Early Solar System hydrothermal activity in chondritic asteroids on 1–10-year timescales
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Chondritic meteorites are considered the most primitive remnants of planetesimals from the early Solar System. As undifferentiated objects, they also display widespread evidence of water-rock interaction on the parent body. Understanding this history has implications for the formation of planetary bodies, the delivery of water to the inner Solar System, and the formation of prebiotic molecules. The timescales of water-rock reactions in these early objects, however, are largely unknown. Here, we report evidence for short-lived water-rock reactions in the highly metamorphosed ordinary chondrite breccia Villalbeto de la Peña (L6). An exotic clast (d = 2cm) has coexisting variations in feldspar composition and oxygen isotope ratios that can only result from hydrothermal conditions. The profiles were modeled at T = 800°C and P(H 2O) = 1 bar using modified grain-boundary diffusion parameters for oxygen self-diffusion and reaction rates of NaSiCa- -1Al -1 exchange in a fumarole. The geochemical data are consistent with hydrothermal activity on the parent body lasting only 1-10 y. This result has wide-ranging implications for the geological history of chondritic asteroids.
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