Concentration of meteoritic free organic matter by fluid transport and adsorption

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Carbonaceous chondrites contain many abiotic organic compounds, some of which are found in life on Earth. Both the mineral and organic matter phases, of these meteorites, have been affected by aqueous alteration processes. Whilst organic matter is known to be associated with phyllosilicate phases, no such relationship has yet been identified for specific organic compound classes. Furthermore, ongoing sample return missions, Hyabusa 2 and OSIRIS-Rex, are set to return potentially organic rich C-type asteroid samples to the Earth. Consequently, strategies to investigate organic-mineral relationships are required. Here we report spatial data for free/soluble organic matter (FOM/SOM) components (akylimidazole and alkylpyridine homologues) and mineral phases. Low and intermediate molecular weight alkylimidazole homologues are more widely distributed than higher molecular weight members, likely due to their affinity for the aqueous phase. On aqueous alteration of anhydrous mineral phases, transported FOM is adsorbed onto the surface or into the interlayers of the resulting phyllosilicates and thus concentrated and protected from oxidising fluids. Therefore, aiding the delivery of biologically relevant molecules to earth, shortly preceding the origin of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalGeochemical Perspectives Letters
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 17 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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