• An appraisal of the Serra da Cangalha impact structure using the Euler deconvolution method

      Adepelumi, A. A.; Flexor, J. M.; Fontes, S. L. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      The applicability of the Euler deconvolution method in imaging impact crater structure vis- vis delineation of source depth of the circular magnetic anomaly and/or basement depth beneath the crater is addressed in this paper. The efficacy of the method has been evaluated using the aeromagnetic data obtained over the Serra da Cangalha impact crater, northeastern Brazil. The analyses of the data have provided characteristic Euler deconvolution signatures and structural indices associated with impact craters. Also, through the interpretation of the computed Euler solutions, our understanding of the structural features present around the impact structure has been enhanced. The Euler solutions obtained indicate shallow magnetic sources that are interpreted as possibly post-impact faults and a circular structure. The depth of these magnetic sources varies between 0.8 and 2.5 km, while the Precambrian basement depth was found at ~1.5 km. This is in good agreement with the estimates of the Precambrian basement depth of about 1.1 km, calculated using aeromagnetic data. The reliability of the depth solutions obtained through the implementation of the Euler method was confirmed through the use of the existing information available in the area and the result of previous studies. We find that the Euler depth solutions obtained in this study are consistent with the results obtained using other methods.
    • Decoherence time scales for "meteoroid streams"

      Pauls, A.; Gladman, B. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      We explore the orbital dynamics of Earth-crossing objects with the intent to understand the time scales under which an "orbital stream" of material could produce time-correlated meteorite falls. These meteoroid streams have been suggested to be associated with three well-known meteoritedropping fireballs (Innisfree, Peekskill, and Příbram). We have performed two different analyses of the statistical significance of the "orbital similarity," in particular calculating how often orbits of the same level of similarity would come from a random sample. Secondly, we have performed extremely detailed numerical integrations related to these three cases, and we find that if they were streams of objects in similar orbits, then they would become "decoherent" (in the sense that the day-of-fall of meteorites of these streams become almost random) on time scales of 10^4-10^5 yr. Thus, an extremely recent breakup would be required, much more recent that the cosmic ray exposure ages of the recovered falls in each case. We conclude that orbital destruction is too efficient to allow the existence of long-lived meteoroid streams and that the statistical evidence for such streams is insufficient; random fall patterns show comparable levels of clustering.
    • Weathering of meteorites from Oman: Correlation of chemical and mineralogical weathering proxies with 14C terrestrial ages and the influence of soil chemistry

      Al-Kathiri, A.; Hofmann, B. A.; Jull, A. J. T.; Gnos, E. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      Fifty-four fragments of ordinary chondrites from 50 finds representing all searched areas in central Oman and all weathering stages were selected to compare the physical, chemical, and mineralogical effect of terrestrial weathering with 14C terrestrial ages. 14C ages range from 2.0 to >49 kyr with a median value of 17.9 kyr. The peak of the age range, which is between 10-20 kyr, falls in an arid climate period. A comparison of the chemical composition of Omani chondrites with literature data for unweathered H and L chondrites demonstrates a strong enrichment in Sr and Ba, and depletion in S during weathering. Water contents in H chondrites increase with terrestrial age, whereas L chondrites show a rapid initial increase followed by nearly constant water content. Correlating Sr, Ba, and H2O with age indicates two absorption trends: i) an initial alteration within the first 20 kyr dominated by H2O uptake, mainly reflecting Fe-Ni metal alteration, and ii) a second Baand Sr-dominated stage correlated with slower and less systematic weathering of troilite that starts after H2O reaches ~2 wt%. Sulfur released from troilite partly combines with Ba and Sr to form sulfate minerals. Other parameters correlated with 14C age are degree of weathering, color of powdered meteorites, and the Ni/Fe ratio. Chemical analyses of 145 soils show a high degree of homogeneity over the entire interior Oman Desert, indicating large-scale mixing by wind. Soil samples collected from beneath meteorite finds typically are enriched in Ni and Co, confirming mobilization from the meteorites. High Cr and Ni concentrations in reference soil samples, which decrease from NE to SW, are due to detrital material from ultramafic rocks of the Oman Mountains.
    • A weathering index for CK and R chondrites

      Rubin, A. E.; Huber, H. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      We present a new weathering index (wi) for the metallic-Fe-Ni-poor chondrite groups (CK and R) based mainly on transmitted light observations of the modal abundance of crystalline material that is stained brown in thin sections: wi-0, <5 vol%; wi-1, 5-25 vol%; wi-2, 25-50 vol%; wi-3, 50-75 vol%; wi-4, 75-95 vol%; wi-5, >95 vol%; wi-6, significant replacement of mafic silicates by phyllosilicates. Brown staining reflects mobilization of oxidized iron derived mainly from terrestrial weathering of Ni-bearing sulfide. With increasing degrees of terrestrial weathering of CK and R chondrites, the sulfide modal abundance decreases, and S, Se, and Ni become increasingly depleted. In addition, bulk Cl increases in Antarctic CK chondrites, probably due to contamination from airborne sea mist.
    • A new Martian meteorite from Oman: Mineralogy, petrology, and shock metamorphism of olivine-phyric basaltic shergottite Sayh al Uhaymir 150

