Origin of crystalline silicates from Comet 81P/Wild 2: Combined study on their oxygen isotopes and mineral chemistry

Céline Defouilloy, Daisuke Nakashima, David J. Joswiak, Donald E. Brownlee, Travis J. Tenner, Noriko T. Kita

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26 Citations (Scopus)


In order to explore the link between comet 81P/Wild 2 and materials in primitive meteorites, seven particles 5 to 15 μm in diameter from comet 81P/Wild 2 have been analyzed for their oxygen isotope ratios using a secondary ion mass spectrometer. Most particles are single minerals consisting of olivine or pyroxene with Mg# higher than 85, which are relatively minor in 81P/Wild 2 particles (∼1/3 of the 16O-poor cluster). Four particles extracted from Track 149 are 16O-poor and show Δ17O (=δO17−0.52×δO18) values from −2‰ to +1‰, similar to previous studies, while one enstatite (En99) particle shows lower Δ17O value of −7±4‰ (2σ). This compositional range has not been reported among 16O-poor particles in 81P/Wild 2, but is commonly observed among chondrules in carbonaceous chondrites and in particular in CR chondrites. The distribution in Δ17O indicates that 16O-poor 81P/Wild 2 particles are most similar to chondrules (and their fragments) in the CR chondrites and Tagish Lake-like WIS91600 chondrite chondrule silicate grains, which indicates that they likely come from a reservoir with similar dust/ice ratios as CR chondrites and WIS91600. However, differences in the Mg# distribution imply that the 81P/Wild 2 reservoir was comparatively more oxidized, with a higher dust enrichment. Two nearly pure enstatite grains from track 172 are significantly enriched in 16O, with δ18O values of −51.2±1.5‰ (2σ) and −43.0±1.3‰ (2σ), respectively, and Δ17O values of −22.3±1.9‰ (2σ) and −21.3±2.3‰ (2σ), respectively. They are the first 16O-rich pyroxenes found among 81P/Wild 2 particles, with similar Δ17O values to those of 16O-rich low-iron, manganese-enriched (LIME) olivine and CAI (calcium and aluminum-rich inclusions) – like particles from 81P/Wild 2. The major element and oxygen isotopic compositions of the pyroxenes are similar to those of enstatite in amoeboid olivine aggregates (AOAs) in primitive chondrites, in which 16O-rich pyroxenes have previously been found, and thus suggest a condensation origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1


  • Stardust
  • comet 81P/Wild 2
  • crystalline silicate
  • oxygen isotope ratios
  • solar system formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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