Organic material in meteorites provides insight into the cosmochemistry of the early solar system. The distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Allende and Murchison carbonaceous chondrites was investigated by use of a technique called microprobe laser-desorption laser-ionization mass spectrometry, which permits spatial resolution with approximately a 40-μm spot size. Sharp chemical gradients of PAHs are associated with specific meteorite features. The ratios of various PAH intensities relative to the smallest PAH, naphthalene, are nearly constant across the sample. These findings suggest a common origin for PAHs dating before or during the formation of the parent body, consistent with proposed interstellar formation mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology