Science.gov

Sample records for martian meteorites studied

  1. Martian Biosignatures: Tantalizing Evidence Within Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, E. K.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; McKay, D. S.

    2016-05-01

    Several of the martian meteorites offer a unique opportunity to study possible biosignatures over the history of Mars. Reduced carbon components have been found within the pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration phases (iddingsite) of martian meteorites.

  2. Reduced Martian Carbon: Evidence from Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, Everett K.; McKay, David S.; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Clemett, SImon J.; Pillinger, COlin T.; Wright, Ian P.; Verchovsky, A. P.

    2010-01-01

    Identification of indigenous reduced carbon species on Mars has been a challenge since the first hypotheses about life on Mars were proposed. Ranging from the early astronomical measurements to analyses of samples from the Martian surface in the form of Martian meteorites. The first direct attempt to analyze the carbon species on the surface was in 1976 with the Viking GC-MS in-situ experiment which gave inconclusive results at two sites on Mars [1]. With the recognition in 1983 that samples of the Martian surface were already present on Earth in the form of Martian meteorites by Bogard and Johnson [2] new opportunities became available for direct study of Mars's samples in te rlraesbtrioalratories. Carbon isotopic compositional information suggested a reduced carbon component was present in the Martian meteorites [3-5]. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with carbonate globules in ALH84001 were later identified [6,7]. Jull et al [8] noted that an insoluble component was present within Nakhla and more than 75% of its C lacked any 14C, which is modern-day carbon contaminant. This carbon fraction was believed to be either indigenous (i..e. Martian) or ancient meteoritic carbon phase. Within the fractures of Nakhla and ALH84001, Fisk et al [9,10] identified reduced carbon-enriched areas. Gibson et al. [11] using a combination of NanoSIMS, Focused Electron microscopy, Laser Raman Spectroscopy and Stepped-Combustion Static Mass Spectrometry analyses the presence of possible indigenous reduced carbon components within the 1.3 Ga old Nakhla.

  3. The provenance and formation of reduced carbon phases on Mars from the study of Martian meteorites.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steele, A.; McCubbin, F. M.; Fries, M.

    2015-12-01

    Organic carbon compounds are essential building blocks of terrestrial life, so the occurrence and origin (biotic or abiotic) of organic compounds on Mars is of great significance. Indeed, the question of Martian organic matter is among the highest priority targets for robotic spacecraft missions in the next decade includ- ing the Mars Science Laboratory and Mars 2020. Sev- eral Martian meteorites contain organic carbon (i.e., macromolecular reduced carbon-rich material, not nec- essarily related to biota), but there is little agreement on its origins. Initial hypotheses for the origin of this organic carbon included: terrestrial contamination; chondritic meteoritic input; thermal decomposition of Martian carbonate minerals; direct precipitation from cooling aqueous fluids; and the remains of ancient Martian biota. We report on results from the analysis of 14 martian meteorites and show the distribution of organic phases throughout the samples analyzed. We will present formation scearios for each of the types of organic matter discovered. These studies when combined show 4 possible pools of reduced carbon on Mars. 1) impact generated graphite in the Tissint meteorite, 2) secondary hydrothermal generated graphite in ALH 84001, 3) primary igneous reduced carbon in 12 Martian meteorites associated with spinel inclusions in olivine and pyroxene 4) and potentially primary hydrothermally formed organic carbon / nitrogen containing organic species in the maskelynite phases of the Tissint meteorite. These studies show that Mars has produced reduced carbon / organic carbon via several mechanisms and reveal that the building blocks of life, if not life itself, are present on Mars.

  4. High-Resolution Multiple Sulfur Isotope Studies of Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mojzsis, S. J.

    2000-01-01

    Sensitive, high resolution measurements of S-32, S-31, and S-34 in individual pyrite grains in martian meteorite ALH84001 by an in situ ion microprobe multi-collection technique reveal mass-independent anomalies in Delta.S-33 (Delta.S-33 = delta.S-33 - 0.516delta.S-34) in addition to the lowest 634S found in an extraterrestrial material. Low delta.S-34 values in two pyrite grains intimately associated with carbonate in ALH84001 can be explained by the sensitivity of sulfur to fractionations in the geologic environment. Anomalies in Delta.S-33 recorded in ALH84001 pyrites probably formed by gas-phase reactions in the early martian atmosphere (>4 Ga). The discovery of clearly resolvable Delta-S33 anomalies in 2 of 12 ALH84001 pyrites analyzed in their petrographic context in thin section, is considered strong evidence for crust-atmosphere exchange and the global cycling of volatile sulfur species on early Mars. These results corroborate previous measurements by Farquhar and co-workers who used a different technique that measures that bulk Delta.S-33 values of martian meteorites. These independent techniques, and their results, suggest that sulfur affected by mass-independent fractionation is common on Mars.

  5. Martian Meteorites Record Surface Temperatures on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    2005-07-01

    Using published data for argon (Ar) released when Martian meteorites are heated, David Shuster (California Institute of Technology, now at Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkeley, CA) and Benjamin Weiss (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) show that the nakhlite group of Martian meteorites and unique Martian meteorite ALH 84001 were probably not heated above about 0 degree C for most of their histories. This indicates that the surface of Mars has been cold for almost four billion years. If a warm, wet environment existed on Mars (inferred from previous studies of surface features and geochemical parameters), it occurred before four billion years ago.

  6. Do oblique impacts produce Martian meteorites?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nyquist, L. E.

    Geochronological and geochemical characteristics of several achondritic meteorites match those expected of Martian rocks. Several authors have suggested that these meteorites might have originated on Mars, but no satisfactory explanation has been given of how they may have been ejected from the Martian surface. It is suggested that the oblique impact of large meteoroids may produce ejecta which is entrained with the ricocheting projectile and accelerated to velocities in excess of Martian escape velocity. This suggestion is based on earlier experimental studies of oblique impacts and on the observation of several large Martian craters with the characteristic 'butterfly' ejecta pattern produced by low angle impacts. Several acceleration mechanisms may act on the Martian ejecta. The considerations suggest that a Martian origin of the shergottite meteorites is dynamically possible.

  7. Chlorine Abundances in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bogard, D.D.; Garrison, D.H.; Park, J.

    2009-01-01

    Chlorine measurements made in martian surface rocks by robotic spacecraft typically give Chlorine (Cl) abundances of approximately 0.1-0.8%. In contrast, Cl abundances in martian meteorites appear lower, although data is limited, and martian nakhlites were also subjected to Cl contamination by Mars surface brines. Chlorine abundances reported by one lab for whole rock (WR) samples of Shergotty, ALH77005, and EET79001 range 108-14 ppm, whereas Cl in nakhlites range 73-1900 ppm. Measurements of Cl in various martian weathering phases of nakhlites varied 0.04-4.7% and reveal significant concentration of Cl by martian brines Martian meteorites contain much lower Chlorine than those measured in martian surface rocks and give further confirmation that Cl in these surface rocks was introduced by brines and weathering. It has been argued that Cl is twice as effective as water in lowering the melting point and promoting melting at shallower martian depths, and that significant Cl in the shergottite source region would negate any need for significant water. However, this conclusion was based on experiments that utilized Cl concentrations more analogous to martian surface rocks than to shergottite meteorites, and may not be applicable to shergottites.

  8. Life on Mars: Evidence from Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, David S.; Thomas-Keptra, Katie L.; Clemett, Simon J.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; Spencer, Lauren; Wentworth, Susan J.

    2009-01-01

    New data on martian meteorite 84001 as well as new experimental studies show that thermal or shock decomposition of carbonate, the leading alternative non-biologic explanation for the unusual nanophase magnetite found in this meteorite, cannot explain the chemistry of the actual martian magnetites. This leaves the biogenic explanation as the only remaining viable hypothesis for the origin of these unique magnetites. Additional data from two other martian meteorites show a suite of biomorphs which are nearly identical between meteorites recovered from two widely different terrestrial environments (Egyptian Nile bottomlands and Antarctic ice sheets). This similarity argues against terrestrial processes as the cause of these biomorphs and supports an origin on Mars for these features.

  9. No `nanofossils' in martian meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, J. P.; Harvey, R. P.; McSween, H. Y.; Gibson, Everett; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie; Vali, H.

    1997-12-01

    Elongated, segmented forms found on fracture surfaces within the martian meteorite ALH84001 have been proposed to be martian `nanofossils', even though they appear too small to be fossilized bacteria. We have examined similar forms and find that the majority are (non-biological) lamellar growth steps on pyroxene and carbonate crystals. Their segmented surface microstructures are laboratory artefacts resulting from the deposition of conductive heavy-metal coatings.

  10. Dating of Martian Meteorites: Characterization of Luminescence from a Martian Soil Simulant and Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banerjee, D.; Blair, M.; Sears, D. W. G.; McKeever, S. W. S.

    2002-03-01

    This paper characterizes the thermoluminescence and optically stimulated luminescence signals from polymineral fine-grains of a Martian soil simulant JSC Mars-1, and the bulk fraction of an SNC Martian meteorite ALH 77005,74.

  11. Martian soil component in impact glasses in a Martian meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Borg, L. E.; McKay, D. S.; Wentworth, S. J.

    1999-01-01

    Chemical compositions of impact melt glass veins, called Lithology C (Lith C) in Martian meteorite EET79001 were determined by electron microprobe analysis. A large enrichment of S, and significant enrichments of Al, Ca, and Na were observed in Lith C glass compared to Lithology A (Lith A). The S enrichment is due to mixing of plagioclase- enriched Lith A material with Martian soil, either prior to or during impact on Mars. A mixture of 87% Lith A, 7% plagioclase, and 6% Martian soil reproduces the average elemental abundances observed in Lith C. Shock melting of such a mixture of plagioclase-enriched, fine-grained Lith A host rock and Martian soil could yield large excesses of S (observed in this study) and Martian atmospheric noble gases (found by Bogard et al., 1983) in Lith C. These mixing proportions can be used to constrain the elemental abundance of phosphorus in Martian soil.

  12. Studies of Magmatic Inclusions in the Basaltic Martian Meteorites Shergotty, Zagami, EETA 79001 and QUE 94201

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harvey, Ralph P.; McKay, Gordon A.

    1997-01-01

    inclusions; those found within early-forming pigeonite, intermediate and late-forming Ti, Fe-oxides and sulfides, and intermediate to late-forming phosphates. In this summer' s study we have made a detailed study of all of the various forms of inclusions found within the 4 basaltic martian meteorites listed above. Glasses and minerals within the inclusions were analyzed using the Camera SX-100 Electron Microprobe in Building 31. The mineralogy and textural context of the inclusions will then be used to explore the crystallization history of these specimens, and to investigate any differences in crystallization history or parental magma compositions between these rocks. In this manner, the magmatic inclusions provide a road map backwards toward the 'parental' compositions for the basaltic martian meteorites and provide significant insight into the igneous processes found within the crust of Mars.

  13. Martian Meteorite Ages and Implications for Martian Cratering History

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyquist, Laurence E.

    2006-01-01

    New radiometrically determined ages of Martian meteorites add to the growing number with crystallization ages < 1.4 Ga. The observation of mainly geologically young ages for the Martian meteorites, the only exception being the 4.5 Ga ALH84001 [1], is paradoxical when viewed in context of a Martian surface thought to be mostly much older as inferred from the surface density of meteorite craters [2]. There appears to be at least a twofold difference between the observed ages of Martian meteorites and their expected ages as inferred from the ages of Martian surfaces obtained from crater densities.

  14. Martian "microfossils" in lunar meteorites?

    PubMed

    Sears, D W; Kral, T A

    1998-07-01

    One of the five lines of evidence used by McKay et al. (1996) for relic life in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 was the presence of objects thought to be microfossils. These ovoid and elongated forms are similar to structures found in terrestrial rocks and described as "nanobacteria" (Folk, 1993; McBride et al., 1994). Using the same procedures and apparatus as McKay et al. (1996), we have found structures on internal fracture surfaces of lunar meteorites that cannot be distinguished from the objects described on similar surfaces in ALH 84001. The lunar surface is currently a sterile environment and probably always has been. However, the lunar and Martian meteorites share a common terrestrial history, which includes many thousands of years of exposure to Antarctic weathering. Although we do not know the origin of these ovoid and elongated forms, we suggest that their presence on lunar meteorites indicates that the objects described by McKay et al. (1996) are not of Martian biological origin. PMID:11543077

  15. Martian "microfossils" in lunar meteorites?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sears, Derek W. G.; Kral, Timothy A.

    1998-07-01

    One of the five lines of evidence used by McKay et al. (1996) for relic life in the martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 was the presence of objects thought to be microfossils. These ovoid and elongated forms are similar to structures found in terrestrial rocks and described as "nanobacteria" (Folk, 1993; McBride et al., 1994). Using the same procedures and apparatus as McKay et al. (1996), we have found structures on internal fracture surfaces of lunar meteorites that cannot be distinguished from the objects described on similar surfaces in ALH 84001. The lunar surface is currently a sterile environment, and probably always has been. However, the lunar and martian meteorites share a common terrestrial history, including many thousands of years of exposure to Antarctic weathering. While we do not know the origin of these ovoid and elongated forms, we suggest that their presence on lunar meteorites indicates that the objects described by McKay et al. (1996) are not of martian biological origin.

  16. Radiometric Ages of Martian Meteorites compared to Martian Surfaces Ages

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyquist, L. E.; Shih, C.-Y.

    1999-01-01

    The surprisingly young Rb-Sr age of the Shergotty meteorite contributed to early suggestions that it might be of martian origin. their redox state and oxygen isotopic compositions linked the shergottites to the clino-pyroxenite nakhlites and the dunite Chassigny, causing them to be grouped as SNC meteorites. These characteristics, but especially the similarity of the elemental and isotopic compositions of gases trapped in shergottites to those of the martian atmosphere, have caused the martian origin of the SNC and related meteorites to be widely accepted. Although the young ages were one of the early hints of a martian origin for the SNC meteorites, their interpretation has remained somewhat ambiguous. We will review the radiometric ages of the martian meteorites and attempt to place them into the context of martian surface ages.

  17. The Germanium Dichotomy in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Humayun, M.; Yang, S.; Righter, K.; Zanda, B.; Hewins, R. H.

    2016-01-01

    Germanium is a moderately volatile and siderophile element that follows silicon in its compatibility during partial melting of planetary mantles. Despite its obvious usefulness in planetary geochemistry germanium is not analyzed routinely, with there being only three prior studies reporting germanium abundances in Martian meteorites. The broad range (1-3 ppm) observed in Martian igneous rocks is in stark contrast to the narrow range of germanium observed in terrestrial basalts (1.5 plus or minus 0.1 ppm). The germanium data from these studies indicates that nakhlites contain 2-3 ppm germanium, while shergottites contain approximately 1 ppm germanium, a dichotomy with important implications for core formation models. There have been no reliable germanium abundances on chassignites. The ancient meteoritic breccia, NWA 7533 (and paired meteorites) contains numerous clasts, some pristine and some impact melt rocks, that are being studied individually. Because germanium is depleted in the Martian crust relative to chondritic impactors, it has proven useful as an indicator of meteoritic contamination of impact melt clasts in NWA 7533. The germanium/silicon ratio can be applied to minerals that might not partition nickel and iridium, like feldspars. We report germanium in minerals from the 3 known chassignites, 2 nakhlites and 5 shergottites by LAICP- MS using a method optimized for precise germanium analysis.

  18. Do oblique impacts produce Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nyquist, L. E.

    1983-11-01

    It is pointed out that several achondritic meteorites, classified as shergottites, nakhlites, and chassignites, have a number of unusual characteristics. Following the suggestion of Wood and Ashwal (1981) these meteorites are collectively referred to as SNC meteorites. The major element compositions of the SNC meteorites are, in general, distinct from those of other meteorites and lunar samples, and similar to certain terrestrial rocks. The geochemical and geochronological characteristics of the SNC meteorites strongly imply that their parent body was on the order of lunar size or larger and geologically active. Serious attention must be given to the hypothesis of a Martian origin of the SNC meteorites and to dynamic processes capable of delivering Martian meteorites to earth. In connection with the present investigation, it is suggested that oblique impacts of large meteoroids can produce ejecta which is entrained with the ricocheting projectile and accelerated to velocities in excess of Martian escape velocity.

  19. Launch of martian meteorites in oblique impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Artemieva, Natalia; Ivanov, Boris

    2004-09-01

    A high-velocity oblique impact into the martian surface accelerates solid target material to escape velocity. A fraction of that material eventually falls as meteorites on Earth. For a long time they were called the SNC meteorites (Shergotty, Nakhla, and Chassigny). We study production of potential martian meteorites numerically within the frame of 3D hydrodynamic modeling. The ratio of the volume of escaping solid ejecta to projectile volume depends on the impact angle, impact velocity and the volatile content in the projectile and in the target. The size distribution of ejected fragments appears to be of crucial importance for the atmosphere-ejecta interaction in the case of a relatively small impact (with final crater size <3 km): 10-cm-sized particles are decelerated efficiently, while 30-50% of larger fragments could escape Mars. The results of numerical modeling are compared with shock metamorphic features in martian meteorites, their burial depth, and preatmospheric mass. Although it is impossible to accelerate ejected fragments to escape velocity without substantial compression (above 10 GPa), the maximum temperature increase in dunite (Chassigny) or ortopyroxenite (ALH84001) may be lower than 200 degree. This result is consistent with the observed chaotic magnetization of ALH84001. The probability of microbes' survival may be rather high even for the extreme conditions during the ejection process.

  20. Nature of Reduced Carbon in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; McKay, D. S.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; White, L. M.

