The University of Arizona

Characterization of insoluble organic matter in primitive meteorites by microRaman spectroscopy



We have analyzed the chemically and isotopically well-characterized insoluble organic matter (IOM) extracted from 51 unequilibrated chondrites (8 CR, 9 CM, 1 CI, 3 ungrouped C, 9 CO, 9 CV, 10 ordinary, 1 CB and 1 E chondrites) using confocal imaging Raman spectroscopy. The average Raman properties of the IOM, as parameterized by the peak characteristics of the so-called D and G bands, which originate from aromatic C rings, show systematic trends that are correlated with meteorite (sub-) classification and IOM chemical compositions. Processes that affect the Raman and chemical properties of the IOM, such as thermal metamorphism experienced on the parent bodies, terrestrial weathering and amorphization due to irradiation in space, have been identified. We established separate sequences of metamorphism for ordinary, CO, oxidized, and reduced CV chondrites. Several spectra from the most primitive chondrites reveal the presence of organic matter that has been amorphized. This amorphization, usually the result of sputtering processes or UV or particle irradiation, could have occurred during the formation of the organic material in interstellar or protoplanetary ices or, less likely, on the surface of the parent bodies or during the transport of the meteorites to Earth. D band widths and peak metamorphic temperatures are strongly correlated, allowing for a straightforward estimation of these temperatures.


Thermal metamorphism;Insoluble Organic matter;unequilibrated Meteorites;Raman spectroscopy

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