 2.2 to 2.1 (Takir et al. 2013). No meteorite match was found for asteroids showing a rounded 3-μm feature, which tend to be located farther from the Sun (3.0 < a < 4.0 AU), or for asteroids with distinctive spectra like 1 Ceres or 52 Europa. The study of the 3-μm band in meteorites and asteroids has implications for the understanding of phyllosilicate mineralogy and its distribution in the outer Main Belt region.[/su_quote]