    2012-01-01

    Martian meteorites provide important information on the nature of reduced carbon components present on Mars throughout its history. The first in situ analyses for carbon on the surface of Mars by the Viking landers yielded disappointing results. With the recognition of Martian meteorites on Earth, investigations have shown carbon-bearing phases exist on Mars. Studies have yielded presence of reduced carbon, carbonates and inferred graphitic carbon phases. Samples ranging in age from the first approximately 4 Ga of Mars history [e.g. ALH84001] to nakhlites with a crystallization age of 1.3 Ga [e.g. Nakhla] with aqueous alteration processes occurring 0.5-0.7 Ga after crystallizaton. Shergottites demonstrate formation ages around 165-500 Ma with younger aqueous alterations events. Only a limited number of the Martian meteorites do not show evidence of significance terrestrial alterations. Selected areas within ALH84001, Nakhla, Yamato 000593 and possibly Tissint are suitable for study of their indigenous reduced carbon bearing phases. Nakhla possesses discrete, well-defined carbonaceous phases present within iddingsite alteration zones. Based upon both isotopic measurements and analysis of Nakhla's organic phases the presence of pre-terrestrial organics is now recognized. The reduced carbon-bearing phases appear to have been deposited during preterrestrial aqueous alteration events that produced clays. In addition, the microcrystalline layers of Nakhla's iddingsite have discrete units of salt crystals suggestive of evaporation processes. While we can only speculate on the origin of these unique carbonaceous structures, we note that the significance of such observations is that it may allow us to understand the role of Martian carbon as seen in the Martian meteorites with obvious implications for astrobiology and the pre-biotic evolution of Mars. In any case, our observations strongly suggest that reduced organic carbon exists as micrometer- size, discrete structures

  1. Lunar and martian meteorite delivery services

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1994-01-01

    Launch mechanisms for lunar and martian meteorites have been investigated, by integrating physical modeling constraints, geochemical cosmic-ray exposure (CRE) constraints, and petrologic constraints. The potential source region for lunar meteorites is remarkably small compared to the final crater volume. CRE constraints indicate that most launches start at depths of less than or equal to 3.2 m, and cratering theory implies derivation of suitably accelerated objects from a subvolume with diameter only about 0.3 x the final crater diameter. The shallow depth provenance is probably related to shock-wave interference, enhanced by the lunar regolith's extremely low compressional wave velocity. CRE constraints alone imply that four to five separate launch events are represented among the eight well-studied lunar meteorites. Most of the lunar meteorites are regolith breccias, which tend to show only limited compositional diversity within any kilometer-scale region of the Moon. Several others are polymict breccias, which also show relatively subdued compositional diversity, compared to igneous rocks. The observed diversity among these samples in terms of abundances of mare basalt and KREEP, and in Mg/(Mg + Fe) ratio, implies that among eight well-studied lunar meteorites only two potential source craters pairings are plausible: between Asuka-881757 + Y-793169 (most probable) and between Y-793274 + EET875721. Altogether, these eight lunar meteorites apparently represent at least six separate source craters, including three in the past 10(exp 5) years and five in the past 10(exp 6) years. CRE constraints imply that SNC meteorites are launched from systematically greater than lunar meteorites. SNCs are also systematically bigger, and all nine well-studied SNCs are uncommonly young (by martian standards) mafic igneous rocks. Comparison between Viking and Apollo results reveals that rocks the size of common meteorites are remarkably scarce in the martian regolith, probably due

  2. [Meteoritics and mineralogy on possible ancient Martian life].

    PubMed

    Tsuchiyama, A

    1996-12-01

    Possible relic biogenic activity in martian meteorite ALH84001 was proposed by McKay et al. (Science, 273, 924-930, 1996). This ancient meteorite of 4.5 billion years old contains abundant carbonates as secondary minerals precipitated from a fluid on the martian surface. They showed the following lines of evidence for the ancient life; (1) unique mineral compositions and biominerals, (2) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in association with the carbonates, and (3) unique structures and morphologies typical of nanobacteria or microfossils. This review is divided into two parts; one is on the martian meteorites in general and ALH84001, which has many features unlike other martian meteorites, and the other is on mineralogical (biomineralogical) and geochemical features of the carbonates and microfossil-like structures. There is little doubt that ALH84001 is from Mars as well as eleven other SNC meteorites. However, the mineralogical and biomineralogical evidence for martian bacteria given by McKay et al. (1996) is controversial, and could be formed by non-biogenic processes. Thus, further study of ALH84001 and other martian meteorites is required. We also need to consider the future Mars mission especially sample return mission. PMID:11540347

  3. Ar-40/Ar-39 Studies of Martian Meteorite RBT 04262 and Terrestrial Standards

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, J.; Herzog, G. F.; Turrin, B.; Lindsay, F. N.; Delaney, J. S.; Swisher, C. C., III; Nagao, K.; Nyquist, L. E.

    2014-01-01

    Park et al. recently presented an Ar-40/Ar-39 dating study of maskelynite separated from the Martian meteorite RBT 04262. Here we report an additional study of Ar-40/Ar-39 patterns for smaller samples, each consisting of only a few maskelynite grains. Considered as a material for Ar-40/Ar-39 dating, the shock-produced glass maskelynite has both an important strength (relatively high K concentration compared to other mineral phases) and some potentially problematic weaknesses. At Rutgers, we have been analyzing small grains consisting of a single phase to explore local effects that might be averaged and remain hidden in larger samples. Thus, to assess the homogeneity of the RBT maskelynite and for comparison with the results of, we analyzed six approx. 30 microgram samples of the same maskelynite separate they studied. Furthermore, because most Ar-40/Ar-39 are calculated relative to the age of a standard, we present new Ar-40/Ar-39 age data for six standards. Among the most widely used standards are sanidine from Fish Canyon (FCs) and various hornblendes (hb3gr, MMhb-1, NL- 25), which are taken as primary standards because their ages have been determined by independent, direct measurements of K and A-40.

  4. A study of xenon isotopes in a martian meteorite using the RELAX ultrasensitive mass spectrometer

    SciTech Connect

    Whitby, J A; Gilmour, J D; Turner, G

    1997-01-15

    The Refrigerator Enhanced Analyser for Xenon (RELAX), an ultrasensitive resonance ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer, has been used with a laser microprobe to investigate the isotopic composition of xenon trapped in the martian meteorite ALH84001. The laser microprobe has a spatial resolution of the order of 100{mu}m thus allowing the in situ analysis of individual mineral grains in a polished section when combined with ultrasensitive, low blank sample analysis. We present results showing that the mineral orthopyroxene in ALH84001 contains a trapped xenon component consistent with a martian origin. Additionally, a cosmic ray exposure age of 15Ma for ALH84001 is obtained from spallation derived xenon trapped within an apatite grain.

  5. Carbonates in Martian Meteorites - A Reappraisal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grady, M. M.; Wright, I. P.; Douglas, C.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1995-09-01

    the mineralogy of the carbonates to be constrained. since the peak decomposition temperature of carbonates varies with mineralogical composition. Preliminary results indicate that the carbonates in martian meteorites might indeed be more 13C-enriched than previously inferred [6]. Stepped combustion of Nakhla reveals a maximum in yield at 475 degrees C, corresponding to the release of an iron-rich carbonate, with delta^(13)C +21 per mil. Since there is an overlap of the carbonate with low temperature carbonaceous material, this value is a lower limit. Indeed, delta^(13)C from acid leaching experiments reaches a value around +50 per mil, similar to the ALH 84001 studies [1, 5]. Models of surface processes on Mars [e.g. 4, 6] have assumed that C07 from the martian atmosphere is in equilibrium with CO2 dissolved in circulating crustal fluids, resulting in the precipitation of isotopically heavy carbonates. However, if the delta^(13)C of martian carbonates is ~ +50 per mil, then the models must be re-adjusted. It is unlikely that delta^(13)C of the carbonate has increased with time, e.g. by decarbonation reactions, since there is no parallel effect in delta^(18)O, and no petrographic evidence for the reaction. The delta^(13)C of the martian atmosphere is poorly-constrained; it is possible that its isotopic composition is heavier than believed, and that delta^(13)C has decreased with time, perhaps by the addition of isotopically light magmatic carbon degassed from the planet [8]. Additional measurements of carbonates in martian meteorites will allow better comprehension of fluid-atmosphere interactions on Mars. References: [1] Carr R. H. et al. (1985) Nature, 314, 248-250. [2] Gooding J. L. et al. (1991) Meteoritics, 26, 135-143. [3] Grady M. M. et al. (1994) Meteoritics, 29, 469. [4] Romanek C. S. et al. (1994) Nature, 372, 655-657. [5] Jull A. J. T. et al. (1995) Meteoritics, 30, 311-318. [6] Wright I. P. et al. (1992) GCA, 56, 817-826. [7] Rosenbaum J. and Sheppard S. F

  6. Transmission Electron Microscope Studies of Martian 'Iddingsite' in the Nakhlite Meteorite MIL 090032

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallis, L.; Ishii, H.; Bradley, J. P.; Taylor, J.

    2012-12-01

    As with the other nakhlites, MIL 090032 contains iddingsite-like alteration veins in the olivine phenocrysts that reportedly originated on Mars[1]. These 'iddingsite' veins have been analysed in a number of the nakhlite meteorites[2], and the presence of hydrous silicate gel, smectite clays, siderite, Fe-oxides, gypsum and carbonate have been reported. The presence and proportion of these phases in the different nakhlites appears to relate to the composition and concentration of the martian brine that flowed through each, thus supporting the theory that the nakhlite secondary alteration phases were produced by an evaporation sequence on the surface of Mars[3]. We analyzed these martian 'iddingsite' veins in MIL 090032 with the aim of placing it and its three paired meteorites within the nakhlite alteration sequence. By expanding our knowledge of this alteration sequence, we will gain extra insight into the conditions on the martian surface at the time these 'iddingsite' veins formed (<1.3 Ga). We utilized the 80-300 kV aberration-corrected FEI Titan (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscope (S-TEM) system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to analyse a ~15×8μm Focused Ion Beam (FIB) section of an 'iddingsite' vein in MIL 090032. To allow the electrons to be transmitted through the FIB section, it was milled down to ~150 nm thickness. Our initial TEM data indicate this FIB section contains hydrous amorphous silicate gel towards the center, with areas of phyllosilicate (possibly nontronite) interspersed within this central zone. Towards the outer edge of the vein jarosite and then gypsum sulfates were present. At the very edge only partially broken down olivine was observed. The presence of phyllosilicate and silicate gel in this vein suggests the 'iddingsite' in MIL 090032 was produced by water-rich brine, and the abundance of sulfates suggests the brine was enriched in sulfur. This assemblage of minerals is most in line with that of the 'iddingsite

  7. Did Martian Meteorites Come From These Sources?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martel, L. M. V.

    2007-01-01

    Large rayed craters on Mars, not immediately obvious in visible light, have been identified in thermal infrared data obtained from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) onboard Mars Odyssey. Livio Tornabene (previously at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and now at the University of Arizona, Tucson) and colleagues have mapped rayed craters primarily within young (Amazonian) volcanic plains in or near Elysium Planitia. They found that rays consist of numerous chains of secondary craters, their overlapping ejecta, and possibly primary ejecta from the source crater. Their work also suggests rayed craters may have formed preferentially in volatile-rich targets by oblique impacts. The physical details of the rayed craters and the target surfaces combined with current models of Martian meteorite delivery and cosmochemical analyses of Martian meteorites lead Tornabene and coauthors to conclude that these large rayed craters are plausible source regions for Martian meteorites.

  8. Phosphates and Carbon in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mojzsis, Stephen J.

    2000-01-01

    This paper proposes tests for exobiological examination of samples prior to obtaining martian rocks of known provenance via future sample-return missions. If we assume that all of the secondary minerals in martian meteorite ET79001 were indeed cogenetic and originate from Mars, we list conclusions that can be drawn that are of exobiological interest. This work serves as a preamble for the subsequent work listed below.

  9. The Chlorine Isotope Composition of Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, Z. D.; Shearer, C. K.; Agee, C.; Burger, P. V.; McKeegan, K. D.

    2014-11-01

    The Cl isotope composition of martian meteorites range from -3.8 to +8.6 per mil. Ol-phyric shergottites are lightest; crustally contaminated samples are heaviest, basaltic shergottites are in-between. The system is explained as two component mixing.

  10. Formation of a Martian Pyroxenite: A Comparative Study of the Nakhlite Meteorites and Theo's Flow

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedman, R. C.; Taylor, G. J.; Treiman, A. H.

    1999-01-01

    The unusual composition of the nakhlites, a group of pyroxenitic martian meteorites with young ages, presents an opportunity to learn about nonbasaltic magmatic activity on another planet. However, the limited number of these meteorites makes unraveling their history difficult. A promising terrestrial analog for the formation of the nakhlites is Theo's Flow in Ontario, Canada. This atypical, 120 m-thick flow differentiated in place, forming distinct layered lithologies of peridotite, pyroxenite, and gabbro. Theo's pyroxenite and the nakhlites share strikingly similar petrographies, with concentrated euhedral to subhedral augite grains set in a plagioclase-rich matrix. These two suites of rocks also share specific petrologic features, mineral and whole-rock compositional features, and size and spatial distributions of cumulus grains. The numerous similarities suggest that the nakhlites formed by a similar mechanism in a surface lava flow or shallow intrusion. Their formation could have involved settling of crystals in a phenocryst-laden flow or in situ nucleation and growth of pyroxenes in an ultramafic lava flow. The latter case is more likely and requires steady-state nucleation and growth of clusters of pyroxene grains (and olivine in the nakhlites), circulating in a strongly convecting melt pool, followed by settling and continued growth in a thickening cumulate pile. Trapped pockets of intercumulus liquid in the pile gradually evolved, finally growing Fe-enriched rims on cumulus grains. With sufficient evolution, the melt reached plagioclase supersaturation, causing rapid growth of plagioclase sprays and late-stage mesostasis growth.

  11. Alteration of Sedimentary Clasts in Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McCubbin, F. M.; Tartese, R.; Santos, A. R.; Domokos, G.; Muttik, N.; Szabo, T.; Vazquez, J.; Boyce, J. W.; Keller, L. P.; Jerolmack, D. J.; Anand, M.; Moser, D. E.; Delhaye, T.; Shearer, C. K.; Agee, C. B.

    2014-01-01

    The martian meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and pairings represent the first brecciated hand sample available for study from the martian surface [1]. Detailed investigations of NWA 7034 have revealed substantial lithologic diversity among the clasts [2-3], making NWA 7034 a polymict breccia. NWA 7034 consists of igneous clasts, impact-melt clasts, and "sedimentary" clasts represented by prior generations of brecciated material. In the present study we conduct a detailed textural and geochemical analysis of the sedimentary clasts.

  12. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Martian Meteorites: Chemical Weathering

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Martian Meteorites: Chemical Weathering" included the following reports:Chemical Weathering Records of Martian Soils Preserved in the Martian Meteorite EET79001; Synchrotron X-Ray Diffraction Analysis of Meteorites in Thin Section: Preliminary Results; A Survey of Olivine Alteration Products Using Raman Spectroscopy; and Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd Isotope Systematics of Shergottite NWA 856: Crystallization Age and Implications for Alteration of Hot Desert SNC Meteorites.

  13. A Pb isotopic resolution to the Martian meteorite age paradox

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellucci, J. J.; Nemchin, A. A.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Snape, J. F.; Kielman, R. B.; Bland, P. A.; Benedix, G. K.

    2016-01-01

    Determining the chronology and quantifying various geochemical reservoirs on planetary bodies is fundamental to understanding planetary accretion, differentiation, and global mass transfer. The Pb isotope compositions of individual minerals in the Martian meteorite Chassigny have been measured by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). These measurements indicate that Chassigny has mixed with a Martian reservoir that evolved with a long-term 238U/204Pb (μ) value ˜ two times higher than those inferred from studies of all other Martian meteorites except 4.428 Ga clasts in NWA7533. Any significant mixing between this and an unradiogenic reservoir produces ambiguous trends in Pb isotope variation diagrams. The trend defined by our new Chassigny data can be used to calculate a crystallization age for Chassigny of 4.526 ± 0.027 Ga (2σ) that is clearly in error as it conflicts with all other isotope systems, which yield a widely accepted age of 1.39 Ga. Similar, trends have also been observed in the Shergottites and have been used to calculate a >4 Ga age or, alternatively, attributed to terrestrial contamination. Our new Chassigny data, however, argue that the radiogenic component is Martian, mixing occurred on the surface of Mars, and is therefore likely present in virtually every Martian meteorite. The presence of this radiogenic reservoir on Mars resolves the paradox between Pb isotope data and all other radiogenic isotope systems in Martian meteorites. Importantly, Chassigny and the Shergottites are likely derived from the northern hemisphere of Mars, while NWA 7533 originated from the Southern hemisphere, implying that the U-rich reservoir, which most likely represents some form of crust, must be widespread. The significant age difference between SNC meteorites and NWA 7533 is also consistent with an absence of tectonic recycling throughout Martian history.

  14. Magmatic water in the martian meteorite Nakhla

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallis, L. J.; Taylor, G. J.; Nagashima, K.; Huss, G. R.

    2012-12-01

    Mars does not recycle crustal materials via plate tectonics. For this reason the magmatic water reservoir of the martian mantle has not been affected by surface processes, and the deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio of this water should represent the original primordial martian value. Following this logic, hydrous primary igneous minerals on the martian surface should also carry this primordial D/H ratio, assuming no assimilation of martian atmospheric water during crystallization and no major hydrogen fractionation during melt degassing. Hydrous primary igneous minerals, such as apatite and amphibole, are present in martian meteorites here on Earth. Providing these minerals have not been affected by terrestrial weathering, martian atmospheric water, or shock processes after crystallization, they should contain a good approximation of the primordial martian D/H ratio. As Nakhla was seen to fall in the Egyptian desert in 1911, terrestrial contamination is minimized in this meteorite. The nakhlites are also among the least shocked of the martian meteorites. Therefore, apatite within Nakhla could contain primordial martian hydrogen isotope ratios. We produced in-situ measurements of the D/H ratios in Nakhla apatite grains, using a Cameca ims 1280 ion-microprobe. Our measurements produced D/H values in Nakhla apatite similar to terrestrial values, despite strong evidence that our samples were not significantly contaminated by terrestrial hydrogen. These results suggest that water trapped in the martian mantle has a similar D/H to that of the Earth. Therefore, the water of these two planets may have originated from the same source material. The D/H ratios of the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, and the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2, are similar to the D/H of the two planets, making both these primitive inner solar system materials strong candidates for the source of the terrestrial planets water. These results support recent dynamical models of the formation of the

  15. Martian meteorites and Martian magnetic anomalies: A new perspective from NWA 7034

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gattacceca, J.; Rochette, P.; Scorzelli, R. B.; Munayco, P.; Agee, C.; Quesnel, Y.; Cournède, C.; Geissman, J.

    2014-07-01

    We present the magnetic properties of the Noachian Martian breccia NWA 7034. Among the 25 unpaired Martian meteorites studied to date, NWA 7034 has a unique magnetic mineralogy. It contains about 15 wt % of iron oxides as magnetite that has experienced cation substitution and partial alteration to maghemite, with about a quarter of the oxides being pure maghemite. It also contains oxyhydroxides in the form of superparamagnetic goethite. The presence of maghemite and goethite makes NWA 7034 the most oxidized Martian meteorite. The overall magnetic assemblage is partly linked to near-surface hydrothermal alteration. The high concentration of magnetic phases with high laboratory unblocking temperatures makes NWA 7034 a plausible analogue source lithology for the strong magnetization of the Martian Noachian crust. Near-surface hydrothermal alteration can enhance the remanence of Martian rocks and account for local, high magnetic anomalies of shallow source.

