Record Details

Mineralogy of nakhlite Martian meteorites: Implications for their relative burial depths
Author and Affiliation:
Mikouchi, T.(Tokyo Univ., Graduate School of Science, Japan);
McKay, Gordon(NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States);
Miyamoto, M.(Tokyo Univ., Graduate School of Science, Japan)
Abstract: Nakhlites are Martian cumulate rocks mainly composed of augite with variable amounts of olivine and groundmass (mesostasis). Currently seven samples are known: Nakhla (Nak), Governador Valadares (GV), Lafayette (Laf), NWA817, Y000593 (Y), NWA998 and MIL03346 (MIL). All the nakhlites show a similar unbrecciated cumulate texture, and their identical crystallization and exposure ages suggest that they originated from the same igneous body on Mars and were ejected by the same impact event. It is important to study difference of their mineralogy to reconstruct the igneous body from which nakhlites originated. Augite grains in all nakhlites have a nearly identical core composition (En39Fs22Wo39) and have thin Fe-rich rims. These Fe-rich rims are zoned to Ca-poor pyroxene compositions and the degree of chemical zoning varies from one sample to another. NWA998 has the most Mg-rich edge composition. The edge composition becomes more Fe-rich in the order of Laf, Nak/GV, Y and NWA817. Unlike other samples, the Fe-rich edge of MIL augite is zoned to the hedenbergite composition. Olivine grains in all samples except Laf and NWA998 show extensive chemical zoning whose degree is clearly related to the chemical zoning of pyroxenes. MIL and NWA817 have the widest compositional ranges (Fa54-93). Y has a slightly narrower compositional range of Fa58-85. Nak and GV have even narrower ranges (Fa58-72). In contrast to these samples, olivines in Laf and NWA998 are homogeneous (Fa66-67 and Fa61-62, respectively). Such chemical zoning (Fa and Ca) can be used to quantitatively estimate their cooling rates (burial depths) because it was clearly formed by interaction with the intercumulus melt. The obtained burial depths are 1-2 m for NWA817, 4 m for MIL, 7 m for Y, approx.10 m for Nak and GV, and >30 m for Laf and NWA998. This order is clearly related to the degree of pyroxene chemical zoning. The abundance and mineralogy of nakhlite groundmass are also consistent with this order. In Nak, GV and Laf, the groundmass abundance is about 7-8%. Y and NWA998 have a slightly higher abundance (10%), while NWA817 and MIL have much higher abundance (20-24%). The groundmass texture is also related to its abundance. The groundmass of Nak, GV, Laf and Y is mainly composed of feldspar laths. In contrast, NWA817 and MIL have glassy mesostasis without feldspar crystals. In NWA998, feldspar is a large blocky crystal with clear twinning, suggesting that it is even deeper than Laf.
Publication Date: Jan 01, 2006
Document ID:
(Acquired May 31, 2006)
Subject Category: GEOPHYSICS
Document Type: Conference Paper
Meeting Information: 19th General Meeting of the International Mineralogical Association; 23-28 Jul. 2006; Kobe; Japan
Financial Sponsor: NASA Johnson Space Center; Houston, TX, United States
Organization Source: NASA Johnson Space Center; Houston, TX, United States
Description: 1p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright
Availability Source: Other Sources
Availability Notes: Abstract Only
› Back to Top
Facebook icon, External Link to NASA STI page on Facebook Twitter icon, External Link to NASA STI on Twitter YouTube icon, External Link to NASA STI Channel on YouTube RSS icon, External Link to New NASA STI RSS Feed
Find Similar Records
NASA Logo, External Link

NASA Official: Gerald Steeman

Sponsored By: NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program

Site Curator: STI Support Services

Last Modified: August 23, 2011

Privacy Policy & Important Notices Disclaimers, Copyright, Terms of Use Freedom of Information Act NASA OCIO Free Adobe PDF Reader Free MS Word Viewer