The carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of ureilites: Implications for their genesis

M. M. Grady, I. P. Wright, P. K. Swart, C. T. Pillinger

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Fourteen ureilites were analyzed for stable C isotopic composition using stepped combustion. The δ13C values over the temperature range 500 to 1000°C are fairly constant for any particular meteorite although there are differences between samples. The similarity in combustion temperatures of pure diamond (600-1000δC) and pure graphite (600-800°C) makes it difficult to ascertain the relative proportions of either component within each sample. However, the constant δ13C values observed over the range 500 to 1000°C strongly suggests that ureilite diamond and graphite have the same isotopic composition. This would seem to confirm that the diamond in ureilites formed from the graphite during a process, presumably an impact event, which did not fractionate C isotopes. There is a variation in C isotopic composition of graphite/diamond intergrowths among ureilites, which is not continuous-the samples fall into two groups, with δ13C values clustered around -10%. and -2%. PDB. These groups are also distinguishable on the basis of the Fe content of their olivines, which may reflect the existence of more than one ureilite parent body. The brecciated ureilite North Haig has a δ13C value of -6.5%. and it is thus possible that this sample contains components from mixed parent materials. Nitrogen abundance and stable isotope measurements were made on five samples using stepped combustion analysis. Nitrogen concentrations range from 25 to 150 ppm and C N ratios are substantially less than for carbonaceous chondrites. Variation in N isotopic composition is wide and there is evidence of different ratios in diamond/graphite, silicate and metal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-915
Number of pages13
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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