  16. Amino acids in the Martian meteorite Nakhla

    PubMed Central

    Glavin, Daniel P.; Bada, Jeffrey L.; Brinton, Karen L. F.; McDonald, Gene D.

    1999-01-01

    A suite of protein and nonprotein amino acids were detected with high-performance liquid chromatography in the water- and acid-soluble components of an interior fragment of the Martian meteorite Nakhla, which fell in Egypt in 1911. Aspartic and glutamic acids, glycine, alanine, β-alanine, and γ-amino-n-butyric acid (γ-ABA) were the most abundant amino acids detected and were found primarily in the 6 M HCl-hydrolyzed, hot water extract. The concentrations ranged from 20 to 330 parts per billion of bulk meteorite. The amino acid distribution in Nakhla, including the d/l ratios (values range from <0.1 to 0.5), is similar to what is found in bacterially degraded organic matter. The amino acids in Nakhla appear to be derived from terrestrial organic matter that infiltrated the meteorite soon after its fall to Earth, although it is possible that some of the amino acids are endogenous to the meteorite. The rapid amino acid contamination of Martian meteorites after direct exposure to the terrestrial environment has important implications for Mars sample-return missions and the curation of the samples from the time of their delivery to Earth. PMID:10430856

  17. Amino acids in the Martian meteorite Nakhla

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glavin, D. P.; Bada, J. L.; Brinton, K. L.; McDonald, G. D.

    1999-01-01

    A suite of protein and nonprotein amino acids were detected with high-performance liquid chromatography in the water- and acid-soluble components of an interior fragment of the Martian meteorite Nakhla, which fell in Egypt in 1911. Aspartic and glutamic acids, glycine, alanine, beta-alanine, and gamma-amino-n-butyric acid (gamma-ABA) were the most abundant amino acids detected and were found primarily in the 6 M HCl-hydrolyzed, hot water extract. The concentrations ranged from 20 to 330 parts per billion of bulk meteorite. The amino acid distribution in Nakhla, including the D/L ratios (values range from <0.1 to 0.5), is similar to what is found in bacterially degraded organic matter. The amino acids in Nakhla appear to be derived from terrestrial organic matter that infiltrated the meteorite soon after its fall to Earth, although it is possible that some of the amino acids are endogenous to the meteorite. The rapid amino acid contamination of Martian meteorites after direct exposure to the terrestrial environment has important implications for Mars sample-return missions and the curation of the samples from the time of their delivery to Earth.

  18. Martian surface paleotemperatures from thermochronology of meteorites.

    PubMed

    Shuster, David L; Weiss, Benjamin P

    2005-07-22

    The temporal evolution of past martian surface temperatures is poorly known. We used thermochronology and published noble gas and petrographic data to constrain the temperature histories of the nakhlites and martian meteorite ALH84001. We found that the nakhlites have not been heated to more than 350 degrees C since they formed. Our calculations also suggest that for most of the past 4 billion years, ambient near-surface temperatures on Mars are unlikely to have been much higher than the present cold (<0 degrees C) state. PMID:16040703

  19. Martian Surface Paleotemperatures from Thermochronology of Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shuster, David L.; Weiss, Benjamin P.

    2005-07-01

    The temporal evolution of past martian surface temperatures is poorly known. We used thermochronology and published noble gas and petrographic data to constrain the temperature histories of the nakhlites and martian meteorite ALH84001. We found that the nakhlites have not been heated to more than 350°C since they formed. Our calculations also suggest that for most of the past 4 billion years, ambient near-surface temperatures on Mars are unlikely to have been much higher than the present cold (<0°C) state.

  20. Terrestrial microbes in martian and chondritic meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Airieau, S.; Picenco, Y.; Andersen, G.

    2007-08-01

    Introduction: The best extraterrestrial analogs for microbiology are meteorites. The chemistry and mineralogy of Asteroid Belt and martian (SNC) meteorites are used as tracers of processes that took place in the early solar system. Meteoritic falls, in particular those of carbonaceous chondrites, are regarded as pristine samples of planetesimal evolution as these rocks are primitive and mostly unprocessed since the formation of the solar system 4.56 billion years ago. Yet, questions about terrestrial contamination and its effects on the meteoritic isotopic, chemical and mineral characteristics often arise. Meteorites are hosts to biological activity as soon as they are in contact with the terrestrial biosphere, like all rocks. A wide biodiversity was found in 21 chondrites and 8 martian stones, and was investigated with cell culture, microscopy techniques, PCR, and LAL photoluminetry. Some preliminary results are presented here. The sample suite included carbonaceous chondrites of types CR, CV, CK, CO, CI, and CM, from ANSMET and Falls. Past studies documented the alteration of meteorites by weathering and biological activity [1]-[4]. Unpublished observations during aqueous extraction for oxygen isotopic analysis [5], noted the formation of biofilms in water in a matter of days. In order to address the potential modification of meteoritic isotopic and chemical signatures, the culture of microbial contaminating species was initiated in 2005, and after a prolonged incubation, some of the species obtained from cell culture were analyzed in 2006. The results are preliminary, and a systematic catalog of microbial contaminants is developing very slowly due to lack of funding. Methods: The primary method was cell culture and PCR. Chondrites. Chondritic meteorite fragments were obtained by breaking stones of approximately one gram in sterile mortars. The core of the rocks, presumably less contaminated than the surface, was used for the present microbial study, and the

  1. Biogenic Magnetite in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Bazylinski, Dennis; Wentworth, Susan J.; McKay, David S.; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Clemett, Simon J.; Bell, Mary Sue; Golden, D. C.

    1999-01-01

    Fine-grained magnetite (Fe3O4) in martian meteorite ALH84001, generally less than 200 microns in size, is located primarily in the rims that surround the carbonate globules. There are two populations of ALH84001 magnets, which are likely formed at low temperature by inorganic and biogenic processes. Nearly 27/o of ALH84001 magnetite particles. also called elongated prisms, have characteristics which make them uniquely identifiable as biological precipitates.

  2. Biogenic Magnetite in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Bazylinski, Dennis; Wentworth, Susan J.; McKay, David S.; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Clemett, SImon J.; Bell, Mary Sue; Golden, D. C.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Fine-grained magnetite (Fe3O4) in martian meteorite ALH84001, generally less than 200 nm in size, is located primarily in the rims that surround the carbonate globules. There are two populations of ALH84001 magnetites, which are likely formed at low temperature by inorganic and biogenic processes. Nearly 27% of ALH84001 magnetite particles, also called elongated prisms, have characteristics which make them uniquely identifiable as biological precipitates. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  3. Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites

    PubMed Central

    Blamey, Nigel J. F.; Parnell, John; McMahon, Sean; Mark, Darren F.; Tomkinson, Tim; Lee, Martin; Shivak, Jared; Izawa, Matthew R. M.; Banerjee, Neil R.; Flemming, Roberta L.

    2015-01-01

    The putative occurrence of methane in the Martian atmosphere has had a major influence on the exploration of Mars, especially by the implication of active biology. The occurrence has not been borne out by measurements of atmosphere by the MSL rover Curiosity but, as on Earth, methane on Mars is most likely in the subsurface of the crust. Serpentinization of olivine-bearing rocks, to yield hydrogen that may further react with carbon-bearing species, has been widely invoked as a source of methane on Mars, but this possibility has not hitherto been tested. Here we show that some Martian meteorites, representing basic igneous rocks, liberate a methane-rich volatile component on crushing. The occurrence of methane in Martian rock samples adds strong weight to models whereby any life on Mars is/was likely to be resident in a subsurface habitat, where methane could be a source of energy and carbon for microbial activity. PMID:26079798

  4. Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites.

    PubMed

    Blamey, Nigel J F; Parnell, John; McMahon, Sean; Mark, Darren F; Tomkinson, Tim; Lee, Martin; Shivak, Jared; Izawa, Matthew R M; Banerjee, Neil R; Flemming, Roberta L

    2015-01-01

    The putative occurrence of methane in the Martian atmosphere has had a major influence on the exploration of Mars, especially by the implication of active biology. The occurrence has not been borne out by measurements of atmosphere by the MSL rover Curiosity but, as on Earth, methane on Mars is most likely in the subsurface of the crust. Serpentinization of olivine-bearing rocks, to yield hydrogen that may further react with carbon-bearing species, has been widely invoked as a source of methane on Mars, but this possibility has not hitherto been tested. Here we show that some Martian meteorites, representing basic igneous rocks, liberate a methane-rich volatile component on crushing. The occurrence of methane in Martian rock samples adds strong weight to models whereby any life on Mars is/was likely to be resident in a subsurface habitat, where methane could be a source of energy and carbon for microbial activity. PMID:26079798

  5. Peology and Geochemistry of New Paired Martian Meteorites 12095 and LAR 12240

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Funk, R. C.; Brandon, A. D.; Peslier, A.

    2015-01-01

    The meteorites LAR 12095 and LAR 12240 are believed to be paired Martian meteorites and were discovered during the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) 2012-2013 Season at Larkman Nunatak. The purpose of this study is to characterize these olivine-phyric shergottites by analyzing all mineral phases for major, minor and trace elements and examining their textural relationships. The goal is to constrain their crystallization history and place these shergottites among other Martian meteorites in order to better understand Martian geological history.

  6. Study of a possible magnetite biosignature in Martian meteorite ALH84001: Implications for the biological toxicology of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas-Keprta, Kathie Louise

    "Why do we have such a longstanding fascination with Mars? Very simply put, it's about life. The search for life elsewhere in our Solar System has been a major driver for exploring Mars, pretty much since we began seriously looking at that planet."1 The major objective of this work is to describe signs of possible life, that is biosignatures, in rocks from Mars if indeed they are present. Biosignatures are specific identifiable properties that result from living things; they may be implanted in the environment and may persist even if the living thing is no longer present. Over 100 mineral biosignatures have been discussed in the literature; however, only one, magnetite, is addressed by this study. Magnetite is found in many rock types on earth and in meteorites. Previous studies of terrestrial magnetite have used few properties, such as size and chemical composition, to determine one of the modes of origins for magnetite (e.g., biogenic, inorganic). This study has established a rigorous set of six criteria for the identification of intracellularly precipitated biogenic magnetite. These criteria have been applied to a subpopulation of magnetites embedded within carbonates in Martian meteorite ALH84001. These magnetites are found to be chemically and physically indistinguishable from those produced by magnetotactic bacteria strain MV-1, hence, they were likely formed by biogenic processes on ancient Mars. These criteria may be also used to distinguish origins for magnetites from terrestrial samples with complex or unknown histories. The presence of purported past life on early Mars suggests that, if life once began it may still exist today, possibly in oases in the Martian subsurface. Future manned missions should consider potential hazards of an extant biological environment(s) on Mars. 1 Quote attributed to Jack Farmer of Arizona State University in discussing NASA's program of Mars Exploration (see "Deciphering Mars: Follow the Water," Astrobiology Magazine Sept

  7. SNC meteorites - Clues to Martian petrologic evolution?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McSween, H. Y.

    1985-11-01

    Shergottites, nakhlites and the Chassigny meteorites (SNC group) may have originated on Mars. The shergottites are medium-grained basalts, the nakhlites are pyroxenites and the Chassigny is a dunite. The SNC group is petrologically diverse but differs from all other known achondrites in terms of mineral chemistry, the redox state, the oxygen isotopic composition and the radiometric ages. The SNC stones are mafic and ultramafic cumulate rocks with mineralogies that indicate rapid cooling and crystallization from tholeiitic magmas which contained water and experienced a high degree of oxidation. The characteristics suggest formation from a large parent body, i.e., a planet, but not earth. The estimated ages for the rocks match the estimated ages for several mapped Martian volcanoes in the Tharsis region. Additionally, the elemental and isotopic abundances of atmospheric gases embedded in melts in the SNC stones match Viking Lander data for the Martian atmosphere. However, reasons are cited for discounting the possibility that a large meteorite(s) collided with Mars about 180 myr ago and served as the mechanism for ejecting the SNC stones to earth.

  8. Geochemistry of Martian Meteorites and the Petrologic Evolution of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mittlefehldt, D. W.

    2002-01-01

    Mafic igneous rocks serve as probes of the interiors of their parent bodies - the compositions of the magmas contain an imprint of the source region composition and mineralogy, the melting and crystallization processes, and mixing and assimilation. Although complicated by their multifarious history, it is possible to constrain the petrologic evolution of an igneous province through compositional study of the rocks. Incompatible trace elements provide one means of doing this. I will use incompatible element ratios of martian meteorites to constrain the early petrologic evolution of Mars. Incompatible elements are strongly partitioned into the melt phase during igneous processes. The degree of incompatibility will differ depending on the mineral phases in equilibrium with the melt. Most martian meteorites contain some cumulus grains, but nevertheless, incompatible element ratios of bulk meteorites will be close to those of their parent magmas. ALH 84001 is an exception, and it will not be discussed. The martian meteorites will be considered in two groups; a 1.3 Ga group composed of the clinopyroxenites and dunite, and a younger group composed of all others.

  9. Exposure and Terrestrial Histories of New Lunar and Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nishiizumi, K.; Hillegonds, D. J.; McHargue, L. R.; Jull, A. J. T.

    2004-01-01

    Cosmogenic nuclide studies of lunar and Martian meteorites have contributed significantly to our understanding of these objects. By measuring a combination of cosmogenic stable- and radionuclides, we can determine a number of important properties of those meteorites. Most lunar meteorites have complex cosmic ray exposure histories, having been exposed both at some depth on the lunar surface (2 irradiation) before their ejection and as small bodies in space (4 irradiation) during transport from the Moon to the Earth. On the other hand, we have not observed evidence of complex exposure history for any Martian meteorites, so far. These exposures were then followed by residence on Earth s surface, a time commonly referred to as the terrestrial age. In addition to their complement of galactic cosmic ray (GCR) produced nuclides some lunar and Martian meteorites contain nuclides produced by solar cosmic rays (SCR). Unraveling the complex history of these objects requires the measurement of at least four cosmogenic nuclides. The specific goals of these measurements are to constrain or set limits on the following shielding or exposure parameters: (1) the depth of the sample at the time of ejection from the Moon or Mars; (2) the transit time (4 exposure age) from ejection off the lunar or Martian surface to the time of capture by the Earth and (3) the terrestrial residence time. The sum of the transit time and residence time yield an ejection age. The ejection age, in conjunction with the sample depth on the Moon or Mars, can then be used to model impact and ejection mechanisms.

  10. Paleomagnetic record of Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antretter, Maria; Fuller, Mike; Scott, Edward; Jackson, Mike; Moskowitz, Bruce; Solheid, Peter

    2003-06-01

    The natural remanent magnetization (NRM) of the Martian meteorite ALH84001 is predominantly carried by fine magnetite, which is found in association with carbonate. The magnetite is in epitaxial and topotactic relation with the carbonate and formed from the carbonate in the major impact event at 4.0 Ga. The NRM will therefore record this field. The local preferential crystallographic and shape alignment of the magnetite defines local easy directions of magnetization may account for the observed inhomogeneity of the NRM on a microscopic scale. Normalizing the intensity of the NRM by the saturation isothermal remanence (IRMs) then gives an estimate for the 4.0 Ga Martian field one order smaller than the present geomagnetic field. Such a field is unlikely to be strong enough to generate the high-intensity Martian magnetic anomalies. ALH 84001 in its pristine state as an orthopyroxenite is not a plausible source rock for the Martian anomalies because its magnetite was not formed until the 4.0 Ga event.

  11. Water in Pyroxene and Olivine from Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peslier, A. H.

    2012-01-01

    Water in the interior of terrestrial planets can be dissolved in fluids or melts and hydrous phases, but can also be locked as protons attached to structural oxygen in lattice defects in nominally anhydrous minerals (NAM) like olivine, pyroxene, or feldspar [1-3]. Although these minerals contain only tens to hundreds of ppm H2O, this water can amount to at least one ocean in mass when added at planetary scales because of the modal dominance of NAM in the mantle and crust [4]. Moreover these trace amounts of water can have drastic effects on melting temperature, rheology, electrical and heat conductivity, and seismic wave attenuation [5]. There is presently a debate on how much water is present in the martian mantle. Secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS) studies of NAM [6], amphiboles and glass in melt inclusions [7-10], and apatites [11, 12] from Martian meteorites report finding as much water as in the same phases from Earth's igneous rocks. Most martian hydrous minerals, however, generally have the relevant sites filled with Cl and F instead of H [13, 14], and experiments using Cl [15] in parent melts can reproduce Martian basalt compositions as well as those with water [16]. We are in the process of analyzing Martian meteorite minerals by Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) in order to constrain the role of water in this planet s formation and magmatic evolution

  12. Martian meteorites and Martian magnetic anomalies: a new perspective from NWA 7034 (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gattacceca, J.; Rochette, P.; Scozelli, R. B.; Munayco, P.; Agee, C. B.; Quesnel, Y.; Cournede, C.; Geissman, J. W.

    2013-12-01

    The magnetic anomalies observed above the Martian Noachian crust [1] require strong crustal remanent magnetization in the 15-60 A/m range over a thickness of 20-50 km [2,3]. The Martian rocks available for study in the form of meteorites do contain magnetic minerals (magnetite and/or pyrrhotite) but in too small amount to account for such strong remanent magnetizations [4]. Even though this contradiction was easily explained by the fact that Martian meteorites (mostly nakhlites and shergottites) are not representative of the Noachian Martian crust, we were left with no satisfactory candidate lithology to account for the Martian magnetic anomalies. The discovery in the Sahara of a new type of Martian meteorite (NWA 7034 [5] and subsequent paired stones which are hydrothermalized volcanic breccia) shed a new light on this question as it contains a much larger amount of ferromagnetic minerals than any other Martian meteorite. We present here a study of the magnetic properties of NWA 7034, together with a review of the magnetic properties of thirty other Martian meteorites. Magnetic measurements (including high and low temperature behavior and Mössbauer spectroscopy) show that NWA 7034 contains about 15 wt.% of magnetite with various degrees of substitution and maghemitization up to pure maghemite, in the pseudo-single domain size range. Pyrrhotite, a common mineral in other Martian meteorites is not detected. Although it is superparamagnetic and cannot carry remanent magnetization, nanophase goethite is present in significant amounts confirming that NWA 7034 is the most oxidized Martian meteorite studied so far, as already indicated by the presence of maghemite (this study) and pyrite [5]. These magnetic properties show that a kilometric layer of a lithology similar to NWA 7034 magnetized in a dynamo field would be enough to account for the strongest Martian magnetic anomalies. Although the petrogenesis of NWA 7034 is still debated, as the brecciation could be either

  13. Possible Meteorites in the Martian Hills

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2006-01-01

    From its winter outpost at 'Low Ridge' inside Gusev Crater, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took this spectacular, color mosaic of hilly, sandy terrain and two potential iron meteorites. The two light-colored, smooth rocks about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the frame have been labeled 'Zhong Shan' and 'Allan Hills.'

