A Caltech Library Service

Discovery of Hg–Cu-bearing metal-sulfide assemblages in a primitive H-3 chondrite: Towards a new insight in early solar system processes

Komorowski, Catherine Caillet and El Goresy, Ahmed and Miyahara, Masaaki and Boudouma, Omar and Ma, Chi (2012) Discovery of Hg–Cu-bearing metal-sulfide assemblages in a primitive H-3 chondrite: Towards a new insight in early solar system processes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 349 . pp. 261-271. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.06.039.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We report here the discovery of a novel meteoritic paragenesis consisting of sub-micrometric HgS, Cu sulfides, and Hg metal, associated with polycrystalline fine-grained native Cu in opaque mineral aggregates heterogeneously distributed in the matrix of the H-3 Tieschitz unequilibrated ordinary chondrite (UOC). The systematic association of Hg with Cu in Tieschitz chondrite provides a unique opportunity to place robust constraints on the origin of these assemblages either by condensation and sulfidation in a local nebular reservoir of non-solar composition, followed by gentle and fast accretion, or by sublimation of Hg from the hot interior of the asteroid and recondensation in its cold outer regions. The sulfide phase relations support low temperature conditions (<300 °C), implying that subsequent to accretion indigenous hydrothermal processing, oxidation/sulfidation, transportation, or shock-induced thermal processing of the assemblage on the parent body earlier proposed are very unlikely and unrealistic. Origin of HgS by sublimation of Hg from the hotter asteroid interior and precipitation as cinnabar in the colder surface regions is discrepant with our findings and can be ruled out because cinnabar occurs only in Tieschitz matrix in alternating rhythmic intergrowth with Cu-sulfide. The sublimation scenario calls for co-evaporation of both the highly volatile Hg as HgS and Hg metal and the moderately volatile Cu both as Cu metal, or their sulfides and deposition as sulfides in alternating episodes. Our findings provide further ample evidence refuting the repeated claim of formation of native copper in chondritic metal by shock-induced impact melting. Cold accretion is the only reasonable possibility to preserve the delicate accretionary intergrowth textures, the polycrystallinity of FeNi-metal, native Cu, Hg–Cu-sulfides and native Hg globules and the high Hg concentration retained in this meteorite. Our findings strongly suggest that Tieschitz resided near the cold surface of the parent asteroid.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Ma, Chi0000-0002-1828-7033
Additional Information:© 2012 Elsevier B.V. Received 28 November 2011. Received in revised form 6 June 2012. Accepted 19 June 2012. Editor: L.Stixrude. Available online 28 August 2012. This study was made possible through the financial support of the Programme National de Planétologie (PNP, 2010)from the Institut National de l’Univers (CNRS, France). CCK is grateful to Dr. François Robert for his continuous support and interest in this study. We thank Franz Brandstätter for a Tieschitz sample and a thin section from the Vienna Museum, Hubert Schulze for careful thin section preparation at BGI in Bayreuth, Olaf Medenbach (University of Bochum, Germany) for precisely coring out the metal-sulfide associations for FIB–TEM investigations, and Michel Fialin and Frédéric Couffignal from the electron microprobes CAMPARIS facility, in Paris. STEM work was supported by the "Nanotechnology Support Project" of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. M. M. acknowledges Tohoku University Global COE program "Global Education and Research Center for Earth and Planetary Dynamics". EBSD analyses were carried out at the California Institute of Technology, Geological and Planetary Sciences Division Analytical Facility, which is supported in part by NSF EAR- 0318518 and the NSF MRSEC Program under DMR-00800065. The authors are grateful to Denton Ebel, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA, and Herbert Palme, Senkenberg Museum, Frankfurt, Germany, for the constructive reviews which helped in considerably improving the manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Programme National de Planétologie (PNP, 2010)UNSPECIFIED
Institut National de l'Univers (CNRS France)UNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Nanotechnology Support ProjectUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Hg- and Cu-sulfides; Hg metal; native Cu; opaque mineral aggregates; Tieschitz unequilibrated ordinary chondrite; accretionary intergrowth textures
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121126-105008199
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Catherine Caillet Komorowski, Ahmed El Goresy, Masaaki Miyahara, Omar Boudouma, Chi Ma, Discovery of Hg–Cu-bearing metal-sulfide assemblages in a primitive H-3 chondrite: Towards a new insight in early solar system processes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volumes 349–350, 1 October 2012, Pages 261-271, ISSN 0012-821X, 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.06.039. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35635
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:26 Nov 2012 19:27
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:16

Repository Staff Only: item control page