High-temperature experimental analogs of primitive meteoritic metal-sulfide-oxide assemblages

Devin L. Schrader, Dante S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We studied the oxidation-sulfidation behavior of an Fe-based alloy containing 4.75 wt.% Ni, 0.99 wt.% Co, 0.89 wt.% Cr, and 0.66 wt.% P in H2-H2O-CO-CO2-H2S gas mixtures at 1000 °C. The samples were cooled at rates of ∼3000 °C/h, comparable to estimates of the conditions after a chondrule-formation event in the early Solar System. Gas compositions were monitored in real time by a quadrupole mass spectrometer residual gas analyzer. Linear rate constants associated with gas-phase adsorption were determined. Reaction products were analyzed by optical microscopy, wavelength-dispersive-spectroscopy X-ray elemental mapping, and electron probe microanalysis. Based on analysis of the Fe-Ni-S ternary phase diagram and the reaction products, the primary corrosion product is a liquid of composition 66.6 wt.% Fe, 3.5 wt.% Ni, 29.9 wt.% S, and minor amounts of P, Cr, and Co. Chromite (FeCr2O4) inclusions formed by oxidation and are present in the metal foil and at the outer boundary between the sulfide and experimental atmosphere. During cooling the liquid initially crystallizes into taenite (average composition ∼15 wt.% Ni), monosulfide solid solution [mss, (Fe,Ni,Co,Cr)1-xS], and Fe-phosphates. Upon further cooling, kamacite exsolves from this metal, enriching the taenite in Ni. The remnant metal core is enriched in P and Co and depleted in Cr at the reaction interface, relative to the starting composition. The unreacted metal core composition remains unchanged, suggesting the reactions did not reach equilibrium. We present a detailed model of reaction mechanisms based on the observed kinetics and sample morphologies, and discuss meteoritic analogs in the CR chondrite MacAlpine Hills 87320.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1719-1733
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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