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Abiotic formation of condensed carbonaceous matter in the hydrating oceanic crust

Abstract : Thermodynamic modeling has recently suggested that condensed carbonaceous matter should be the dominant product of abiotic organic synthesis during serpentinization, although it has not yet been described in natural serpentinites. Here we report evidence for three distinct types of abiotic condensed carbonaceous matter in paragenetic equilibrium with low-temperature mineralogical assemblages hosted by magma-impregnated, mantle-derived, serpentinites of the Ligurian Tethyan ophiolite. The first type coats hydroandraditic garnets in bastitized pyroxenes and bears mainly aliphatic chains. The second type forms small aggregates ( 2 µm) associated with the alteration rims of spinel and plagioclase. The third type appears as large aggregates ( 100-200 µm), bearing aromatic carbon and short aliphatic chains associated with saponite and hematite assemblage after plagioclase. These assemblages result from successive alteration at decreasing temperature and increasing oxygen fugacity. They affect a hybrid mafic-ultramafic paragenesis commonly occurring in the lower oceanic crust, pointing to ubiquity of the highlighted process during serpentinization.
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Marie Catherine Sforna, Daniele Brunelli, Céline Pisapia, Valerio Pasini, Daniele Malferrari, et al.. Abiotic formation of condensed carbonaceous matter in the hydrating oceanic crust. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 9, p.59-63. ⟨10.1038/s41467-018-07385-6⟩. ⟨insu-03589313⟩

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