Abstract

Carbonaceous chondritic meteorites are considered some of the most primitive surviving materials from the formation of our solar system. Thus, these objects can provide information about planet formation through their physical properties (such as structure, composition, and morphology) which can be characterized using microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. In this work, the analytical methods of Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and optical microscopy are applied to determine the mineralogical, topographical, and elemental compositions of two carbonaceous chondritic fragments: Moss and Murray. Both samples were comprised of chondrules and matrix while Moss contained chondrule rims and Murray included olivine crystals. Minerals found in Moss were graphitic carbon, forsterite (Mg-rich olivine), and enstatite (Mg-rich pyroxene) inside of the inclusions and graphitic carbon, forsterite, enstatite, hematite, and magnetite in the matrix. Murray's inclusions contained forsterite and enstatite, its matrix was comprised of primarily graphitic carbon, and both the inclusions and matrix included unidentified minerals. All of the identified, aforementioned minerals have been found in other carbonaceous meteorites. Both samples were composed of the same main elements (O, Fe, Mg, Si -over 10 wt. %) and both also included the same secondary elements (C, S, Ni, Ca, Al, Na, Cr - less than 10 wt. %). The element percentages by weight were in good agreement with the compositions observed in their respective meteorite classifications (CO for Moss and CM for Murray). Analyzing the Raman spectra of graphitic carbon in both samples showed that Moss had undergone more thermal metamorphism on its parent body than Murray which agrees with current petrologic schemes (3.6 for Moss and 2 for Murray). The results from this study contribute detailed information about the compositions of these chondritic meteorites and add to the research that has already been conducted on extra-terrestrial materials.

Advisor

Analia Dall'Asen

Committee Member

Russell Palma

Committee Member

Chad Wittkop

Date of Degree

2018

Language

english

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Share

COinS