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Evaluation of dehydration mechanism during heating of hydrous asteroids based on mineralogical and chemical analysis of naturally and experimentally heated CM chondrites


Based on the evidence derived from spectroscopic observation and meteorite analysis, some hydrous asteroids were heated and dehydrated for a certain period of time after aqueous alteration. In order to reproduce the dehydration processes, we experimentally heated Murchison CM chondrite at 600°C for 1 h (600°C/1 h), 600°C/96 h, 900°C/1 h, and 900°C/96 h under controlled oxygen partial pressures. The experimental products were compared with Belgica (B-)7904 CM chondrite, a meteorite from a dehydrated asteroid in terms of characteristic mineralogical and compositional properties. B-7904 shows properties intermediate between the two experimental products heated at 900°C/1 h and 900°C/96 h. In addition, the presence or the absence of some temperature-sensitive minerals in B-7904 suggests that it experienced heating at a temperature higher than 700°C but lower than 890°C. The duration of heating, based on the diffusion time needed to achieve the Fe-Mg zoning profile in olivine in B-7904, was estimated to be between 10 and 103 days at 700°C and between 1 to 102 h at 890°C. The obtained durations are much shorter than those expected from the internal heating model which requires prolonged heating over million years. Therefore, it is unlikely that the short-lived radionuclide of 26Al is a heat source for the dehydration of B-7904. Instead, short-duration local heating, such as that from impacts or solar radiation, is a more promising heat source.


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Correspondence to Aiko Nakato.

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Nakato, A., Nakamura, T., Kitajima, F. et al. Evaluation of dehydration mechanism during heating of hydrous asteroids based on mineralogical and chemical analysis of naturally and experimentally heated CM chondrites. Earth Planet Sp 60, 855–864 (2008).

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Key words

  • CM chondrites
  • dehydration
  • internal heating
  • heating experiments
  • Belgica7904