International Journal of Astrobiology

Carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in meteoritic organic matter: indicators of alteration processes on the parent asteroid

Mark A. Sephton a1c1p1, Alexander B. Verchovsky a1 and Ian P. Wright a1
a1 Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, Open University, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK7 6AA, UK

Article author query
sephton ma   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
verchovsky ab   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
wright ip   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Macromolecular organic materials in chondrites display significant variations in carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. In recent years, these variations have been interpreted as a record of aqueous and thermal processing on asteroids shortly after the birth of the Solar System. In this paper we review and summarize the key data and main interpretative approaches related to this study area. Armed with these methods we attempt to reinterpret the whole rock chondrite data set in the literature.

(Published Online January 25 2005)
(Received March 31 2004)
(Accepted October 30 2004)

Key Words: alteration; chondrites; organic matter; stable isotopes.

c1 Corresponding author.
p1 Current address: Mark A. Sephton, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Royal School of Mines, Prince Consort Road, Imperial College London, SW7 2BP, UK. e-mail: