Episodic carbonate precipitation in the CM chondrite ALH 84049: An ion microprobe analysis of O and C isotopes

Mark Tyra, Adrian Brearley, Yunbin Guan

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 27 November 2015


“We have determined the O and C isotope compositions of dolomite grains and the C isotope compositions of calcite grains in the highly altered CM1 chondrite, ALH 84049, using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). Chemically-zoned dolomite constitutes 0.8 volume percent (vol%) of the sample and calcite 0.9 vol%. Thirteen separate dolomite grains have δ13C values that range from 37 to 60 (± 2) ‰, δ18O values from 25 to 32 (± 3) ‰, and δ17O values from 10 to 16 (± 3) ‰ (VSMOW). Intragrain δ13C values in dolomite vary up to 10 ‰. The δ13C values of three calcite grains are distinct from those of dolomite and range from 10 to 13 (± 2) ‰ (PDB). Calcite and dolomite appear to record different precipitation episodes. Carbon isotope values of both dolomite and calcite in this single sample encompass much of the reported range for CM chondrites; our results imply that bulk carbonate C and O isotope analyses may oversimplify the history of carbonate precipitation. Multiple generations of carbonates with variable isotope compositions exist in ALH 84049 and, perhaps, in many CM chondrites. This work shows that one should exercise caution when using a clumped isotope approach to determine the original temperature and the isotopic compositions of water for CM chondrite carbonates. Less altered CM meteorites with more-homogeneous C isotope compositions, however, may be suitable for bulk-carbonate analyses, but detailed carbonate petrologic and isotopic characterization of individual samples is advised.”