• The 410,000 year terrestrial age of eucrite Rio Cuarto 001

      Levine, Jonathan; Arazi, Andrés; Faestermann, Thomas; Fernández Niello, Jorge O.; Korschinek, Gunther; La Gamma, Ana María; Negri, Agustín; Rugel, Georg; Steier, Peter; Wallner, Anton (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      We have measured a surprisingly long terrestrial age of 410,000 +20,000/-45,000 years (410 +20/-45 ka) for basaltic eucrite Ro Cuarto 001 using accelerator mass spectrometry of 26Al, 36Cl, and 41Ca. Though many meteorites are known to have survived for tens or hundreds of ka in Antarctica or hot deserts, the mean annual precipitation of 815 mm in Ro Cuarto, Cordoba Province, Argentina, makes the long survival of this meteorite remarkable. We propose two explanations for the exceptional preservation of Ro Cuarto 001. First, the meteorite contains only trace amounts of metal, so the weathering and oxidation of metallic Fe, which commonly destroys chondrites, is ineffective in this case. Second, the meteorite was found in a relatively young deflation basin, and may have been exhumed only recently from beneath a protective layer of soil. Insofar as the survival on Earth of Ro Cuarto 001 is due to environmental factors, there may be other meteorites with comparably long terrestrial ages still to be discovered in the vicinity.