    The two rocks' informal names are in keeping with the rover science team's campaign to nickname rocks and soils in the area after locations in Antarctica. Zhong Shang is an Antarctic base that the People's Republic of China opened on Feb. 26, 1989, at the Larsemann Hills in Prydz Bay in East Antarctica. Allan Hills is a location where researchers have found many Martian meteorites, including the controversial ALH84001, which achieved fame in 1996 when NASA scientists suggested that it might contain evidence for fossilized extraterrestrial life. Zhong Shan was the given name of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), known as the 'Father of Modern China.' Born to a peasant family in Guangdong, Sun moved to live with his brother in Honolulu at age 13 and later became a medical doctor. He led a series of uprisings against the Qing dynasty that began in 1894 and eventually succeeded in 1911. Sun served as the first provisional president when the Republic of China was founded in 1912.

    The Zhong Shan and Allan Hills rocks, at the left and right, respectively, have unusual morphologies and miniature thermal emission spectrometer signatures that resemble those of a rock known as 'Heat Shield' at the Meridiani site explored by Spirit's twin, Opportunity. Opportunity's analyses revealed Heat Shield to be an iron meteorite.

    Spirit acquired this approximately true-color image on the rover's 872nd Martian day, or sol (June 16, 2006), using exposures taken through three of the panoramic camera's filters, centered on wavelengths of 600 nanometers, 530 nanometers, and 480 nanometers.

  14. Synchrotron Characterization of Hydrogen and Ferric Iron in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dyar, Melinda D.

    2003-01-01

    The hydrogen budget of the Martian interior is distributed among several phases: melts, hydrous minerals, and nominally anhydrous minerals like olivine, pyroxene, and garnet. All these phases are vulnerable to loss of hydrogen during shock, excavation and transport via the mechanism of dehydrogenation, in which the charge on the H protons is left behind as polarons on Fe atoms. Thus, both H and F(3x) must be analyzed in order to reconstruct hydrogen and oxygen fugacities on Mars. To date, SIMS data have elucidated D/H and H contents of hydrous phases in SNC meteorites, but anhydrous martian minerals have not been systematically examined for trace hydrogen. Ferric iron has been quantified using XANES in many marital phases, but integrated studies of both Fe(3x) and H on the same spots are really needed to address the H budget. Here, we measure and profile H and Fe(3x) abundances in and across individual grains of glass and silicates in Martian meteorites. We use the new technology of synchrotron microFI'lR spectroscopy to measure the hydrogen contents of hydrous and nominally anhydrous minerals in martian meteorites on 30-100 microns thick, doubly polished thin sections on spots down to 3 x 3 microns. Synchrotron microXANES was used to analyze Fe(3x) on the same scale, and complementary SIMS D/H data will be collected where possible, though at a slightly larger scale. Development of this combination of techniques is critical because future sample return missions will generate only microscopic samples for study. Results have been used to quantitatively assess the distribution of hydrogen and ferric iron among phases in the martian interior, which will better constrain the geodynamic processes of the interior, as well as the overall hydrogen and water budgets on Mars.

  15. Amino Acids in the Antarctic Martian Meteorite MIL03346

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glavin, D. P.; Aubrey, A.; Dworkin, J. P.; Botta, O.; Bada, J. L.

    2005-01-01

    The report by McKay et al. that the Martian meteorite ALH84001 contains evidence for life on Mars remains controversial. Of central importance is whether ALH84001 and other Antarctic Martian meteorites contain endogenous organic compounds. In any investigation of organic compounds possibly derived from Mars it is important to focus on compounds that play an essential role in biochemistry as we know it and that have properties such as chirality which can be used to distinguish between biotic versus abiotic origins. Amino acids are one of the few compounds that fulfill these requirements. Previous analyses of the Antarctic Martian meteorites ALH84001 and EETA79001 have shown that these meteorites contain low levels of terrestrial amino acid contamination derived from Antarctic ice meltwater. Here we report preliminary amino acid investigations of a third Antarctic Martian meteorite MIL03346 which was discovered in Antarctica during the 2003-04 ANSMET season. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract

  16. Shock-implanted noble gases - An experimental study with implications for the origin of Martian gases in shergottite meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bogard, Donald D.; Horz, Friedrich; Johnson, Pratt H.

    1986-01-01

    The shock-implantation of gases is studied by artificially shocking whole rock and power samples of terrestrial basalt to pressures of 2-40 GPa. Ar, Kr, Xe, and Ne were implanted into the silicate. It is observed that the amount of implanted gas is linearly proportional to its partial pressure over a pressure range of 0.0001 to 0.1 atmosphere. The fractionation effect in the implanted gas and the gas diffusion properties are examined. The amounts of gas that would have been implanted with 100 percent efficiency are calculated from the measured porosities of the power samples and are compared to observed abundances. It is determined that the implantation efficiencies are approximately 0.5 percent at 2 GPa, 7 percent at 5 GPa, and greater than 50 percent at both 20 and 35 GPa. The experimental data correlate with the shock implantation of Martian gases without mass fractionation into the shock-melted phase of meteorite EETA 79001.

  17. Evidence for life in a martian meteorite?

    PubMed

    McSween, H Y

    1997-07-01

    The controversial hypothesis that the ALH84001 meteorite contains relics of ancient martian life has spurred new findings, but the question has not yet been resolved. Organic matter probably results, at least in part, from terrestrial contamination by Antarctic ice meltwater. The origin of nanophase magnetites and sulfides, suggested, on the basis of their sizes and morphologies, to be biogenic remains contested, as does the formation temperature of the carbonates that contain all of the cited evidence for life. The reported nonfossils may be magnetite whiskers and platelets, probably grown from a vapor. New observations, such as the possible presence of biofilms and shock metamorphic effects in the carbonates, have not yet been evaluated. Regardless of the ultimate conclusion, this controversy continues to help define strategies and sharpen tools that will be required for a Mars exploration program focused on the search for life. PMID:11541665

  18. Laboratory Simulations of Martian Meteorite Impacts and Their Seismic Signatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kedar, S.; Richardson, J. E.; Harvey, N. E.; Perry, D. C.; Bowling, T. J.; Kanamori, H.; Webb, F.; Li, M.; Garnero, E. J.

    2012-12-01

    Recent satellite images have revealed that meteorites regularly impact the Martian surface. Such impacts provide a constant background of planet-wide seismicity, and add a substantial number of seismic sources to an otherwise seismically quiet planet, with a natural quake rate estimated to be ~1000 times lower than on Earth. This is a potentially rich and relatively unexplored source of seismic activity that may be used to answer fundamental questions about the planet's internal structure, such as the size and nature of the core, the composition and layering of the mantle, and the planets crustal thickness and variability. Determining whether meteoritic impacts can be used as seismic sources for studying the Martian interior depends directly upon two fundamental parameters: (1) the rate of transfer of momentum to the elastic medium as defined by an impact's source-time function (or its power spectrum); and (2) the efficiency with which the kinetic energy of the impacting body is transferred to seismic energy. However, uncertainty of the impact source time function, combined with the wide range of impact seismic efficiency factors observed in various settings, makes it very difficult to determine the efficacy of natural impacts for seismic exploration. To overcome these challenges, we have begun a campaign combining impact laboratory experiments and numerical simulations with the goal of determining how well the observed meteoritic impact distribution on Mars can be used to resolve the Martian interior structure. To simulate the seismic signals expected from meteorite impacts on the Martian surface, we carried out a series of high velocity impact experiments at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range (AVGR) facility. The experiments spanned a variety of projectile impact velocities and angles, and were carried out in near vacuum conditions to mimic Martian atmospheric conditions. Seismic sensors were embedded in target material analogous to the Martian surface and were

  19. Report of the Workshop on Unmixing the SNCs: Chemical, Isotopic, and Petrologic Components of Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H. (Editor); Herd, Christopher D. K. (Editor)

    2002-01-01

    Geochemical and petrologic studies of the Martian meteorites (nicknamed the SNCs) have proliferated in the past few years, from a wealth of new samples and the perfection of new analytical methods. An intriguing result from these studies is that the chemical and isotopic compositions of the Martian meteorites, all basalts or derived from basaltic magma, can be modeled as mixtures of a limited number of components. These mixing components were the focus of the workshop.

  20. Hydrogen Isotopic Systematics of Nominally Anhydrous Phases in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tucker, Kera

    Hydrogen isotope compositions of the martian atmosphere and crustal materials can provide unique insights into the hydrological and geological evolution of Mars. While the present-day deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio (D/H) of the Mars atmosphere is well constrained (~6 times that of terrestrial ocean water), that of its deep silicate interior (specifically, the mantle) is less so. In fact, the hydrogen isotope composition of the primordial martian mantle is of great interest since it has implications for the origin and abundance of water on that planet. Martian meteorites could provide key constraints in this regard, since they crystallized from melts originating from the martian mantle and contain phases that potentially record the evolution of the H 2O content and isotopic composition of the interior of the planet over time. Examined here are the hydrogen isotopic compositions of Nominally Anhydrous Phases (NAPs) in eight martian meteorites (five shergottites and three nakhlites) using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). This study presents a total of 113 individual analyses of H2O contents and hydrogen isotopic compositions of NAPs in the shergottites Zagami, Los Angeles, QUE 94201, SaU 005, and Tissint, and the nakhlites Nakhla, Lafayette, and Yamato 000593. The hydrogen isotopic variation between and within meteorites may be due to one or more processes including: interaction with the martian atmosphere, magmatic degassing, subsolidus alteration (including shock), and/or terrestrial contamination. Taking into consideration the effects of these processes, the hydrogen isotope composition of the martian mantle may be similar to that of the Earth. Additionally, this study calculated upper limits on the H2O contents of the shergottite and nakhlite parent melts based on the measured minimum H2O abundances in their maskelynites and pyroxenes, respectively. These calculations, along with some petrogenetic assumptions based on previous studies, were subsequently used

  1. Identification of Iron-Bearing Phases on the Martian Surface and in Martian Meteorites and Analogue Samples by Moessbauer Spectroscopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klingelhoefer, G.; Agresti, D. G.; Schroeder, C.; Rodionov, D.; Yen, A.; Ming, Doug; Morris, Richard V.

    2007-01-01

    The Moessbauer spectrometers on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit (Gusev Crater) and Opportunity (Meridiani Planum) have each analyzed more than 100 targets during their ongoing missions (>1050 sols). Here we summarize the Fe-bearing phases identified to date and compare the results to Moessbauer analyses of martian meteorites and lunar samples. We use lunar samples as martian analogues because some, particularly the low-Ti Apollo 15 mare basalts, have bulk chemical compositions that are comparable to basaltic martian meteorites [1,2]. The lunar samples also provide a way to study pigeonite-rich samples. Pigeonite is a pyroxene that is not common in terrestrial basalts, but does often occur on the Moon and is present in basaltic martian meteorites

  2. Weathering and Secondary Minerals in the Martian Meteorite Shergotty

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wentworth, Susan J.; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; McKay, David S.

    2000-01-01

    The Shergotty martian meteorite contains weathering features and secondary minerals much like those in Nakhla, including secondary silicates, NaCl, and Ca-sulfate. It is likely that the weathering occurred on Mars.

  3. Highly Siderophile Element Abundances in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.; Neal, C. R.; Ely, J. C.

    2001-01-01

    Critical evaluation of new and literature data for highly siderophile elements (HSE) in Martian (SNC) meteorites allows several first order conclusions to be drawn. (i) Re concentrations in SNC meteorites are nearly constant (within a factor of two) and do not correlate with rock type. Exceptions to this rule are Chassigny and Dar al Gani (DaG) 476, both of which are inferred to have experienced terrestrial Re contamination. (ii) Fractionations between Rh and Pd are small. Excluding Shergotty, the Rh/Pd ratio of the SNC suite is 0.22\\pm0.05. (iii) Os and Ir contents vary by about four orders of magnitude; and positive correlations with MgO, Cr, and Ni suggest that these variations are not controlled by sulfide fractionation. A possible exception is the orthopyroxenite ALH84001, whose HSE's (including Ni, which is compatible in opx) are very low. (iv) Zagami, Shergotty, and Nakhla have nearly identical HSE signatures. Shergotty and Zagami have experienced assimilation-fractional crystallization (AFC) and have "crustal" Sr and Nd isotopic signatures. Conversely, the Nakhla parent was a small degree partial melt of a depleted mantle that interacted little with the Martian crust. These observations suggest that "evolved" HSE signatures can be produced by either fractional crystallization or small degrees of partial melting. (v) Chassigny and other mafic SNC's have HSE signatures that are very distinct from those of Nakhla-Zagami-Shergotty. The HSE elemental ratios of mafic SNC's approach chondritic, implying that the Martian mantle has nearly chondritic relative abundances of the HSE's. (vi) This chondritic HSE signature is observed in SNC's of various ages, suggesting that this is an ancient feature that has not evolved over time. (vii) No correlation is observed between HSE's and signatures of crustal contamination (e.g., Sr isotopes), indicating that the HSE signatures of the SNC suite are not derived from the crust. (vii) The Ru/Pd for the SNC suite ratio is about

  4. Pyroxenes in Martian meteorites as petrogenetic indicators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, Gordon; Le, L.; Mikouchi, T.; Makishima, J.; Schwandt, C.

    2006-01-01

    Pyroxenes in Martian meteorites are important recorders of petrogenetic processes. Understanding the details of pyroxene major and minor element compositional variations can provide important insights into those processes. A combination of careful petrographic analysis of natural samples and experimental crystallization studies can lead to better understanding of the processes that gave rise to these samples on Mars. In addition, experimentally determined major, minor and trace element partition coefficients are important for using natural pyroxenes to estimate the compositions of the melts from which they crystallized and the oxidation conditions that prevailed during crystallization. We will report on minor element (Al, Ti, Cr) zoning in nakhlite pyroxenes and in synthetic pyroxenes that we have grown for the purposes of determining pyroxene/melt partition coefficients for Sr and REE. The natural pyroxenes have patchy Al zoning that, by analogy with our experimental pyroxenes, we interpret as sector zoning. The irregular patchy nature of the zoning is probably the result of the vagaries of growth kinetics and local environment during crystal growth. More slowly cooled nakhlites have the most distinct bimodal zoning, with one mode having Al2O3 around 0.5-0.6 wt%, and the other around 0.9 %. Average Al content increases with increasing cooling rate. This feature is puzzling, since the cumulus pyroxenes were almost certainly present at the time of eruption. Al and Ti are strongly correlated, but Cr is completely decoupled from those elements. The synthetic pyroxenes are distinctly sector zoned in Al and Ti, and the sector-to-sector variation in Al within a single crystal has important effects on trace element partition coefficients. Trivalent REE are strongly correlated with Al, while divalent elements (Sr, Eu+2) show a significantly weaker correlation. For example, as the Al2O3 content varies from 0.3 to 0.6 wt % from one sector to another, D(Gd) increases by

  5. Northwest Africa 8159: New Type of Martian Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agee, C. B.; Muttik, N.; Ziegler, K. G.; Walton, E. L.; Herd, C. D. K.; McCubbin, F. M.; Santos, A. R.; Simon, J. I.

    2014-12-01

    Up until recently the orthopyroxenite ALH 84001 and basaltic breccia NWA 7034 were the only martian meteorites that did not fit within the common SNC types. However with the discovery of Northwest Africa (NWA) 8159, the diversity is expanded further with a third unique non-SNC meteorite type. The existence of meteorite types beyond the narrow range seen in SNCs is what might be expected from a random cratering sampling of a volcanically long-lived and geologically complex planet such as Mars. NWA 8159, a fine-grained, augite basalt, is a new type of martian meteorite, with SNC-like oxygen isotopes and Fe/Mn values, but having several characteristics that make it distinct from other known martian meteorite types. NWA 8159 is the only martian basalt type known to have augite as the sole pyroxene phase in its mineralogy. NWA 8159 is unique among martian meteorites in that it possesses both crystalline plagioclase and shock amorphized plagioclase, often observed within a single grain, the bracketing of plagioclase amorphization places the estimated peak shock pressures at >15 GPa and <23 GPa. Magnetite in NWA 8159 is exceptionally pure, whereas most martian meteorites contain solid-solution titano-magnetites, and this pure magnetite is a manifestation of the highest oxygen fugacity (fO2) yet observed in a martian meteorite. Although NWA 8159 has the highest fO2 of martian meteorites, it has a pronounced light rare earth (LREE) depletion pattern similar to that of very low fO2 basaltic shergottites such as QUE 94201. Thus NWA 8159 displays a striking exception to well documented correlation between fO2 and LREE patterns in SNC meteorites. Finally, NWA 8159 stands apart from other martian meteorites in that it has an an early Amazonian age that is not represented in the SNCs, ALH 84001, or the NWA 7034 pairing group. NWA 8159 appears to be from an eruptive flow or shallow intrusion that is petrologically distinct from shergottite basalts, and its crystallization age

  6. Fe-Ti-Cr-Oxides in Martian Meteorite EETA79001 Studied by Point-counting Procedure Using Raman Spectroscopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Alian; Kuebler, Karla E.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; Haskin, Larry A.

    2003-01-01

    Fe-Ti-Cr-Oxide minerals contain much information about rock petrogenesis and alteration. Among the most important in the petrology of common intrusive and extrusive rocks are those of the FeO-TiO2-Cr2O3 compositional system chromite, ulv spinel-magnetite, and ilmenite-hematite. These minerals retain memories of oxygen fugacity. Their exsolution into companion mineral pairs give constraints on formation temperature and cooling rate. Laser Raman spectroscopy is anticipated to be a powerful technique for characterization of materials on the surface of Mars. A Mars Microbeam Raman Spectrometer (MMRS) is under development. It combines a micro sized laser beam and an automatic point-counting mechanism, and so can detect minor minerals or weak Raman-scattering phases such as Fe- Ti-Cr-oxides in mixtures (rocks & soils), and provide information on grain size and mineral mode. Most Fe-Ti-Cr-oxides produce weaker Raman signals than those from oxyanionic minerals, e.g. carbonates, sulfates, phosphates, and silicates, partly because most of them are intrinsically weaker Raman scatters, and partly because their dark colors limit the penetration depth of the excitation laser beam (visible wavelength) and of the Raman radiation produced. The purpose of this study is to show how well the Fe-Ti-Cr-oxides can be characterized by on-surface planetary exploration using Raman spectroscopy. We studied the basic Raman features of common examples of these minerals using well-characterized individual mineral grains. The knowledge gained was then used to study the Fe-Ti-Cr-oxides in Martian meteorite EETA79001, especially effects of compositional and structural variations on their Raman features.

