Heterogeneous distribution of solar and cosmogenic noble gases in CM chondrites and implications for the formation of CM parent bodies

Tomoki Nakamura, Keisuke Nagao, Knut Metzler, Nobuo Takaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Distribution of solar, cosmogenic, and primordial noble gases in thin slices of Murchison, Murray, and Nogoya CM carbonaceous chondrites was determined by the laser microprobe analysis so as to put some constraints on the parent-body processes in the CM chondrite formation. The main lithological units of the three meteorite slices were located by electron microscope observations and classified into classic matrix and clasts of primary accretionary rocks (PARs) based on the classification scheme of texture of CM chondrites. All sample slices contain both clastic matrix and PARs. Clastic matrix shows a comminuted texture formed by fragmentation and mechanical mixing of rocks due to impacts, whereas PARs preserve the original textures prior to the mechanical disruption. Solar-type noble gases are detected in all sample slices. They are located preferentially in clastic matrix. The distribution of solar gases is similar to that in ordinary chondrites where these gases reside in clastic dark portions of these meteorites. The heterogeneous distribution of solar gases in CM chondrites suggests that these gases were acquired not in a nebular accretion process but in parent body processes. Solar energetic particles (SEP) are predominant in CM chondrites. The low abundance of low energy solar wind (SW) component relative to SEP suggests preferential loss of SW from minerals comprising the clastic matrix, due to aqueous alteration in the parent bodies. Cosmogenic noble gases are also enriched in some portions in clastic matrix, indicating that some parts of clastic matrix were exposed to solar and galactic cosmic rays prior to the final consolidation of the CM parent bodies. Primordial noble gases are rich in fine-grained rims around chondrules in all three meteorites. However, average concentrations of heavy primordial gases in the rims differ among meteorites and correlate inversely to the degree of aqueous alteration that the meteorites have experienced. This appears to have been caused by aqueous alteration reactions between fluids and carbonaceous carrier phases of noble gases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-273
Number of pages17
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan


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