“Sweating meteorites”-Water-soluble salts and temperature variation in ordinary chondrites and soil from the hot desert of Oman

Zurfluh, Florian; Hofmann, Beda; Gnos, Edwin; Eggenberger, Urs (2013). “Sweating meteorites”-Water-soluble salts and temperature variation in ordinary chondrites and soil from the hot desert of Oman. Meteoritics & planetary science, 48(10), pp. 1958-1980. Meteoritical Society at the University of Arkansas, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry 10.1111/maps.12211

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The common appearance of hygroscopic brine (“sweating”) on ordinary chondrites (OCs) from Oman during storage under room conditions initiated a study on the role of water-soluble salts on the weathering of OCs. Analyses of leachates from OCs and soils, combined with petrography of alteration features and a 11-month record of in situ meteorite and soil temperatures, are used to evaluate the role of salts in OC weathering. Main soluble ions in soils are Ca2+, SO42−, HCO3−, Na+, and Cl−, while OC leachates are dominated by Mg2+ (from meteoritic olivine), Ca2+ (from soil), Cl− (from soil), SO42− (from meteoritic troilite and soil), and iron (meteoritic). “Sweating meteorites” mainly contain Mg2+ and Cl−. The median Na/Cl mass ratio of leachates changes from 0.65 in soils to 0.07 in meteorites, indicating the precipitation of a Na-rich phase or loss of an efflorescent Na-salt. The total concentrations of water-soluble ions in bulk OCs ranges from 600 to 9000 μg g−1 (median 2500 μg g−1) as compared to 187–14140 μg g−1 in soils (median 1148 μg g−1). Soil salts dissolved by rain water are soaked up by meteorites by capillary forces. Daily heating (up to 66.3 °C) and cooling of the meteorites cause a pumping effect, resulting in a strong concentration of soluble ions in meteorites over time. The concentrations of water-soluble ions in meteorites, which are complex mixtures of ions from the soil and from oxidation and hydrolysis of meteoritic material, depend on the degree of weathering and are highest at W3. Input of soil contaminants generally dominates over the ions mobilized from meteorites. Silicate hydrolysis preferentially affects olivine and is enhanced by sulfide oxidation, producing local acidic conditions as evidenced by jarosite. Plagioclase weathering is negligible. After completion of troilite oxidation, the rate of chemical weathering slows down with continuing Ca-sulfate contamination.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Zurfluh, Florian; Hofmann, Beda; Gnos, Edwin and Eggenberger, Urs

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

1086-9379

Publisher:

Meteoritical Society at the University of Arkansas, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Nicolas Greber

Date Deposited:

18 Aug 2014 09:09

Last Modified:

07 Oct 2015 11:12

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/maps.12211

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.48234

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/48234

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