  7. Isotopic Constraints on the Petrology of Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.

    2005-01-01

    The SNC (martian) meteorites exhibit complex isotopic characteristics that yield information both about the ages of individual meteorites as well as information about the petrogenetic processes that produced both individual samples and about the origins of suites and sub-suites within the SNC clan. Here I review these data, reiterate earlier interpretations, and offer some new conclusions.

  8. Comparison of Martian meteorites with earth composition: Study of effective atomic numbers in the energy range 1 keV-100 GeV

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ün, Adem; Han, Ibrahim; Ün, Mümine

    2016-04-01

    Effective atomic (Zeff) and electron numbers (Neff) for 24 Martian meteorites have been determined in the energy range from 1 keV to 100 GeV and also for sixteen significant energies of commonly used radioactive sources. The values of Zeff and Neff for all sample were obtained from the DirectZeff program. The obtained results for Martian meteorites have been compared with the results for Earth composition and similarities or differences also evaluated.

  9. Terrestrial microbes in martian and chondritic meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Airieau, S.; Piceno, Y.; Andersen, G.

    2007-08-01

    Good extraterrestrial analogs for microbiology are SNC meteorites as Mars analogs, and chondrites as early planet analogs. Chondrites and SNCs are used to trace processes in the early solar system and on Mars. Yet, questions about terrestrial contamination and its effects on the isotopic, chemical and mineral characteristics often arise. A wide biodiversity was found in 21 chondrites of groups CR, CV, CK, CO from ANSMET, CI and CM Falls, and 8 SNCs. Studies documented the alteration of meteorites by weathering and biology [1]-[6], and during aqueous extraction for oxygen isotopic analysis [7], visible biofilms grew in the meteorite solutions in days. To assess biological isotopic and chemical impacts, cultures were incubated 11 months and analyzed by PCR. The sequences for 2 isolates from EET 87770 and Leoville were of a good quality with long sequence reads. In EET 87770, the closest matches were in the genus Microbacterium. Soil and plant isolates were close relatives by sequence comparison. Bacillus, a common soil bacterial genus, grew in a Leoville culture. All SNCs exhibited biological activity measured independently by LAL but only 1 colony was successfully cultured from grains of the SNC Los Angeles. Isotopic analyses of samples with various amounts of microbial contamination could help quantified isotopic impact of microbes on protoplanetary chemistry in these rocks. References: [1] Gounelle, M.& Zolensky M. (2001) LPS XXXII, Abstract #999. [2] Fries, M. et al. (2005) Meteoritical Society Meeting 68, Abstract # 5201. [3] Burckle, L. H. & Delaney, J. S (1999) Meteoritics & Planet. Sci., 32, 475. [4] Whitby, C. et al. (2000) LPS XXXI, Abstract #1732. [5] Tyra M. et al., (2007) Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 71, 782 [6] Toporski, J. & Steele A., (2007) Astrobiology, 7, 389 [7]Airieau, S. et al (2005) Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 69, 4166.

  10. SNC meteorites and their implications for reservoirs of Martian volatiles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.

    1993-01-01

    The SNC meteorites and the measurements of the Viking landers provide our only direct information about the abundance and isotopic composition of Martian volatiles. Indirect measurements include spectroscopic determinations of the D/H ratio of the Martian atmosphere. A personal view of volatile element reservoirs on Mars is presented, largely as inferred from the meteoritic evidence. This view is that the Martian mantle has had several opportunities for dehydration and is most likely dry, although not completely degassed. Consequently, the water contained in SNC meteorites was most likely incorporated during ascent through the crust. Thus, it is possible that water can be decoupled from other volatile/incompatible elements, making the SNC meteorites suspect as indicators of water inventories on Mars.

  11. Organic Compounds in Martian Meteorites May Be Terrestrial Contaminants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jull, A. J. T.

    1998-02-01

    In 1996, David McKay and coworkers reported evidence suggesting the possibility of fossils in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 (see PSRD article "Life on Mars"). This work has stimulated much discussion as to the nature and origin of organic material in ALH84001, another Martian meteorite, EET79001, and other Martian meteorites in general. My colleagues C. Courtney, D. A. Jeffrey, and J. W. Beck and I have been investigating the origin of the organic compounds by measuring the abundances of the isotopes of carbon (C) using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Important clues to the origin of the organic material can be obtained from the amounts of 14C (frequently nicknamed radiocarbon) and the relative amounts of 13C and 12C. Our analyses indicate that at least 80% of the organic material in ALH84001 is from Earth, not Mars, casting doubt on the hypothesis the meteorite contains a record of fossil life on Mars.

  12. Geochemistry and setting of Martian weathering: The Lafayette meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, A. H.; Barrett, R. A.; Gooding, J. L.

    1992-01-01

    Lafayette, one of the SNC (martian) meteorites, contains preterrestrial alteration materials rich in smectite and ferric oxides. The compositions and textures of the veinlets suggest that they were formed in episodic alteration events by waters that contained a relatively small load of dissolved salts. The Lafayette achondrite, one of the nakhlites of probable martian origin, is an igneous rock consisting mostly of augite and olivine, with interstitial feldspar, sulfides (pyrite), high-Si glass, and other phases. Like Nakhla itself, Lafayette contains veinlets of hydrous alteration materials. We studied thin sections of sample ME2116 (Field Museum, Chicago), using scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS).

  13. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Martian Meteorites: Petrology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Martian Meteorites: Petrology: included the following reports:Volatile Behavior in Lunar and Terrestrial Basalts During Shock: Implications for Martian Magmas; Problems with a Low-Pressure Tholeiitic Magmatic History for the Chassigny Dunite; Fast Cooling History of the Chassigny Martian Meteorite; Rehomogenized Interstitial and Inclusion Melts in Lherzolitic Shergottite ALH 77005: Petrologic Significance; Compositional Controls on the Formation of Kaersutite Amphibole in Shergottite Meteorites; Chemical Characteristics of an Olivine-Phyric Shergottite, Yamato 980459; Pb-Hf-Sr-Nd Isotopic Systematics and Age of Nakhlite NWA 998; Noble Gases in Two Samples of EETA 79001 (Lith. A); Experimental Constraints on the Iron Content of the Martian Mantle; and Mars as the Parent Body for the CI Carbonaceous Chondrites: New Data.

  14. Originof magnetite in martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, E.; Fuller, M.

    2003-04-01

    The magnetization of ALH84001 is predominantly carried by single domain magnetite, which is found in association with carbonate. The magnetite is found in topotactic relationship with the carbonate in regions of iron rich carbonate, whereas in magnesium richer areas periclase is found. The magnetite formed from the carbonate by thermal decomposition of siderite at elevated temperature in a major impact event at about 4.0 Gyr. Chromite is also present in large amounts, but it is predominantly paramagnetic at room temperature with a Neel point close to 100^oK. Carbonate with associated magnetite is also found in the martian meteorite Nakhla. Experiments and theory show that siderite is a major product of percolation and evaporation of brines generated under pressures of more than 0.1bar of carbon dioxide. This is the preferred explanation for the carbonate in nakhla, as well as in ALH84001. Thermal decomposition of siderite may result from deep burial, magmatic heat sources, or as in the case of ALH84001, impact heating.

  15. 'Bounce' and Martian Meteorite of the Same Mold

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    These two sets of bar graphs compare the elemental compositions of six martian rocks: 'Bounce,' located at Meridiani Planum; EETA79001-B, a martian meteorite found in Antarctica in 1979; a rock found at the Mars Pathfinder landing site; Shergotty, a martian meteorite that landed in India in 1865; 'Adirondack,' located at Gusev Crater; and 'Humphrey,' also located at Gusev Crater. The graph on the left compares magnesium/iron ratios in the rocks, and the graph on the right compares aluminum/calcium ratios. The results illustrate the diversity of rocks on Mars and indicate that Bounce probably shares origins with the martian meterorite EETA79001-B. The Bounce data was taken on sol 68 by the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

  16. LU-HF Age of Martian Meteorite Larkman Nunatek 06319

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shafer, J. T.; Brandon, A. D.; Lapen, T. J.; Righter, M.; Beard, B.; Peslier, A. H.

    2009-01-01

    Lu-Hf isotopic data were collected on mineral separates and bulk rock powders of LAR 06319, yielding an age of 197+/- 29 Ma. Sm-Nd isotopic data and in-situ LA-ICP-MS data from a thin section of LAR 06319 are currently being collected and will be presented at the 2009 LPSC. These new data for LAR 06319 extend the existing data set for the enriched shergottite group. Martian meteorites represent the only opportunity for ground truth investigation of the geochemistry of Mars [1]. At present, approximately 80 meteorites have been classified as Martian based on young ages and distinctive isotopic signatures [2]. LAR 06319 is a newly discovered (as part of the 2006 ANSMET field season) martian meteorite that represents an important opportunity to further our understanding of the geochemical and petrological constraints on the origin of Martian magmas. Martian meteorites are traditionally categorized into the shergottite, nakhlite, and chassignite groups. The shergottites are further classified into three distinct isotopic groups designated depleted, intermediate, and enriched [3,4] based on the isotope systematics and compositions of their source(s).

  17. Volatile/mobile trace elements in meteoritic, non-lunar basalts: Guides to Martian sample contents

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lipschutz, M. E.; Paul, R. L.

    1988-01-01

    A variety of genetic processes on or in extraterrestrial objects can be examined by study of volatile/mobile trace elements. Doubtless, considerable efforts will be expended on determining these elements in returned Martian samples. The purpose is to estimate levels of such elements expected to be present in returned Martian samples. Some ideas about Martian genesis were already advanced from the volatile/mobile element contents in SNC meteorites, assuming that Mars was their parent body. Even is Mars and the SNC meteorite parent body are identical, compositional ranges for returned Martian samples should exceed those of SNC meteorites. It is expected, therefore, that Martian samples returned from locations other than Polar regions will have indigenous volatile/mobile element contents within howardite-diogenite ranges. Elements with strong lithophile tendences may be more abundant, as they are in many lunar samples. Most of these elements should be at ppb levels except for Co, Ga, Zn, and Rb, which should lie at ppm levels. If Martian volcanism was accompanied by fumarolic emanations, it should be reflected in occasional huge enrichments of mobile trance elements, as in lunar meteorite Y 791197. During collection and transport Earthward, samples must be contained under conditions appropriate to ppb concentrations. Materials must be used that will not cause contamination which occurred during the Apollo program, where indium from seals contaminated many samples.

  18. Nannobacterial alteration of pyroxenes in martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Folk, Robert L.; Taylor, Lawrence A.

    2002-08-01

    In martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001, this scanning electron microscope study was focused on the ferromagnesian minerals, which are extensively covered with nanometer-size bodies mainly 30-100 nm in diameter. These bodies range from spheres to ovoids to caterpillar shapes and resemble, both in size and shape, nannobacteria that attack weathered rocks on Earth and that can be cultured. Dense colonies alternate with clean, smooth cleavage surfaces, possibly formed later. Statistical study shows that the distribution of presumed nannobacteria is very clustered. In addition to the small bodies, there are a few occurrences of ellipsoidal 200-400 nm objects, that are within the lower size range of "normal" earthly bacteria. We conclude that the nanobodies so abundant in ALH 84001 are indeed nannobacteria, confirming the initial assertion of McKay et al. (1996). However, whether these bodies originated on Mars or are Antarctic contamination remains a valid question.

  19. Comparison Between Elemental Ratios in Fusion Crusts of Stannern Eucrite, Lunar Meteorite MAC 88105 & Martian Meteorite Nakhla

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zbik, M.; Gostin, V. A.

    1996-03-01

    Impact phenomena result from the interaction of cosmic bodies that collide in space with ultra-high velocities. In small bodies, not protected by an atmospheric layer, impact phenomena are limited to interaction between solid components that shatter, melt and vaporise, spreading solid, liquid, and gaseous ejecta over the planetary surface and into space. The interaction between a meteoritic body and a large planet like Earth begins in the upper atmosphere. As the body penetrates to lower, and denser layers, lattice destruction increases and the surface layer of the meteor is heated up to many thousands of degrees, resulting in it being vaporised and melted. Under pressure from the oncoming air stream the molten matter on the surface of the meteoritic body is constantly blown off (ablated) and immediately quenched as the meteoritic body decelerates. Therefore the rapidly heated and quenched glassy fusion crust on the surface of meteorites, can be recognised as related to impact melts. Fragments of three meteorites were studied: Stannern eucrite, lunar meteorite MAC 88105 and martian meteorite Nakhla, all displayed significant fusion crusts. Polished thin and thick sections were made and were used for optical, scanning-electron microscope (SEM) and wavelength-dispersive electron microprobe studies. The chemical ratios of the outer layer of the fusion crusts for these different planetary meteorites were compared.

  20. Atomic force microscopy imaging of fragments from the Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steele, A.; Goddard, D.; Beech, I. B.; Tapper, R. C.; Stapleton, D.; Smith, J. R.

    1998-01-01

    A combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) techniques, as well as atomic force microscopy (AFM) methods has been used to study fragments of the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Images of the same areas on the meteorite were obtained prior to and following gold/palladium coating by mapping the surface of the fragment using ESEM coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. Viewing of the fragments demonstrated the presence of structures, previously described as nanofossils by McKay et al. (Search for past life on Mars--possible relic biogenic activity in martian meteorite ALH84001. Science, 1996, pp. 924-930) of NASA who used SEM imaging of gold-coated meteorite samples. Careful imaging of the fragments revealed that the observed structures were not an artefact introduced by the coating procedure.

  1. Atomic force microscopy imaging of fragments from the Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Steele, A; Goddard, D; Beech, I B; Tapper, R C; Stapleton, D; Smith, J R

    1998-01-01

    A combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) techniques, as well as atomic force microscopy (AFM) methods has been used to study fragments of the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Images of the same areas on the meteorite were obtained prior to and following gold/palladium coating by mapping the surface of the fragment using ESEM coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. Viewing of the fragments demonstrated the presence of structures, previously described as nanofossils by McKay et al. (Search for past life on Mars--possible relic biogenic activity in martian meteorite ALH84001. Science, 1996, pp. 924-930) of NASA who used SEM imaging of gold-coated meteorite samples. Careful imaging of the fragments revealed that the observed structures were not an artefact introduced by the coating procedure. PMID:11541278

  2. Isotopic Evidence for a Martian Regolith Component in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Nyquist, L. E.; Bogard, D. D.; Garrison, D. H.; Sutton, S.

    2009-01-01

    Noble gas measurements in gas-rich impact-melt (GRIM) glasses in EET79001 shergottite showed that their elemental and isotopic composition is similar to that of the Martian atmosphere [1-3]. The GRIM glasses contain large amounts of Martian atmospheric gases. Those measurements further suggested that the Kr isotopic composition of Martian atmosphere is approximately similar to that of solar Kr. The (80)Kr(sub n) - (80)Kr(sub M) mixing ratio in the Martian atmosphere reported here is approximately 3%. These neutron-capture reactions presumably occurred in the glass-precursor regolith materials containing Sm- and Br- bearing mineral phases near the EET79001/ Shergotty sites on Mars. The irradiated materials were mobilized into host rock voids either during shock-melting or possibly by earlier aeolian / fluvial activity.

  3. Magnetic tests for magnetosome chains in Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Weiss, Benjamin P; Kim, Soon Sam; Kirschvink, Joseph L; Kopp, Robert E; Sankaran, Mohan; Kobayashi, Atsuko; Komeili, Arash

    2004-06-01

    Transmission electron microscopy studies have been used to argue that magnetite crystals in carbonate from Martian meteorite ALH84001 have a composition and morphology indistinguishable from that of magnetotactic bacteria. It has even been claimed from scanning electron microscopy imaging that some ALH84001 magnetite crystals are aligned in chains. Alignment of magnetosomes in chains is perhaps the most distinctive of the six crystallographic properties thought to be collectively unique to magnetofossils. Here we use three rock magnetic techniques, low-temperature cycling, the Moskowitz test, and ferromagnetic resonance, to sense the bulk composition and crystallography of millions of ALH84001 magnetite crystals. The magnetic data demonstrate that although the magnetite is unusually pure and fine-grained in a manner similar to terrestrial magnetofossils, most or all of the crystals are not arranged in chains. PMID:15155900

  4. Magnetic tests for magnetosome chains in Martian meteorite ALH84001

    PubMed Central

    Weiss, Benjamin P.; Kim, Soon Sam; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Kopp, Robert E.; Sankaran, Mohan; Kobayashi, Atsuko; Komeili, Arash

    2004-01-01

    Transmission electron microscopy studies have been used to argue that magnetite crystals in carbonate from Martian meteorite ALH84001 have a composition and morphology indistinguishable from that of magnetotactic bacteria. It has even been claimed from scanning electron microscopy imaging that some ALH84001 magnetite crystals are aligned in chains. Alignment of magnetosomes in chains is perhaps the most distinctive of the six crystallographic properties thought to be collectively unique to magnetofossils. Here we use three rock magnetic techniques, low-temperature cycling, the Moskowitz test, and ferromagnetic resonance, to sense the bulk composition and crystallography of millions of ALH84001 magnetite crystals. The magnetic data demonstrate that although the magnetite is unusually pure and fine-grained in a manner similar to terrestrial magnetofossils, most or all of the crystals are not arranged in chains. PMID:15155900

  5. Magnetic tests for magnetosome chains in Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, Benjamin P.; Kim, Soon Sam; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Kopp, Robert E.; Sankaran, Mohan; Kobayashi, Atsuko; Komeili, Arash

    2004-06-01

    Transmission electron microscopy studies have been used to argue that magnetite crystals in carbonate from Martian meteorite ALH84001have a composition and morphology indistinguishable from that of magnetotactic bacteria. It has even been claimed from scanning electron microscopy imaging that some ALH84001magnetite crystals are aligned in chains. Alignment of magnetosomes in chains is perhaps the most distinctive of the six crystallographic properties thought to be collectively unique to magnetofossils. Here we use three rock magnetic techniques, low-temperature cycling, the Moskowitz test, and ferromagnetic resonance, to sense the bulk composition and crystallography of millions of ALH84001magnetite crystals. The magnetic data demonstrate that although the magnetite is unusually pure and fine-grained in a manner similar to terrestrial magnetofossils, most or all of the crystals are not arranged in chains.

  6. The Delivery of Martian and Lunar Meteorites to Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gladman, B.; Burns, J.

