The University of Arizona

Coupled organic synthesis and mineral alteration on meteorite parent bodies



The hypothesis that the soluble fraction of the organic compounds present in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites was formed during aqueous alteration of the parent body was tested with masstransfer, reaction-path calculations. In these calculations, we start with likely compositions of the original parent body and asteroidal fluids that are far from thermodynamic equilibrium, and metastable and stable equilibrium constraints are imposed as the total Gibbs free energy of the parent body environment is minimized. The results of these calculations suggest that the classes of soluble organic compounds present in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites could have formed during relatively low temperature aqueous alteration of the meteorite parent body or bodies. The main controls on the potential for synthesis and transformation of organic compounds were the oxidation state of the rock/fluid system, the bulk composition of that system, and the temperatures that were achieved during the alteration event or events. It also appears that the alteration mineral assemblages were influenced by the presence of soluble organic compounds and reaction among them.


Organic matter;Geochemical modeling;carbonaceous Chondrites;Aqueous alteration

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