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Non-destructive characterisation of the Elephant Moraine 83227 meteorite using confocal Raman, micro-energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence and Raman-scanning electron microscope-energy-dispersive X-ray microscopies

Torre-Fdez, Imanol, Aramendia, Julene, Gomez-Nubla, Leticia, Castro, Kepa, Maguregui, Maite, Fdez-Ortiz de Vallejuelo, Silvia, Arana, Gorka, Madariaga, Juan M.
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2018 v.410 no.28 pp. 7477-7488
Raman spectroscopy, apatite, calcite, feldspar, fluorescence, quartz, sulfur, temperature, weathering, Antarctica
The application of a non-destructive analytical procedure to characterise the mineral phases in meteorites is a key issue in order to preserve this type of scarce materials. In the present work, the Elephant Moraine 83227 meteorite, found in Antarctica in 1983 and originated from 4 Vesta asteroid, was analysed by micro-Raman spectroscopy, micro-energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence and the structural and chemical analyser (Raman spectroscopy coupled with scanning electron microscopy-energy-dispersive spectroscopy) working in both point-by-point and image modes. The combination of all these techniques allows the extraction of, at the same time, elemental, molecular and structural data of the studied microscopic area of the meteorite. The most relevant results of the Elephant Moraine 83227 were the finding of tridymite for the first time in a 4 Vesta meteorite, along with quartz, which means that the meteorite suffered high temperatures at a certain point. Moreover, both feldspar and pyroxene were found as the main mineral phases in the sample. Ilmenite, apatite, chromite and elemental sulphur were also detected as secondary minerals. Finally, calcite was found as a weathering product, which was probably formed in terrestrial weathering processes of the pyroxene present in the sample. Besides, Raman spectroscopy provided information about the conditions that the meteorite experienced; the displacements in some feldspar Raman bands were used to estimate the temperature and pressure conditions to which the Elephant Moraine 83227 was subjected, because we obtained both low and high formation temperature feldspar.