    1996-09-01

    Using a regularized mixed-variable symplectic integration code (including the effects of the planets from Mercury through Neptune), we numerically integrate the orbits of ejecta thrown off the terrestrial planets for times of 10(7) --10(8) years. Particles are followed until they impact a planet, strike the Sun, or cross the orbit of Jupiter. The distribution of transit times for Earth-impacting objects is compared with the cosmic-ray exposure data for the lunar and martian meteorites. This comparison is consistent with a recurrent ejection of small (cm to dm) meteoroids due to impacts on their parent bodies. Long-range gravitational effects, especially secular resonances, strongly influence the orbits of many meteoroids and can increase meteoroid collision rates with other planets and even the Sun. These effects, and collisional destruction in the asteroid belt, result in shortened time scales and higher fluxes than previously believed, especially for martian meteorites. A small flux of mercurian meteorites appears possible; recovery of ejecta from the Earth and Venus is less likely. We have developed a model which calculates the expected transfer-age spectrum in terms of the impactor flux onto the Moon and Mars. The non-zero, but finite, age of the Antarctic ice sheet is crucial in understanding the different distributions of transfer ages in the lunar and martian cases. To match the data, most recently arrived lunar meteorites must have been launched by impactors of diameter D < 100 m which struck the Moon in the last few hundred thousand years. In contrast, martian meteorites were launched by impactors several kilometers in diameter that struck Mars several million years ago. The number of meteoroids launched by each impact must scale as D(2) in the lunar case, but D(3) for Mars. Different surface properties for the Moon and Mars may account for these differences. In connection with the transport of microfossils to and from Earth, we show that a small fraction

  7. The source crater of martian shergottite meteorites.

    PubMed

    Werner, Stephanie C; Ody, Anouck; Poulet, François

    2014-03-21

    Absolute ages for planetary surfaces are often inferred by crater densities and only indirectly constrained by the ages of meteorites. We show that the <5 million-year-old and 55-km-wide Mojave Crater on Mars is the ejection source for the meteorites classified as shergottites. Shergottites and this crater are linked by their coinciding meteorite ejection ages and the crater formation age and by mineralogical constraints. Because Mojave formed on 4.3 billion-year-old terrain, the original crystallization ages of shergottites are old, as inferred by Pb-Pb isotope ratios, and the much-quoted shergottite ages of <600 million years are due to resetting. Thus, the cratering-based age determination method for Mars is now calibrated in situ, and it shifts the absolute age of the oldest terrains on Mars backward by 200 million years. PMID:24603150

  8. The age of the carbonates in martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borg, L. E.; Connelly, J. N.; Nyquist, L. E.; Shih, C. Y.; Wiesmann, H.; Reese, Y.

    1999-01-01

    The age of secondary carbonate mineralization in the martian meteorite ALH84001 was determined to be 3.90 +/- 0.04 billion years by rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr) dating and 4.04 +/- 0.10 billion years by lead-lead (Pb-Pb) dating. The Rb-Sr and Pb-Pb isochrons are defined by leachates of a mixture of high-graded carbonate (visually estimated as approximately 5 percent), whitlockite (trace), and orthopyroxene (approximately 95 percent). The carbonate formation age is contemporaneous with a period in martian history when the surface is thought to have had flowing water, but also was undergoing heavy bombardment by meteorites. Therefore, this age does not distinguish between aqueous and impact origins for the carbonates.

  9. The age of the carbonates in martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Borg, L E; Connelly, J N; Nyquist, L E; Shih, C Y; Wiesmann, H; Reese, Y

    1999-10-01

    The age of secondary carbonate mineralization in the martian meteorite ALH84001 was determined to be 3.90 +/- 0.04 billion years by rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr) dating and 4.04 +/- 0.10 billion years by lead-lead (Pb-Pb) dating. The Rb-Sr and Pb-Pb isochrons are defined by leachates of a mixture of high-graded carbonate (visually estimated as approximately 5 percent), whitlockite (trace), and orthopyroxene (approximately 95 percent). The carbonate formation age is contemporaneous with a period in martian history when the surface is thought to have had flowing water, but also was undergoing heavy bombardment by meteorites. Therefore, this age does not distinguish between aqueous and impact origins for the carbonates. PMID:10506566

  10. New Martian Meteorite Is One of the Most Oxidized Found to Date

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hui, Hejiu; Peslier, Anne; Lapen, Thomas J.; Shafer, John T.; Brandon, Alan D.; Irving, Anthony J.

    2014-01-01

    As of 2013, about 60 meteorites from the planet Mars have been found and are being studied. Each time a new Martian meteorite is found, a wealth of new information comes forward about the red planet. The most abundant type of Martian meteorite is a shergottite; its lithologies are broadly similar to those of Earth basalts and gabbros; i.e., crustal igneous rocks. The entire suite of shergottites is characterized by a range of trace element, isotopic ratio, and oxygen fugacity values that mainly reflect compositional variations of the Martian mantle from which these magmas came. A newly found shergottite, NWA 5298, was the focus of a study performed by scientists within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Directorate at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in 2012. This sample was found in Morocco in 2008. Major element analyses were performed in the electron microprobe (EMP) laboratory of ARES at JSC, while the trace elements were measured at the University of Houston by laser inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). A detailed analysis of this stone revealed that this meteorite is a crystallized magma that comes from the enriched end of the shergottite spectrum; i.e., trace element enriched and oxidized. Its oxidation comes in part from its mantle source and from oxidation during the magma ascent. It represents a pristine magma that did not mix with any other magma or see crystal accumulation or crustal contamination on its way up to the Martian surface. NWA 5298 is therefore a direct, albeit evolved, melt from the Martian mantle and, for its lithology (basaltic shergottite), it represents the oxidized end of the shergottite suite. It is thus a unique sample that has provided an end-member composition for Martian magmas.

  11. Martian Pyroxenes in the Shergottite Meteorites; Zagami, SAU005, DAG476 and EETA79001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stephen, N.; Benedix, G. K.; Bland, P.; Hamilton, V. E.

    2010-12-01

    The geology and surface mineralogy of Mars is characterised using remote sensing techniques such as thermal emission spectroscopy (TES) from instruments on a number of spacecraft currently orbiting Mars or gathered from roving missions on the Martian surface. However, the study of Martian meteorites is also important in efforts to further understand the geological history of Mars or to interpret mission data as they are believed to be the only available samples that give us direct clues as to Martian igneous processes [1]. We have recently demonstrated that the spectra of Martian-specific minerals can be determined using micro-spectroscopy [2] and that these spectra can be reliably obtained from thin sections of Martian meteorites [3]. Accurate modal mineralogy of these meteorites is also important [4]. In this study we are using a variety of techniques to build upon previous studies of these particular samples in order to fully characterise the nature of the 2 common pyroxenes found in Martian Shergottites; pigeonite and augite [5], [6]. Previous studies have shown that the Shergottite meteorites are dominated by pyroxene (pigeonite and augite in varying quantities) [4], [5], commonly but not always olivine, plagioclase or maskelynite/glass and also hydrous minerals, which separate the Martian meteorites from other achondrites [7]. Our microprobe study of meteorites Zagami, EETA79001, SAU005 and DAG476 in thin-section at the Natural History Museum, London shows a chemical variability within both the pigeonite and augite composition across individual grains in all thin sections; variation within either Mg or Ca concentration varies from core to rim within the grains. This variation can also be seen in modal mineralogy maps using SEM-derived element maps and the Photoshop® technique previously described [4], and in new micro-spectroscopy data, particularly within the Zagami meteorite. New mineral spectra have been gathered from the Shergottite thin-sections by

  12. Origins of Magnetite Nanocrystals in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Clemett, Simon J.; Mckay, David S.; Gibson, Everett K.; Wentworth, Susan J.

    2009-01-01

    The Martian meteorite ALH84001 preserves evidence of interaction with aqueous fluids while on Mars in the form of microscopic carbonate disks. These carbonate disks are believed to have precipitated 3.9 Ga ago at beginning of the Noachian epoch on Mars during which both the oldest extant Martian surfaces were formed, and perhaps the earliest global oceans. Intimately associated within and throughout these carbonate disks are nanocrystal magnetites (Fe3O4) with unusual chemical and physical properties, whose origins have become the source of considerable debate. One group of hypotheses argues that these magnetites are the product of partial thermal decomposition of the host carbonate. Alternatively, the origins of mag- netite and carbonate may be unrelated; that is, from the perspective of the carbonate the magnetite is allochthonous. For example, the magnetites might have already been present in the aqueous fluids from which the carbonates were believed to have been deposited. We have sought to resolve between these hypotheses through the detailed characterized of the compo- sitional and structural relationships of the carbonate disks and associated magnetites with the orthopyroxene matrix in which they are embedded. Extensive use of focused ion beam milling techniques has been utilized for sample preparation. We then compared our observations with those from experimental thermal decomposition studies of sideritic carbonates under a range of plausible geological heating scenarios. We conclude that the vast majority of the nanocrystal magnetites present in the car- bonate disks could not have formed by any of the currently proposed thermal decomposition scenarios. Instead, we find there is considerable evidence in support of an alternative allochthonous origin for the magnetite unrelated to any shock or thermal processing of the carbonates.

  13. Origins of magnetite nanocrystals in Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; McKay, D. S.; Gibson, E. K.; Wentworth, S. J.

    2009-11-01

    The Martian meteorite ALH84001 preserves evidence of interaction with aqueous fluids while on Mars in the form of microscopic carbonate disks. These carbonate disks are believed to have precipitated 3.9 Ga ago at beginning of the Noachian epoch on Mars during which both the oldest extant Martian surfaces were formed, and perhaps the earliest global oceans. Intimately associated within and throughout these carbonate disks are nanocrystal magnetites (Fe 3O 4) with unusual chemical and physical properties, whose origins have become the source of considerable debate. One group of hypotheses argues that these magnetites are the product of partial thermal decomposition of the host carbonate. Alternatively, the origins of magnetite and carbonate may be unrelated; that is, from the perspective of the carbonate the magnetite is allochthonous. For example, the magnetites might have already been present in the aqueous fluids from which the carbonates were believed to have been deposited. We have sought to resolve between these hypotheses through the detailed characterization of the compositional and structural relationships of the carbonate disks and associated magnetites with the orthopyroxene matrix in which they are embedded. Extensive use of focused ion beam milling techniques has been utilized for sample preparation. We then compared our observations with those from experimental thermal decomposition studies of sideritic carbonates under a range of plausible geological heating scenarios. We conclude that the vast majority of the nanocrystal magnetites present in the carbonate disks could not have formed by any of the currently proposed thermal decomposition scenarios. Instead, we find there is considerable evidence in support of an alternative allochthonous origin for the magnetite unrelated to any shock or thermal processing of the carbonates.

  14. Magnetic Tests For Magnetosome Chains In Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, B. P.; Kim, S.; Kirschvink, J. L.; Sankaran, M.; Kobayashi, A.; Komeili, A.

    2003-12-01

    Transmission electron microscopy studies have been used to argue that magnetites in carbonates from Martian meteorite ALH84001 have a composition and morphology indistinguishable from that of magnetotactic bacteria and their magnetofossils (1). It has even been claimed from scanning electron microscopy imaging that some ALH84001 magnetites are aligned in chains (2). If true, this would provide dramatic support for the magnetofossil hypothesis because alignment in chains is perhaps the most distinctive of the six crystallographic properties thought to be collectively unique to magnetosomes. The leading alternative hypothesis is that the ALH84001 magnetites are the inorganic products of shock-heating of the carbonates (3, 4). Here we use three rock magnetic techniques-low-temperature cycling, the Moskowitz test (5), and ferromagnetic resonance (FMR)-to demonstrate that most or all of the magnetites in ALH84001 are unusually pure and fine-grained but are not arranged in magnetosome chains. 1. K. L. Thomas-Keprta et al., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 64, 4049-4081 (2000). 2. I. E. Friedmann, J. Wierzchos, C. Ascaso, M. Winklhofer, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98, 2176-2181 (2001). 3. D. C. Golden et al., Am. Mineral. 83, 370-375 (2001). 4. D. J. Barber, E. R. D. Scott, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 6556-6561 (2002). 5. B. M. Moskowitz, R. B. Frankel, D. A. Bazylinski, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 120, 283-300 (1993).

  15. Mineral Biomarkers in Martian Meteorite Allan Hills 84001?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Bazylinski, D. A.; Wentworth, S. J.; McKay, D. S.; Golden, D. C.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Romanek, C. S.

    1998-01-01

    The occurrence of fine-grained magnetite in the Fe-rich rims surrounding carbonate globules in the martian meteorite ALH84001, originally described in , have been proposed as fossil remains of primitive martian organisms. Here we report observations on size and shape distributions of magnetites from ALH84001 and compare them to biogenic and inorganic magnetite crystals of terrestrial origin. While some magnetite morphology is not unequivocally diagnostic for its biogenicity, such as cubodial forms of magnetite, which are common in inorganically formed magnetites, other morphologies of magnetite (parallel-epiped or elongated prismatic and arrowhead forms) are more likely signatures of biogenic activity. Some ALH 84001 magnetite particles described below have unique morphology and length-to-width ratios that are indistinguishable from a variety of terrestrial biogenic magnetite and distinct from all known inorganic forms of magnetite.

  16. Water in SNC meteorites - Evidence for a Martian hydrosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Karlsson, Haraldur R.; Clayton, Robert N.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; Mayeda, Toshiko K.

    1992-01-01

    The Shergotty-Nakhla-Chassigny (SNC) meteorites, purportedly of Martian origin, contain 0.04 to 0.4 percent water by weight. Oxygen isotopic analysis can be used to determine whether this water is extraterrestrial or terrestrial. Such analysis reveals that a portion of the water is extraterrestrial and furthermore was not in oxygen isotopic equilibrium with the host rock. Lack of equilibrium between water and host rock implies that the lithosphere and hydrosphere of the SNC parent body formed two distinct oxygen isotopic reservoirs. If Mars was the parent body, the maintenance of two distinct reservoirs may result from the absence of plate tectonics on the planet.

  17. Workshop on the Issue Martian Meteorites: Where do we Stand and Where are we Going?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    The presentations in this workshop discuss the composition of Martian meteorites. Many of the talks were on a specific meteorite, i.e., Allan Hills 84001 (ALH84001). The discovery earlier of carbonates in ALH84001 lead some researchers to suggest that there was evidence of martian life. Other possible explanations for this phenomena are given. Other papers discuss methods to sterilize martian samples, the existence of water on Mars, the facilities of the Meteorite Processing Laboratory at Johnson Space Center, comparative analyses of geologic processes and the gathering of meteorites.

  18. Iddingsite in the Nakhla meteorite: TEM study of mineralogy and texture of pre-terrestrial (Martian?) alterations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H.; Gooding, James L.

    1991-01-01

    Rusty-colored veinlets and patches in the Nakhla meteorite, identified as iddingsite, are pre-terrestrial. The rusty material is iddingsite (smectites + hematite + ferrihydrite); like terrestrial iddingsites, it probably formed during low-temperature interaction of olivine and water. Fragments of rusty material with host olivine were removed from thin sections of Nakhla with a tungsten needle. Fragments were embedded in epoxy, microtomed to 100 nanometers thickness, and mounted on Cu grids. Phase identifications were by Analytical Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EM/EDX) standardless chemical analyses (for silicates), electron diffraction (hematite and ferrihydrite), and lattice fringe imaging. This iddingsite in Nakhla is nearly identical to some formed on Earth, suggesting similar conditions of formation on the Shergottites-Nakhlites-Chassigny (SNC) meteorite parent planet. A more detailed account of the results is presented.

  19. The provenance, formation, and implications of reduced carbon phases in Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steele, Andrew; McCubbin, Francis M.; Fries, Marc D.

    2016-08-01

    This review is intended to summarize the current observations of reduced carbon in Martian meteorites, differentiating between terrestrial contamination and carbon that is indigenous to Mars. Indeed, the identification of Martian organic matter is among the highest priority targets for robotic spacecraft missions in the next decade, including the Mars Science Laboratory and Mars 2020. Organic carbon compounds are essential building blocks of terrestrial life, so the occurrence and origin (biotic or abiotic) of organic compounds on Mars is of great significance; however, not all forms of reduced carbon are conducive to biological systems. This paper discusses the significance of reduced organic carbon (including methane) in Martian geological and astrobiological systems. Specifically, it summarizes current thinking on the nature, sources, and sinks of Martian organic carbon, a key component to Martian habitability. Based on this compilation, reduced organic carbon on Mars, including detections of methane in the Martian atmosphere, is best described through a combination of abiotic organic synthesis on Mars and infall of extraterrestrial carbonaceous material. Although conclusive signs of Martian life have yet to be revealed, we have developed a strategy for life detection on Mars that can be utilized in future life-detection studies.

  20. Search for Past Life on Mars: Possible Relict Biogenic Activity in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, David S.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Vali, Hojatollah; Romanek, Christopher S.; Clemett, Simon J.; Chillier, Xavier D. F.; Maechling, Claude R.; Zare, Richard N.

    1996-01-01

    Fresh fracture surfaces of the martian meteorite ALH84001 contain abundant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These fresh fracture surfaces also display carbonate globules. Contamination studies suggest the PAHs are indigenous to the meteorite. High resolution scanning and transmission electron microscopy study of surface textures and internal structures of selected carbonate globules show that the globules contain fine-grained, secondary phases of single-domain magnetite and Fe-monosulfides. The carbonate globules are similar in texture and size to some terrestrial bacterially induced carbonate precipitates. Although inorganic formation is possible, formation of the globules by biogenic processes could explain many of the observed features including the PAHs. The PAHs, the carbonate globules, and their associated secondary mineral phases and textures could thus be fossil remains of a past martian biota.

  1. Search for past life on Mars: possible relic biogenic activity in martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    McKay, D S; Gibson, E K; Thomas-Keprta, K L; Vali, H; Romanek, C S; Clemett, S J; Chillier, X D; Maechling, C R; Zare, R N

    1996-08-16

    Fresh fracture surfaces of the martian meteorite ALH84001 contain abundant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These fresh fracture surfaces also display carbonate globules. Contamination studies suggest that the PAHs are indigenous to the meteorite. High-resolution scanning and transmission electron microscopy study of surface textures and internal structures of selected carbonate globules show that the globules contain fine-grained, secondary phases of single-domain magnetite and Fe-sulfides. The carbonate globules are similar in texture and size to some terrestrial bacterially induced carbonate precipitates. Although inorganic formation is possible, formation of the globules by biogenic processes could explain many of the observed features, including the PAHs. The PAHs, the carbonate globules, and their associated secondary mineral phases and textures could thus be fossil remains of a past martian biota. PMID:8688069

  2. MN Carbonates in the Martian Meteorite Nakhla: Possible Evidence of Brine Evaporation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bailey, J. V.; McKay, D. S.; Wentworth, S. J.

