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Aqueous alteration without a pronounced oxygen-isotopic shift: implications for the asteroidal processing of chondritic materials

Bland, P.A., Lee, M.R., Sexton, A.S., Franchi, I.A., Fallick, A.E., Miller, M.F., Cadogan, J.M., Berry, F.J., and Pillinger, C.T. (2000) Aqueous alteration without a pronounced oxygen-isotopic shift: implications for the asteroidal processing of chondritic materials. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 35 (6). pp. 1387-1395. ISSN 0026-1114

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Abstract

Primitive meteorites exhibit certain features that are consistent with aqueous and thermal alteration on asteroids, but O-isotopic analyses show only a modest heavy-isotope shift, interpreted as indicating modification in the nebula. To understand the isotopic effects of asteroidal alteration, we take the L-group ordinary chondrites weathered in Antarctica as an analogue. The data show that alteration is a two-stage process, with an initial phase producing only a negligible isotopic effect. Although surprising, a possible explanation is found when we consider the alteration of terrestrial silicates. Numerous studies report pervasive development of channels a few to a few tens of nanometer wide in the incipient alteration of silicates. We observe a similar texture. Alteration involves a restructuring of clay minerals along these narrow channels, in which access of water is restricted. The clay shows a topotactic relationship to the primary grain, which suggests either epitaxial growth of the clay using the silicate as a substrate or inheritance of the original O structure by the clay. Our data suggests the latter: with extensive inheritance of structural polymers by the weathering product, the bulk O- isotopic composition is comparatively unaffected. This offers an explanation for the lack of an isotopic effect in the weathering of the L chondrites. If substantial modification of chondritic materials may occur without a pronounced isotopic effect, it also reconciles existing O analyses of CV chondrites with an asteroidal model of aqueous alteration.

Item Type:Article
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s):Fallick, Prof Anthony
Authors: Bland, P.A., Lee, M.R., Sexton, A.S., Franchi, I.A., Fallick, A.E., Miller, M.F., Cadogan, J.M., Berry, F.J., and Pillinger, C.T.
Subjects:Q Science > QB Astronomy
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Meteoritics and Planetary Science
ISSN:0026-1114

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