      Walton, E. L.; Spray, J. G.; Bartoschewitz, R. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      The Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 150 meteorite was found on a gravel plateau, 43.3 km south of Ghaba, Oman, on October 8, 2002. Oxygen isotope (delta-17O 2.78; delta-18O 4.74), CRE age (~1.3 Ma), and noble gas studies confirm its Martian origin. SaU 150 is classified as an olivine-phyric basalt, having a porphyritic texture with olivine macrocrysts set in a finer-grained matrix of pigeonite and interstitial maskelynite, with minor augite, spinel, ilmenite, merrillite, pyrrhotite, pentlandite, and secondary (terrestrial) calcite and iron oxides. The bulk rock composition, in particular mg (68) [molar Mg/(Mg + Fe) x 100], Fe/Mn (37.9), and Na/Al (0.22), are characteristic of Martian meteorites. Based on mineral compositions, cooling rates determined from crystal morphology, and crystal size distribution, it is deduced that the parent magma formed in a steady-state growth regime (magma chamber) that cooled at <2 degrees C/hr. Subsequent eruption as a thick lava flow or hypabyssal intrusion entrained a small fraction of xenocrystic olivine and gave rise to a magmatic foliation, with slow cooling allowing for near homogenization of igneous minerals. SaU 150 experienced an equilibration shock pressure of 33-45 GPa in a single impact event. Post-shock heat gave rise to localized melting (~11 vol%). Larger volume melts remained fluid after pressure release and crystallized dendritic olivine and pyroxene with fractal dimensions of 1.80-1.89 and 1.89-1.95, respectively, at -Delta-T >70-365 degrees C. SaU 150 is essentially identical to SaU 005/094, all representing samples of the same fall that are similar to, but distinct from, the DaG shergottites.
    • Amino acid photostability on the Martian surface

      ten Kate, I. L.; Garry, J. R. C.; Peeters, Z.; Quinn, R.; Foing, B.; Ehrenfreund, P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      In the framework of international planetary exploration programs, several space missions are planned to search for organics and bio-signatures on Mars. Previous attempts have not detected any organic compounds in the Martian regolith. It is therefore critical to investigate the processes that may affect organic molecules on and below the planets surface. Laboratory simulations can provide useful data about the reaction pathways of organic material at Mars surface. We have studied the stability of amino acid thin films against ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and use those data to predict the survival time of these compounds on and in the Martian regolith. We show that thin films of glycine and D-alanine are expected to have half-lives of 22 +/- 5 hr and of 3 +/- 1 hr, respectively, when irradiated with Mars-like UV flux levels. Modelling shows that the half-lives of the amino acids are extended to the order of 10^7 years when embedded in regolith. These data suggest that subsurface sampling must be a key component of future missions to Mars dedicated to organic detection.
    • Defining the mechanisms that disturb the Sm-Nd isotopic systematics of the Martian meteorites: Examples from Dar al Gani 476 and Allan Hills 77005

      Edmunson, J.; Borg, L. E.; Shearer, C. K.; Papike, J. J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      Microbeam studies of Martian meteorites Dar al Gani (DaG) 476 and Allan Hills (ALH) 77005 have been conducted to identify potential causes of disequilibrium exhibited in their Sm-Nd isotopic systematics. Olivine and maskelynite mineral fractions on the DaG 476 isochron are displaced relative to their positions as dictated by measured mineral compositions. The olivine mineral fractions from ALH 77005 not only have a relatively low Sm/Nd ratio, but appear to contain an unradiogenic component that shifts the olivine mineral fraction off the isochron defined by the pyroxene and maskelynite mineral fractions. Trace components such as melt inclusions, impact melt, high-Si mesostasis, and altered olivine were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy, quantitative electron microscopy, and secondary ion mass spectrometry to determine their potential for disturbing the isotopic systematics of the mineral fractions, assuming that the mineral fractions were not completely pure. Mixing models indicate that the presence of melt inclusions in the DaG 476 olivine mineral fraction lowered its Sm/Nd ratio. The maskelynite mineral fraction contains a related but more evolved mesostasis component that raised the Sm/Nd ratio of the fraction. The position of two olivine mineral fractions below the ALH 77005 isochron is interpreted to reflect small additions of impact melt with a light rare earth element enriched pattern and a non-indigenous, unradiogenic Nd component. Furthermore, the presence of rare earth elements in olivine and maskelynite from both igneous and non-igneous components such as melt inclusions, mesostasis, and impact melt is observed on a fine (<30 m)icrometers scale. Despite the addition of this material, the Sm-Nd ages are not affected. This study demonstrates that detailed mineral separation procedures as employed by modern geochronology laboratories permit reliable ages to be derived from shocked and altered samples.
    • Compositions of unzoned and zoned metal in the CBb chondrites Hammadah al Hamra 237 and Queen Alexandra Range 94627

