Modal mineralogy of CM2 chondrites by X-ray diffraction (PSD-XRD). Part 1: Total phyllosilicate abundance and the degree of aqueous alteration
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CM carbonaceous chondrites are samples of incompletely serpentinized primitive asteroids. Using position sensitive detector X-ray diffraction (PSD-XRD) and a pattern stripping technique, we quantify the modal mineralogy of CM2 chondrites: Mighei; Murray; Murchison; Nogoya and Cold Bokkeveld. There is a narrow range in the combined modal volume (vol%) of the most abundant phases Mg-serpentine (25–33%) and Fe-cronstedtite (43–50%). Cold Bokkeveld is anomalous in containing more Mg-serpentine (49–59%) than Fe-cronstedtite (19–27%). Even including Cold Bokkeveld, the range in modal total phyllosilicate is 73–79% (average = 75%). Total phyllosilicate abundance provides a non-ambiguous measure of the degree of aqueous alteration and indicates that these meteorites have all experienced essentially the same degree of aqueous alteration. This reflects pervasive hydration of matrix across CM2 samples.Apparent differences in the alteration of chondrules observed in petrographic studies represent various stages in the progression towards complete hydration of all components but are not manifest in significant differences in modal mineralogy. For all samples there is a limited range in olivine (6.9%) and pyroxene (5%) abundances. Modal abundances of the remaining identified phases also show a limited range: calcite (0–1.3%); gypsum (0–1.6%); magnetite (1.1–2.4%); pentlandite (0–2.1%) and pyrrhotite (1–3.8%).As expected, we observe a strong negative correlation in the modal abundance of anhydrous Fe–Mg silicates (olivine + pyroxene) and total phyllosilicate (Mg-serpentine + Fe-cronstedtite) consistent with the idea that phyllosilicate is forming by aqueous alteration of the anhydrous components. The negative correlation in the modal abundance between Mg–serpentine and Fe-cronstedtite indicates: (a) mineralogic transformation of Fe-cronstedtite to Mg-serpentine by fluid driven recrystallisation or (b) that these meteorites had different initial abundances of olivine and pyroxene. The observed positive correlation in the relative proportion of Mg-serpentine with increasing total phyllosilicate abundance reflects the evolution of increasingly Mg-rich phyllosilicate during aqueous alteration. Fe-cronstedtite is the dominant phyllosilicate, while CM chondrule olivines are forsteritic and will form Mg-serpentine during aqueous alteration. This implies that matrix olivine was more Fe-rich than chondrule olivine prior to aqueous alteration.
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