Serpentine nanotubes in the Mighei CM chondrite

Thomas J. Zega, Laurence Garvie, István Dódony, P R Buseck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We report the discovery of serpentine nanotubes in the Mighei CM chondrite. High-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) images show that the nanotubes are multiwalled, containing from 3 to 11 layers with periodicities of 0.68±0.08 nm. Some nanotubes appear capped. Their lengths and inner diameters range from 20 to 230 nm and 2 to 9 nm, respectively, with internal volumes of 200-11,300 nm3. Chemical analyses made using electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) give Mg1.7Fe 0.52+Fe0.73+[Si1.5 Fe0.53+O5]H1.8([ ]1.0O2.4S0.6)∑=4, with H determined by difference. The S-bearing and Fe-rich composition of these nanotubes is distinct from previously reported meteoritic and terrestrial materials, and we believe them to be a new variety of serpentine. These intriguing structures likely formed during aqueous-alteration events early in the history of the solar system and potentially served as containers of primordial fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 30 2004


  • Aqueous alteration
  • CM chondrites
  • EELS
  • Fine-grained rims
  • Matrix
  • Nanotubes
  • Serpentine
  • TEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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