      Campbell, A. J.; Humayun, M.; Weisberg, M. K. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      The CBb chondrites are rare, primitive, metal-rich meteorites that contain several features, including zoned metal, that have previously been interpreted as evidence for origins in the solar nebula. We have measured concentrations of Ni, Cu, Ga, Ru, Pd, Ir, and Au within both zoned and unzoned metal grains in the CBb chondrites Hammadah al Hamra (HaH) 237 and Queen Alexandra Range (QUE) 94627 using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The refractory elements Ni, Ru, and Ir are enriched in the grain cores, relative to the rims, in the zoned metal. All refractory elements are uniform across the unzoned metal grains, at concentrations that are highly variable between grains. The volatile elements Cu, Ga, and Au are usually depleted relative to chondritic abundances and are most often uniform within the grains but are sometimes slightly elevated at the outermost rim. The Pd abundances are nearly uniform, at close to chondritic abundances, in all of the metal grains. A condensation origin is inferred for both types of metal. The data support a model in which the zoned metal formed at high temperatures, in a relatively rapidly cooling nebular gas, and the unzoned metal formed at lower temperatures and at a lower cooling rate. The CBb metal appears to have formed by a process very similar to that of the CH chondrites, but the CBb meteorite components experienced even less thermal alteration following their formation and are among the most primitive materials known to have formed in the solar nebula.
    • Petrology, geochemistry, and cosmic-ray exposure age of lherzolitic shergottite Northwest Africa 1950

      Gillet, P.; Barrat, J. A.; Beck, P.; Marty, B.; Greenwood, R. C.; Franchi, I. A.; Bohn, M.; Cotten, J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      Northwest Africa (NWA) 1950 is a new member of the lherzolitic shergottite clan of the Martian meteorites recently found in the Atlas Mountains. The petrological, mineralogical, and geochemical data are very close to those of the other known lherzolitic shergottites. The meteorite has a cumulate gabbroic texture and its mineralogy consists of olivine (Fo66 to Fo75), low and high-Ca pyroxenes (En78Fs19Wo2- En60Fs26W14; En53Fs16Wo31-En45Fs14Wo41), and plagioclase (An57Ab41Or1 to An40Ab57Or3; entirely converted into maskelynite during intense shock metamorphism). Accessory minerals include phosphates (merrillite), chromite and spinels, sulfides, and a glass rich in potassium. The oxygen isotopic values lie on the fractional line defined by the other SNC meteorites (Delta-17O = 0.312 ppm). The composition of NWA 1950 is very similar to the other lherzolitic shergottites and suggests an origin from the same magmatic system, or at least crystallization from a close parental melt. Cosmogenic ages indicate an ejection age similar to those of the other lherzolitic shergottites. The intensity of the shock is similar to that observed in other shergottites, as shown by the occurrence of small melt pockets containing glass interwoven with stishovite.
    • Sulfide mineralogy and redox conditions in some shergottites

      Lorand, J.-P.; Chevrier, V.; Sautter, V. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
      Magmatic sulfide mineralogy has been studied in 2 olivine-phyric shergottites (DaG 476 and SaU 005) and 4 basaltic shergottites (Zagami, Shergotty, Los Angeles, and NWA 480). Modal abundances of magmatic sulfides, as estimated by image analysis on thin section, are high (0.16 to 0.53 area percent) and correlate positively with abundances of Fe-Ti oxides. Sulfides are mesostasis minerals, being mostly interstitial grains or locally enclosed in post-cumulus melt inclusions (e.g., SaU 005) in olivine. Sulfides in shergottites are composed of major pyrrhotite containing pentlandite exsolutions associated with minor amounts of Cu sulfides (chalcopyrite and/or cubanite). Hot desert finds (e.g., DaG 476) show abundant fracture-filling iron (oxy)hydroxides of probable terrestrial origin. Unaltered sulfides show metal-rich hexagonal pyrrhotite compositions with metal/sulfur (M/ S) ratio ranging between 0.936 +/- 0.005 and 0.962 +/- 0.01. This compositional range corresponds to the two-phase structural domain 2C + nC of the Fe-S system; however, the high-temperature disordered hexagonal 1C pyrrhotite structure would be in better agreement with magnetic properties of shergottites. Ni contents in pyrrhotite increase from Los Angeles (<0.05 at%) to Shergotty, Zagami, and NWA 480 (0.2-0.5 at%), and DaG 476 and SaU 005 (up to 3 at%). The higher Ni values of pyrrhotite in olivine-phyric shergottites correlate with the abundance of pentlandite exsolutions, both reflecting more primitive Ni-rich sulfide liquids where abundant olivine crystallized. This result and the strong correlation between sulfide abundances and Fe-Ti oxides argue for a primary magmatic origin of these sulfides. Although they reproduce the trend of magmatic oxygen fugacity conditions determined from Fe-Ti oxide pairs, observed pyrrhotite compositions are systematically more metaldeficient compared to those calculated from the Fe-S-O system. This suggests post-magmatic oxidation during cooling on Mars, followed by terrestrial weathering for hot desert finds.