The formation and alteration of the Renazzo-like carbonaceous chondrites I: Implications of bulk-oxygen isotopic composition

Devin Schrader, Ian A. Franchi, Harold C. Connolly, Richard C. Greenwood, Dante S. Lauretta, Jenny M. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


To better understand the role of aqueous alteration on the CR chondrite parent asteroid, a whole-rock oxygen isotopic study of 20 meteorites classified as Renazzo-like carbonaceous chondrites (CR) was conducted. The CR chondrites analyzed for their oxygen isotopes were Dhofar 1432, Elephant Moraine (EET) 87770, EET 92042, EET 96259, Gao-Guenie (b), Graves Nunataks (GRA) 95229, GRA 06100, Grosvenor Mountains (GRO) 95577, GRO 03116, LaPaz Ice Field (LAP) 02342, LAP 04720, Meteorite Hills (MET) 00426, North West Africa (NWA) 801, Pecora Escarpment (PCA) 91082, Queen Alexandra Range (QUE) 94603, QUE 99177, and Yamato-793495 (Y-793495). Three of the meteorites, Asuka-881595 (A-881595), GRA 98025, and MET 01017, were found not to be CR chondrites. The remaining samples concur petrographically and with the well-established oxygen-isotope mixing line for the CR chondrites. Their position along this mixing line is controlled both by the primary oxygen-isotopic composition of their individual components and their relative degree of aqueous alteration. Combined with literature data and that of this study, we recommend the slope for the CR-mixing line to be 0.70±0.04 (2σ), with a δ17O-intercept of -2.23±0.14 (2σ).Thin sections of Al Rais, Shişr 033, Renazzo, and all but 3 samples analyzed for oxygen isotopes were studied petrographically. The abundance of individual components is heterogeneous among the CR chondrites, but FeO-poor chondrules and matrix are the most abundant constituents and therefore, dominate the whole-rock isotopic composition. The potential accreted ice abundance, physico-chemical conditions of aqueous alteration (e.g. temperature and composition of the fluid) and its duration control the degree of alteration of individual CR chondrites. Combined with literature data, we suggest that LAP 02342 was exposed to lower temperature fluid during alteration than GRA 95229. With only two falls, terrestrial alteration of the CR chondrites complicates the interpretation of their whole rock isotopic composition, particularly in the most aqueously altered samples, and those with relatively higher matrix abundances. We report that QUE 99177 is the isotopically lightest whole rock CR chondrite known (δ18O=-2.29‰, δ17O=-4.08‰), possibly due to isotopically light unaltered matrix; which shows that the anhydrous component of the CR chondrites is isotopically lighter than previously thought. Although it experienced aqueous alteration, QUE 99177 provides the best approximation of the pristine CR-chondrite parent body's oxygen-isotopic composition, before aqueous alteration took place. Using this value as a new upper limit on the anhydrous component of the CR chondrites, water/rock ratios were recalculated and found to be higher than previously thought; ratios now range from 0.281 to 1.157. We also find that, according to their oxygen isotopes, a large number of CR chondrites appear to be minimally aqueously altered; although sample heterogeneity complicates this interpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-325
Number of pages18
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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