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Abstract

The kinetics of the release of the Xe-P3 component from coarse-grained fractions of Orgueil (CI) meteorite nanodiamonds has been investigated using stepped and isothermal pyrolysis. It has been shown that a first-order chemical reaction diffusion model with a single activation energy cannot provide a satisfactory explanation for the observed retention of Xe-P3 during parent body thermal metamorphism and the kinetics of Xe-P3 release from nanodiamonds during isothermal pyrolysis. Using the activation energy and frequency factor calculated according to this model, it is shown that in the course of thermal metamorphism of the Orgueil meteorite almost the entire Xe-P3 component must have been lost in a very short time (<4 yr at approximately 100 °C). However, the calculated retention of Xe-P3 increases significantly if a diffusion model with a spectrum of activation energies is used. In this case, the model can explain not only a high retention of Xe-P3 in the Orgueil nanodiamonds but also the release pattern of the Xe-P3 from Semarkona and Bishunpur nanodiamonds that have experienced a significant gas loss during parent body metamorphism as well as the release of Xe-P3 during isothermal pyrolysis of the Orgueil nanodiamonds. The energetically complicated Xe-P3 distribution is most likely caused by structural damage to the nanodiamond grains or a complex phase composition of carbon in the surface layer of the diamond grains. It is supposed that the structural damage of the diamond grains can have a radiation origin, while the variations of the carbon phase composition in the grain's mantle can be caused by the radiation-induced reactions and/or a thermal effect.