The mineralogy and alteration history of the Yamato-type (CY) carbonaceous chondrites

M.D. Suttle, A.J. King, C.S. Harrison, Q.H.S. Chan, A. Greshake, R. Bartoschewitz, A.G. Tomkins, T. Salge, P.F. Schofield, S.S. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The CY chondrites are a group of thermally metamorphosed carbonaceous chondrites. Although they share similarities with the CM and CI chondrites, their primary properties argue for a distinct classification. Previous studies have highlighted their isotopically heavy bulk compositions (δ17O=10 ‰, δ18O=21 ‰, Δ17O=0 ‰) and exceptionally high sulphide abundances (10-30 vol%). In this work we explore their petrography and alteration history. The CYs accreted low abundances of chondrules (15-20 area%) with average apparent diameters slightly larger (∼320-340 µm) than the CM chondrites. In contrast to the CMs, the CYs record an early episode of brecciation prior to the main window of aqueous alteration. Subsequent fluid activity produced a range of alteration extents with both CY2 and CY1 chondrites documented. Phyllosilicate minerals in the CYs were a mix of serpentine and saponite (including occurrences of Na-saponite) with minor quantities of chlorite (within chondrules). An initial generation of Fe-sulphides formed by sulfidation of metal, and by precipitation from S-rich fluids. Three generations of carbonates are recognized, an early generation that infilled voids left by brecciation and co-precipitated with sulphide, a later generation that co-precipitated with magnetite and a final Fe-Mg-bearing generation which formed large (>100 µm) clasts. Only the first-generation carbonates are found in the CY2s, while the CY1s preserve all three generations. Phosphates occur as Ca-apatite or rarely as Mg-apatite and have hydroxylapatite compositions, indicating low halogen activities in the alteration fluids. Refractory oxides (ilmenite and Cr-spinel) occur as precipitates adhering to the margins of phyllosilicates. They formed late in the alteration sequence and attest to oxidizing conditions. During the late-stages of aqueous alteration Fe-sulphides were replaced by magnetite. Thermal metamorphism (Stage II-IV: ∼300-750 °C) overprinted aqueous alteration leading to dehydration and recrystallization of the phyllosilicate matrix and the decomposition of some carbonate phases. Most Fe-sulphide grains survived heating without decomposition as initial partial decomposition from pyrrhotite to troilite under closed system conditions led to elevated ƒS2 gas and resulted in a stabilizing effect. Retrograde reactions between trapped S2 gas and metal/magnetite formed a final generation of Fe-sulphides. The survival of Fe-sulphides and their stochiometric troilite compositions are evidence for near-closed system heating. Analysis of organic matter by Raman spectroscopy supports an interpretation of short-duration heating (on the scale of minutes to days), at peak temperatures between 750-900 °C. Thus, an impact event was the most likely cause of metamorphic heating.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Early online date30 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Sept 2023


  • carbonaceous chondrites
  • C-type asteroids
  • CY chondrites
  • aqueous alteration
  • thermal metamorphism

Cite this