    2003-01-01

    The importance of secondary phases in martian meteorites lies in their potential to provide clues about the martian environments responsible for their formation. During this study, we analyzed a number of carbonate-bearing fracture surfaces from the Nakhla meteorite. Here we describe the physical and chemical properties of several manganese-calcium-rich siderites. Additionally, we describe a potential model for the formation and alteration of these carbonates, and we suggest constraints on the conditions responsible for their precipitation. Nakhla is an olivine-bearing clinopyroxenite with minor amounts of feldspar, FeS, and Fe oxides. Secondary mineral assemblages include vein filling clay with embedded iron oxides, a calcium sulfate, amorphous silica, chlorapatite, halite and carbonates. Bridges and Grady suggested that the carbonates in Nakhla formed from brine evaporation. Isotope studies of the Mn rich siderite are also consistent with formation from hydrothermal fluids with an upper T constraint of 170 C.

  3. Identifying Minerals on Mars Through VNIR and Mid-IR Spectral Deconvolution based on the Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Parente, M.; Hamilton, V. E.

    2003-12-01

    Coordinated VNIR and mid-IR spectral analyses of the mineralogy of Mars are important in order to fully understand the composition of the surface. We have been refining and testing the Modified Gaussian Model (MGM) developed by Sunshine et al. (1990) on VNIR martian meteorite spectra. This technique enables detection of minerals based on the electronic absorptions in the spectra. Deconvolutions of thermal emission spectrometer (TES) spectra of the same samples are also underway based on spectral features due to vibrational absorptions in the minerals. The martian meteorites included in the study are ALH 84001, EETA 79001, Los Angeles, Dar al Gani 670, and NWA 1068. These samples contain primarily pyroxenes ranging from orthopyroxene to pigeonite to augite, feldspar (and maskelynite), fayalitic and fosteritic olivine, silica, and glass. We are comparing the deconvolution results of the two spectral regions with each other and with the meteorite petrology from other studies. Combining spectral analyses of Martian meteorite chips and powders enables characterisation of spectral bands for remote detection of potential source regions for meteorite-like rocks on the surface of Mars. Although some surface regions have been identified that exhibit the spectral properties of Martian meteorites, these make up only a small fraction of the surface (Hamilton et al., 2003). Deconvolving the spectra of the meteorites down to the minerals present in these rocks also enables spectral searches of one or more mineral components in the Martian spectra without looking for the whole meteorite spectral signature on the surface. We will be applying these techniques to the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) extended visible-region spectra, the imaging spectrometer for Mars (ISM), and TES datasets. Hamilton, V. E. et al. 2003, MAPS, in press. Sunshine, J. M. et al. 1990, JGR, 95, 6955.

  4. Update on the Small Craters Origin of the Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, J. N.

    2002-12-01

    The small craters model for launch of the Martian meteorites was presented in 1999 [1-3]. The model was based upon hydrodynamic computer code impact simulations showing that the launch efficiency of Martian material should be age-dependent. It was easiest to launch material from intact (young) material, harder from material covered by a thin regolith, and truly difficult from terrain covered by a deep regolith. The minimum required crater diameter for the above was 3 km, 7 km, and 20 km respectively. Even though little of Mars is covered by Shergottite-aged (S) terrain, the smaller size limit for meteorite-launching events means there are actually more candidate source craters on this terrain formed in the last 10 Ma than on the heavlily cratered southern highlands. This bias was sufficient to explain the origin of the 13 Martian meteorites known at the time as fragments from 6 or 7 impact events. The samples in hand were assigned to impact events as follows: 1) EETA79001 launched 0.8Ma, 2) DaG 476 launched 1.3 Ma, 3) Shergotty, Zagami, and QUE94201 all launched 2.1 Ma, 4) ALHA77005, Y793605, and LEW88516 all launched 3.9 Ma, 5) Nakhla, Lafayette, and Governador Valadares all launched 11 Ma, 5a) Chassigny launched 11.6 Ma, possibly with the Nakhlites, and 6) ALH84001 launched 14.4 Ma. Because the model explained both the relative and absolute abundances of the samples in hand, there followed a number of predictions. 1) The new Martian samples should continue to over-represent the youngest terranes. 2) Additional samples from ancient terrain, if any, should be source crater-paired with ALHA84001, rather than representing new impacts. 3) New samples of Nakhlite-age should represent source craters in roughly the same proportion as did the first three Nakhlites and Chassigny in 1999. 4) New meteorites from young terrain should represent additional impacts with much older CRE ages than those already observed. 5) Martian meteorites with two-stage CRE histories should

  5. PYTi-NiCr Signatures in the Columbia Hills are Present in Certain Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, B. C.; Gellert, R.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Squyres, S. W.

    2006-01-01

    Uniquely high levels of phosphorus and titanium were observed in several samples [1-3] by the APXS x-ray fluorescence measurements as the MER Spirit rover climbed Husband Hill (Columbia Hills, Gusev crater, Mars). A careful study of many such samples and their geochemical variability has revealed additional elements in this pattern, and that the derived multi-element signature is also unambiguously manifested in several martian meteorites.

  6. Ferric saponite and serpentine in the nakhlite martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hicks, L. J.; Bridges, J. C.; Gurman, S. J.

    2014-07-01

    Transmission electron microscopy and Fe-K X-ray absorption spectroscopy have been used to determine structure and ferric content of the secondary phase mineral assemblages in the nakhlite martian meteorites, NWA 998, Lafayette, Nakhla, GV, Y 000593, Y 000749, MIL 03346, NWA 817, and NWA 5790. The secondary phases are a rapidly cooled, metastable assemblage that has preserved Mg# and Ca fractionation related to distance from the fluid source, for most of the nakhlites, though one, NWA 5790, appears not to have experienced a fluid pathway. All nine nakhlite samples have also been analysed with scanning electron microscopy, electron probe micro analysis, Bright Field high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and selected area electron diffraction. By measuring the energy position of the Fe-K XANES 1s → 3d pre-edge transition centroid we calculate the ferric content of the minerals within the nakhlite meteorites. The crystalline phyllosilicates and amorphous silicate of the hydrothermal deposits filling the olivine fractures are found to have variable Fe3+/ΣFe values ranging from 0.4 to 0.9. In Lafayette, the central silicate gel parts of the veins are more ferric than the phyllosilicates around it, showing that the fluid became increasingly oxidised. The mesostasis of Lafayette and NWA 817 also have phyllosilicate, which have a higher ferric content than the olivine fracture deposits, with Fe3+/ΣFe values of up to 1.0. Further study, via TEM analyses, reveal the Lafayette and NWA 817 olivine phyllosilicates to have 2:1 T-O-T lattice structure with a the d001-spacing of 0.96 nm, whereas the Lafayette mesostasis phyllosilicates have 1:1 T-O structure with d001-spacings of 0.7 nm. Based on our analyses, the phyllosilicate found within the Lafayette olivine fractures is trioctahedral ferric saponite (Ca0.2K0.1)∑0.3(Mg2.6Fe2+1.3Fe3+1.7Mn0.1)∑5.7[(Si6.7AlIV0.9Fe3+0.4)∑8.0O20](OH)4·nH2O, and that found in the mesostasis fractures is an Fe

  7. Habitability Conditions Constrained by Martian Meteorites: Implications for Microbial Colonization and Mars Sample Return

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shivak, J. N.; Banerjee, N.; Flemming, R. L.

    2013-12-01

    We report the results of a comparative study of the crustal environmental conditions recorded by several Martian meteorites (Nakhla, Los Angeles, and Zagami). Though no samples have yet been returned from Mars, numerous meteorites are known and these provide the only samples of the Martian crust currently available for study. Terrestrial basalts and other mafic igneous rocks are analogous in many ways to much of the Martian crust, as evidenced by the composition of known Martian meteorites and measurements from planetary missions [1]. Microorganisms are known to thrive in the terrestrial geosphere and make use of many different substrates within rock in the subsurface of the Earth [2]. The action of aqueous solutions in the Martian crust has been well established through the study of alteration mineral assemblages present in many Martian meteorites, such as the nakhlites [3]. Aqueous activity in terrestrial chemolithoautotrophic habitats provides numerous energy and nutrient sources for microbes [4], suggesting the potential for habitable endolithic environments in Martian rocks. Fayalite in Nakhla has experienced extensive aqueous alteration to reddish-brown 'iddingsite' material within a pervasive fracture system. Textural imaging shows the replacement of primary olivine with various alteration phases and infiltration of this alteration front into host grains. Geochemical analysis of the alteration material shows the addition of iron and silica and removal of magnesium during alteration. Novel In situ Micro-XRD and Raman Spectroscopy of this material reveals a new assemblage consisting of iron oxides, smectite clays, carbonates, and a minor serpentine component. The alteration mineral assemblage here differs from several that have been previously reported [4] [5], allowing for a reevaluation of the environmental conditions during fluid action. Los Angeles and Zagami show no evidence of aqueous activity, though their primary basaltic mineralogies show many

  8. Amphibole in Martian Meteorites: Composition and Implication for Volatile Content of Parental Magma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, K. B.; Sonzogni, Y.; Treiman, A. H.

    2013-12-01

    Titanium-rich amphibole is present in melt inclusions in many martian (SNC) meteorites, suggesting that martian magmas contained water. Amphibole has been reported in melt inclusions within olivine grains in chassignites [1-3], and occurs in melt inclusions within pigeonite grains in most shergottites [4-10]. This study focuses on a comparison of amphibole compositions in two olivine-phyric shergottites: Tissint and Elephant Moraine (EETA) 79001, Lithology A. While amphibole (commonly of kaersutitic composition) is rare in martian meteorites, the mineral is widespread and may be useful in constraining volatile abundances in the martian mantle. Amphibole incorporates hydroxyl into its mineral structure on its O(3) site, which can also contain F-, Cl-, and O2-. Previous chemical analyses of amphiboles in martian meteorites show low halogen abundances, implying high proportions of OH- and/or O2- in the O(3) site [6, 11]. Presence of O2- on O(3) is not considered in this study, even though oxy-kaersutite can be stable at 1 bar pressure [11, 12]. Our chemical data on amphibole in martian meteorites will expand the current compositional database and provide amphibole water content estimates that can then be used to constrain the water content of the parental magma. Amphiboles were identified in polished thin sections of Tissint and EETA79001A by their yellow-orange to light brown pleochroism. Consistent with previous observations of amphibole in shergottites [4-10], the amphiboles are present only in melt inclusions in the cores of pigeonite grains, and never in augite, olivine, or mesostasis. The amphibole grains are subhedral, and range up to 15 μm in diameter. Amphibole formulae were calculated from chemical analyses by normalizing to 23 O, assuming that all iron is ferrous, and assuming that halogens and hydroxyl fully occupy the O(3) site (i.e., F-+Cl-+OH-= 2). Variability in iron oxidation and the possibility of internal amphibole dehydrogenation provide

  9. Chemical Alterations in Martian Meteorites from Cold and Hot Deserts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dreibus, G.; Huisl, W.; Spettel, B.; Haubold, R.; Jagoutz, E.

    2003-04-01

    Martian meteorites (SNC) provide evidence of the magmatic fractionation processes of their parent body. As 23 of the total of 27 meteorites are finds, the influence of chemical alterations during their residence time on Earth must be considered, when interpreting the mineralogical, chemical, or isotopic features. Many basaltic shergottites and nakhlites were collected both in the cold desert, Antarctica, and in hot deserts of North Africa and Asia. To detect alteration processes in the finds we have to compare their analytical data with those obtained from the very scarce falls. In this way, we find an overabundance of iodine in meteorites from Antarctica. The iodine contamination is caused by aerosols adhering to the ice. Therefore, iodine can penetrate into the meteorite during its residence in Antarctica. The iodine content measured in the Antarctic shergottites varies from 0.060 to 4.6 ppm and seems to depend on their residence time on ice. The paired Yamato nakhlites Y-000593 and Y-000749 recently discovered in Antarctica also reveal an iodine overabundance compared to Nakhla, which is the only fall among the nakhlites. However, in Nakhla we have another problem of alteration. Nakhla has unusually high Br and Cl concentrations which could originate from terrestrial or parent body alterations. As Cl and Br are readily extracted during water leaching experiments we favor a terrestrial contamination. A Br overabundance was also found in many olivine-rich shergottite finds from hot deserts, DaG 476, Dhofar 019, and SaU 005. However, in the basaltic shergottite Dhofar 378 and in the nakhlite NWA 817 [1] no Br contamination was observed. The olivine phases of the shergottites seem to be preferably attacked by weathering reactions in the hot deserts. In the shergottites from hot deserts, the subchondritic La/U ratios are remarkable, indicating a U contamination. All these meteorites are covered with an evaporation product, caliche. Caliche has a high content of

  10. A Younger Age for the Oldest Martian Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    2010-05-01

    The Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 Martian meteorite is famous for containing fiercely-disputed evidence for fossil life. Equally important to many cosmochemists, the meteorite also contains important information about the construction of the Martian crust by magmas derived from the interior, and the subsequent modification of those igneous rocks by large impacts and circulating water. A surprising feature of ALH 84001 has been its extremely ancient age, 4.50 billion years, as determined by samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd) and rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr) isotopic dating. If correct, the ancient age implies that the magma in which ALH 84001 formed intruded the primordial crust, perhaps forming in a deep ocean of magma that surrounded Mars during its initial differentiation into metallic core, rocky mantle, and primary crust. New age determinations by Thomas Lapen (University of Houston) and colleagues there and at the Johnson Space Center, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Brussels, Belgium, indicate that the rock crystallized in a magma 4.091 billion years ago. They used lutetium-hafnium (Lu-Hf) isotopes in determining the new age. This isotopic system has the advantage of not being affected as readily by impact heating and water alteration as are Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr. The new age is consistent with igneous activity throughout Martian history and with a period of heavy bombardment between 4.2 and 4.1 billion years as inferred from the ages of large impact basins on Mars.

  11. Organic Carbon Features Identified in the Nakhla Martian Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckay, D. S.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Le, L.; Rahman, Z.; Wentworth, S. J.

    2011-01-01

    We report, for the first time, the identification of specific carbonaceous phases, present within iddingsite alteration zones of the Nakhla meteorite that possess discrete, well defined, structurally coherent morphologies. These structures bear superficial similarity to the carbonaceous nanoglobules [1] found in primitive chondrites interplanetary dust particles, although they are an order-of-magnitude larger in size. Introduction: It has been known for many years that some members of the Martian meteorite clan contain organic matter [e.g., 2-4]. Based on both isotopic measurements [5] and circumstantial observations [4] (e.g., the similarity organic signatures present in both Antarctic finds and non-Antarctic falls) a credible argument has been made for a preterrestrial origin for the majority of these organics. The Nakhla meteorite is of particular interest in that it has been shown to contain both an acid-labile organic fraction as well as an acid-insoluble high molecular weight organic component [4]. Pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry of the latter component indicates it to be composed of aromatic and alkyl-aromatic functionalities bound into a macromolecule phase through ether linkages [4]. However, the spatial, textural and mineralogical associations of this carbonaceous macromolecular material have remained elusive [6].

  12. The Pb isotopic evolution of the Martian mantle constrained by initial Pb in Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellucci, J. J.; Nemchin, A. A.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Snape, J. F.; Bland, P.; Benedix, G. K.

    2015-12-01

    The Pb isotopic compositions of maskelynite and pyroxene grains were measured in ALH84001 and three enriched shergottites (Zagami, Roberts Massif 04262, and Larkman Nunatuk 12011) by secondary ion mass spectrometry. A maskelynite-pyroxene isochron for ALH84001 defines a crystallization age of 4089 ± 73 Ma (2σ). The initial Pb isotopic composition of each meteorite was measured in multiple maskelynite grains. ALH84001 has the least radiogenic initial Pb isotopic composition of any Martian meteorite measured to date (i.e., 206Pb/204Pb = 10.07 ± 0.17, 2σ). Assuming an age of reservoir formation for ALH84001 and the enriched shergottites of 4513 Ma, a two-stage Pb isotopic model has been constructed. This model links ALH84001 and the enriched shergottites by their similar μ value (238U/204Pb) of 4.1-4.6 from 4.51 Ga to 4.1 Ga and 0.17 Ga, respectively. The model employed here is dependent on a chondritic μ value (~1.2) from 4567 to 4513 Ma, which implies that core segregation had little to no effect on the μ value(s) of the Martian mantle. The proposed Pb isotopic model here can be used to calculate ages that are in agreement with Rb-Sr, Lu-Hf, and Sm-Nd ages previously determined in the meteorites and confirm the young (~170 Ma) ages of the enriched shergottites and ancient, >4 Ga, age of ALH84001.

  13. Searching for traces of life associated with carbonates in martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lepot, K.; Kearsley, A. T.; Chater, R. J.; McPhail, D. J.

    Martian meteorites provide an obvious starting point for the search for evidence of life on Mars. Peculiar structures shown by electron microscopy of fragments from the Antarctic meteorite ALH84001 have been reported to demonstrate shapes and a size distribution similar to those of cultured terrestrial nanobacteria. However, the association of these putative fossil forms with bacteria is only morphological, and no traces of undisputed biological organic matter have yet been demonstrated in close association with these structures. Similar, and larger, apparent microbial fossils have been found within samples of the Martian basaltic shergottite meteorite Los Angeles 001 (LA 001). Here they are associated with calcium carbonate deposition, known from isotopic studies to be terrestrial in origin, and also with silica-bearing globular encrustations, reminiscent of biofilm. This association is typical of bacterially-mediated mineral precipitation, which may occur directly on bacterial cells or on their surroundings. We have used analytical electron microscopy to locate and document possible bacterial shapes in LA 001, prior to Focussed Ion Beam cross-sectioning and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry of the internal sections revealed. We intend to compare the morphology and composition of internal structures to those of bacteria preserved in terrestrial carbonate stromatolites, siliceous sinters and abiotic precipitates, in order to determine whether major element compositional variation, isotopic and trace element partitioning can be used to reliably fingerprint bacterial activity as responsible for the meteoritic structures.

  14. Characterization of Martian Soil Fines Fraction in SNC Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; McKay, D. S.

    2003-01-01

    Some 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).

