Characterization of Martian Soil Fines Fraction in SNC MeteoritesSome impact-melt glasses in shergottite meteorites contain large abundances of martian atmospheric noble gases with high (129)Xe/(132)Xe ratios, accompanied by varying (87)Sr/(86)Sr (initial) ratios. These glasses contain Martian Soil Fines (MSF) probably from young volcanic terrains such as Tharsis or Elysium Mons. The composition of the MSF bearing samples is different from the average bulk composition of the host rock. These samples show the following charecteristics: a) simultaeneous enrichment of the felsic component and depletion of the mafic component relative to the host phase and b) significant secondary sulfur/sulfate excesses over the host material. The degree of enrichment and associated depletion varies from one sample to another. Earlier, we found large enrichments of felsic (Al, Ca, Na and K) component and depletion of mafic (Fe, Mg, Mn and Ti) component in several impact melt glass veins and pods of samples ,77 ,78 , 18, and ,20A in EET79001 accompanied by large sulfur/sulfate excesses. Based on these results, we proposed a model where the comminution of basaltic rocks takes place by meteoroid bombardment on the martian surface, leading to the generation of fine-grained soil near the impact sites. This fine-grained soil material is subsequently mobilized by saltation and deflation processes on Mars surface due to pervasive aeolian activity. This movement results in mechanical fractionation leading to the felsic enrichment and mafic depletion in the martian dust. We report, here, new data on an impact-melt inclusion ,507 (PAPA) from EET79001, Lith B and ,506 (ALPHA) from EET79001, Lith A and compare the results with those obtained on Shergotty impact melt glass (DBS).
Rao, M. N. (Lockheed Martin Corp. Houston, TX, United States)
McKay, D. S. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)