  15. A possible high-temperature origin for the carbonates in the martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Harvey, R P; McSween, H Y

    1996-07-01

    The meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001, commonly accepted to be of martian origin, is unique among known martian meteorites in containing abundant, zoned, pre-terrestrial carbonate minerals. Previous studies of the oxygen isotope compositions of these minerals have suggested that they precipitated from a low-temperature (0-80 degrees C) aqueous fluid in the martian crust--perhaps in a near-surface hydrothermal system. Here we report analyses of the major-element compositions of the carbonates, which provide an independent constraint on the composition and temperature of the fluid from which they formed. We argue that the most likely explanation for the observed compositions, and for the absence of co-existing hydrons minerals, is that the carbonates were formed by reactions between hot (> 650 degrees C), CO2-rich fluids and the ultramatic host rock during an impact event. Impact processes on the martian surface can produce both the hot, CO2-rich fluid (by volatilization of surface carbonates or other CO2 sources) and--by brecciation--the condults through which it flowed. Impact metasomatism is also consistent with the observed oxygen isotope disequillbrium, sequence of mineral formation, and carbonate mineral zoning, reflecting carbonate formation during rapid cooling from high temperatures rather than prolonged exposure to low-temperature fluids. PMID:8657303

  16. Martian carbon dioxide: Clues from isotopes in SNC meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Karlsson, H. R.; Clayton, R. N.; Mayeda, T. K.; Jull, A. J. T.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.

    1993-01-01

    Attempts to unravel the origin and evolution of the atmosphere and hydrosphere on Mars from isotopic data have been hampered by the impreciseness of the measurements made by the Viking Lander and by Earth-based telescopes. The SNC meteorites which are possibly pieces of the Martian surface offer a unique opportunity to obtain more precise estimates of the planet's volatile inventory and isotopic composition. Recently, we reported results on oxygen isotopes of water extracted by pyrolysis from samples of Shergotty, Zagami, Nakhla, Chassigny, Lafayette, and EETA-79001. Now we describe complementary results on the stable isotopic composition of carbon dioxide extracted simultaneously from those same samples. We will also report on C-14 abundances obtained by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) for some of these CO2 samples.

  17. A combined electron microprobe (EMP) and Raman spectroscopic study of the alteration products in Martian meteorite MIL 03346

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuebler, K. E.

    2013-03-01

    We examine the secondary alteration products in MIL 03346 using Raman spectroscopic and electron microprobe traverses. Discussion focuses on the single olivine in ,177 supplemented with observations from ,168 and ,169. Traverses start at the rim and progress into the interior. Dark brown, nearly opaque, laihunite [Fe2+Fe3+2(SiO4)2] is present as overgrowths, and 20-50 µm veins of reddish-brown stilpnomelane [(K,Na,Ca)4(Ti0.1,Al2.3,Fe3+35.5,Mn0.8,Mg9.3) (Si63Al9)(O,OH)206∗n(H2O)] occur inside the olivine. Stilpnomelane crosscuts and postdates the laihunite; veins are in sharp contact with the host olivine but lined by ~5 µm films of jarosite [KFe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6] from a later generation of alteration. An interstitial laihunite also hosts stilpnomelane. The most recent secondary phases are gypsum and bassanite in our X-ray maps of ,168 and ,169. Ca-sulfates were not observed in X-ray maps of ,177 but were detected in our Raman point count. All sulfates are believed to be Martian. The groundmass of MIL indicates rapid cooling from elevated temperatures with fO2 near QFM. Reports of laihunite synthesis by olivine oxidation at elevated temperatures (100-800°C) suggest the overgrowths formed during consolidation. In terrestrial rocks, stilpnomelane is a product of late diagenesis to garnet-grade metamorphism. In MIL, stilpnomelane appears to be a secondary phase formed at the lower end of this stability range, at conditions akin to diagenesis. Raman spectra indicate that the stilpnomelane, jarosite, and Ca-sulfates are hydrated. The stilpnomelane contains Cl- and was followed by jarosite, a product of acid alteration, and the deposition of Ca-sulfates and halide salts from more neutral chloride solutions.

  18. Los Angeles: The most differentiated basaltic martian meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rubin, Alan E.; Warren, Paul H.; Greenwood, James P.; Verish, Robert S.; Leshin, Laurie A.; Hervig, Richard L.; Clayton, Robert N.; Mayeda, Toshiko K.

    2000-11-01

    Los Angeles is a new martian meteorite that expands the compositional range of basaltic shergottites. Compared to Shergotty, Zagami, QUE94201, and EET79001-B, Los Angeles is more differentiated, with higher concentrations of incompatible elements (e.g., La) and a higher abundance of late-stage phases such as phosphates and K-rich feldspathic glass. The pyroxene crystallization trend starts at compositions more ferroan than in other martian basalts. Trace elements indicate a greater similarity to Shergotty and Zagami than to QUE94201 or EET79001-B, but the Mg/Fe ratio is low even compared to postulated parent melts of Shergotty and Zagami. Pyroxene in Los Angeles has 0.7 4-μm-thick exsolution lamellae, ˜10 times thicker than those in Shergotty and Zagami. Opaque oxide compositions suggest a low equilibration temperature at an oxygen fugacity near the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer. Los Angeles cooled more slowly than Shergotty and Zagami. Slow cooling, coupled with the ferroan bulk composition, produced abundant fine-grained intergrowths of fayalite, hedenbergite, and silica, by the breakdown of pyroxferroite. Shock effects in Los Angeles include maskelynitized plagioclase, pyroxene with mosaic extinction, and rare fault zones. One such fault ruptured a previously decomposed zone of pyroxferroite. Although highly differentiated, the bulk composition of Los Angeles is not close to the low-Ca/Si composition of the globally wind-stirred soil of Mars.

  19. New Bulk Sulfur Measurements of Martian Meteorites - Implications for Sulfur Cycle on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, S.; Dasgupta, R.; Lee, C.; Wadhwa, M.

    2013-12-01

    Magmatic degassing was likely critical in giving rise to a thick atmosphere of ancient Mars and SO2 and H2S could have been key greenhouse gases. How much S was released depends on (1) the S content of the mantle-derived magma and (2) the magmatic sulfur budget of the basaltic crust. While the former is estimated by S content of basaltic melts at sulfide saturation (SCSS) [1,2], assuming mantle-derived magma is sulfide saturated, it is unclear how much S gets trapped during crystallization of basalts in the crust versus how much is released to the atmosphere. S content of the martian crust can be estimated from martian meteorites, yet bulk S concentration data of martian meteorites is limited [3]. Further, most martian meteorites contain cumulus minerals and some have experienced secondary alteration (weathering/ impact effects), which could either deplete or enrich S in these samples. To better constrain the degassing of S from the martian interior, we measured bulk S contents of 7 martian meteorites via high mass-resolution solution ICP-MS [4]. Basaltic shergottites Los Angeles, Zagami and NWA 856 have S contents of 2865×224, 1954×91 and 1584×10 ppm, respectively while clinopyroxenites Nakhla and NWA 998 give values of 690×60 and 253×42 ppm S. Olivine-phyric shergottites NWA 1068 and Tissint have intermediate S contents of 1280×48 and 2120×68 ppm. The meteorites have lower S contents than the predicted SCSS of ~3500-4500 ppm [2] along liquid line of descent for a liquid similar to Yamato 980459 at 1 GPa, estimated using alphaMELTS. Taking into account the possible proportion of inter-cumulus liquid (f= 6-70 wt.%) in the analyzed meteorites estimated by previous studies, the degassed S could be as low as ~300-1900 ppm (estimated by the difference between the SCSS×f and the S in the meteorites). However, nakhlite Nakhla and basaltic shergottites NWA 856 and Zagami show higher S than the calculated SCSS×f. In these two meteorites, sulfides occur as

  20. Kinetic model of carbonate dissolution in Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kopp, R. E.; Humayun, M.

    2003-09-01

    The magnetites and sulfides located in the rims of carbonate globules in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 have been claimed as evidence of past life on Mars. Here, we consider the possibility that the rims were formed by dissolution and reprecipitation of the primary carbonate by the action of water. To estimate the rate of these solution-precipitation reactions, a kinetic model of magnesite-siderite carbonate dissolution was applied and used to examine the physicochemical conditions under which these rims might have formed. The results indicate that the formation of the rims could have taken place in < 50 yr of exposure to small amounts of aqueous fluids at ambient temperatures. Plausible conditions pertaining to reactions under a hypothetical ancient Martian atmosphere (1 bar CO 2), the modern Martian atmosphere (8 mbar CO 2), and the present terrestrial atmosphere (0.35 mbar CO 2) were explored to constrain the site of the process. The results indicated that such reactions likely occurred under the latter two conditions. The possibility of Antarctic weathering must be entertained, which, if correct, would imply that the plausibly biogenic minerals (single-domain magnetite of characteristic morphology and sulfide) reported from the rims may be the products of terrestrial microbial activity. This model is discussed in terms of the available isotope data and found to be compatible with the formation of ALH84001 rims. Particularly, anticorrelated variations of radiocarbon with δ 13C indicate that carbonate in ALH84001 was affected by solution-precipitation reactions immediately after its initial fall (˜13,000 yr ago) and then again during its recent exposure prior to collection.

  1. Possible Meteorites in the Martian Hills (False Color)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2006-01-01

    From its winter outpost at 'Low Ridge' inside Gusev Crater, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took this spectacular, color mosaic of hilly, sandy terrain and two potential iron meteorites. The two light-colored, smooth rocks about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the frame have been labeled 'Zhong Shan' and 'Allan Hills.'

    The two rocks' informal names are in keeping with the rover science team's campaign to nickname rocks and soils in the area after locations in Antarctica. Zhong Shang is an Antarctic base that the People's Republic of China opened on Feb. 26, 1989, at the Larsemann Hills in Prydz Bay in East Antarctica. Allan Hills is a location where researchers have found many Martian meteorites, including the controversial ALH84001, which achieved fame in 1996 when NASA scientists suggested that it might contain evidence for fossilized extraterrestrial life. Zhong Shan was the given name of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), known as the 'Father of Modern China.' Born to a peasant family in Guangdong, Sun moved to live with his brother in Honolulu at age 13 and later became a medical doctor. He led a series of uprisings against the Qing dynasty that began in 1894 and eventually succeeded in 1911. Sun served as the first provisional president when the Republic of China was founded in 1912.

    The Zhong Shan and Allan Hills rocks, at the left and right, respectively, have unusual morphologies and miniature thermal emission spectrometer signatures that resemble those of a rock known as 'Heat Shield' at the Meridiani site explored by Spirit's twin, Opportunity. Opportunity's analyses revealed Heat Shield to be an iron meteorite.

    Spirit acquired this false-color image on the rover's 872nd Martian day, or sol (June 16, 2006), using exposures taken through three of the panoramic camera's filters, centered on wavelengths of 750 nanometers, 530 nanometers, and 430 nanometers. The image is presented in false color to emphasize differences among

  2. Composition and Color of Martian Soil from Oxidation of Meteoritic Material

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yen, A. S.

    2001-01-01

    Aqueous weathering is not necessary for formation of the martian soils. The chemical composition and oxidation state of the surface fines can be attributed to meteoritic influx. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  3. Evidence for the extraterrestrial origin of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Clemett, S J; Dulay, M T; Gillette, J S; Chillier, X D; Mahajan, T B; Zare, R N

    1998-01-01

    Possible sources of terrestrial contamination are considered for the observation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Contamination is concluded to be negligible. PMID:9809015

  4. Prospects for Chronological Studies of Martian Rocks and Soils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyquist, L. E.; Shih, C-Y.; Reese, Y. D.

    2008-01-01

    Chronological information about Martian processes comes from two sources: Crater-frequency studies and laboratory studies of Martian meteorites. Each has limitations that could be overcome by studies of returned Martian rocks and soils. Chronology of Martian volcanism: The currently accepted chronology of Martian volcanic surfaces relies on crater counts for different Martian stratigraphic units [1]. However, there is a large inherent uncertainty for intermediate ages near 2 Ga ago. The effect of differing preferences for Martian cratering chronologies [1] is shown in Fig. 1. Stoeffler and Ryder [2] summarized lunar chronology, upon which Martian cratering chronology is based. Fig. 2 shows a curve fit to their data, and compares to it a corresponding lunar curve from [3]. The radiometric ages of some lunar and Martian meteorites as well as the crater-count delimiters for Martian epochs [4] also are shown for comparison to the craterfrequency curves. Scaling the Stoeffler-Ryder curve by a Mars/Moon factor of 1.55 [5] places Martian shergottite ages into the Early Amazonian to late Hesperian epochs, whereas using the lunar curve of [3] and a Mars/Moon factor 1 consigns the shergottites to the Middle-to-Late Amazonian, a less probable result. The problem is worsened if a continually decreasing cratering rate since 3 Ga ago is accepted [6]. We prefer the adjusted St ffler-Ryder curve because it gives better agreement with the meteorite ages (Fig.

  5. Spectroscopic properties of Martian meteorite ALH84001 and identification of minerals and organic species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Hiroi, T.

    1997-03-01

    Chemical and mineralogical analyses of the Martian meteorite ALH84001 have shown that it contains primarily orthopyroxene, which differentiates it from other Martian meteorites. Detailed spectroscopic analyses of multiple chip surfaces and a particulate sample of ALH84001 are presented here. The IR spectra of the chip and powder samples exhibit features characteristic of several minerals. The 5-25-micron spectra of ALH84001 are especially difficult to interpret because of multiple mineral components and particle size variations.

  6. Attempts to comprehend Martian surface processes through interpretation of the oxygen isotopic compositions of carbonates in SNC meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, I. P.; Pillinger, C. T.; Grady, Monica M.

    1992-01-01

    The SNC meteorites are known to contain trace quantities of a variety of secondary minerals such as carbonates, sulfates, and aluminosilicates. Since these constituents are thought to be mostly preterrestrial in origin, their study has the potential to provide rigorous constraints on the nature of martian weathering processes. However, this line of investigation is potentially complicated by the presence within the meteorite samples of any additional weathering products produced by terrestrial processes. Examination of such terrestrial components is important since weathering processes that affect meteorite samples following their fall to Earth might have some bearing on the nature of analogous processes at the surface of Mars. It is obviously necessary to try and distinguish which secondary components in SNC meteorites are terrestrial in origin from those that are preterrestrial. Herein consideration is made of the stable isotopic compositions of weathering products in two SNC meteorites: EET A79001 (a sample collected from Antarctica) and Nakhla (a fall from Egypt, 1911).

  7. (U-Th)/He Dating of Martian Meteorites: Shock Temperature Conditions Revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Min, K. K.

    2013-12-01

    Shock impact is one of the most prominent dynamic events to have occurred after the formation of any planetary bodies in our solar system. This near-surface episode caused an instantaneous temperature increase in the impact site and ejected materials, and was followed by a rapid cooling. Constraining shock P-T conditions and post-shock cooling paths of meteorites is crucial to understanding ejection dynamics, evaluating pre-shock features in the meteorites, and testing the possible transfer of viable life to different planets. Tremendous efforts have been devoted to studying the physical conditions of the shock events, and the most established method to constrain shock pressure condition is to compare microscopic textures of meteorites with those of artificially shocked terrestrial rocks. Using the equation of state, the shock pressures can be converted to corresponding 'post-shock temperatures (Tpost-shock),' which represent temperature increases (ΔT) during the shock relative to the pre-shock temperatures. The Tpost-shock can be further converted to Tpeak if the pre-shock temperature for an individual meteorite is known (Tpeak = Tpost-shock - Tpre-shock). An alternative way to estimate the shock T conditions is to use (U-Th)/He system whose sensitivity to temperature is relatively high. This approach can provide the absolute temperature conditions (Tpeak) of the shock event, instead of the T increases (ΔT). This method requires thermal modeling using the following input parameters: (1) pre-atmospheric body radius, (2) depth of a sample from the surface of the parent meteoroid, (3) surface temperature of meteoroid, (4) thermal diffusivity, (5) activation energy and pre-exponential term for He diffusion in merrillite, and (6) diffusion domain size. Most of these input parameters, except the diffusion domain size, are relatively well constrained for Martian meteorites, and uncertainties associated with these parameters have a limited effect on the Tpeak estimates

  8. Evidence for exclusively inorganic formation of magnetite in Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Brearley, A. J.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.; Treiman, A. H.; Zolensky, M. E.; Schwandt, C. S.; Lofgren, G. E.

    2004-01-01

    Magnetite crystals produced by terrestrial magnetotactic bacterium MV-1 are elongated on a [111] crystallographic axis, in a so-called truncated hexa-Octahedral shape. This morphology has been proposed to constitute a biomarker (i.e., formed only in biogenic processes). A subpopulation of magnetite crystals associated with carbonate globules in Martian meteorite ALH84001 is reported to have this morphology, and the observation has been taken as evidence for biological activity on Mars. In this study, we present evidence for the exclusively inorganic origin of [111]-elongated magnetite crystals in ALH84001. We report three-dimensional(3-D) morphologies for approx.1000 magnetite crystals extracted from: (1) thermal decomposition products of Fe-rich carbonate produced by inorganic hydrothermal precipitation in laboratory experiments; (2) carbonate globules in Martian meteoriteeALH84001; and (3) cells of magnetotactic bacterial strain MV-1. The 3-D morphologies were derived by fitting 3-D shape models to two-dimensional bright-field transmission-electron microscope (TEAM) images obtained at a series of viewing angles. The view down the {110} axes closest to the [111] elongation axis of magnetite crystals ([111]x{110) not equal to 0) provides a 2-D projection that uniquely discriminates among the three [111]-elongated magnetite morphologies found in these samples: [111]-elongated truncated hexaoctahedron ([111]-THO), [111]-elongated cubo-octahedron ([111]-ECO), and [111]-elongated simple octahedron ([111]-ESO). All [111] -elongated morphologies are present in the three types of sample, but in different proportions. In the ALH84001 Martian meteorite and in our inorganic laboratory products, the most common [111]-elongated magnetite crystal morphology is [111]-ECO. In contrast, the most common morphology for magnetotactic bacterial strain MV-1 is [111]-THO. These results show that: (1) the morphology of [111]-elongated magnetite crystals associated with the carbonate

  9. Estimating different eruptive style volcanic areas of Mars from NASA Martian Meteorites Compendium data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mari, Nicola; Verrino, Miriam

    2016-04-01

    The geomorphological characteristics of the Martian surface suggest that both effusive and explosive eruptive behaviour occurred. We investigated whether data about magma viscosity could be extrapolated from Mars SNCs (Shergotty, Nakhla, and Chassigny classes) meteorites, by using available geochemical and petrographic data from the NASA Martian Meteorites Compendium. Viscosity was used to characterize how eruptive style could change in different volcanic regions of planet Mars. Data about composition and crystallinity of 41 SNCs meteorites were used and classified, avoiding meteorites with poor/incomplete database. We assumed Mars as a one-plate planet, fO2 = QFM, and H2O wt% = 0 for each sample. Collected data from the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS TES) identified the source regions for almost all the studied SNCs meteorites. As input for thermodynamic simulations we first needed to find the depth and pressure of the magmatic source for each meteorite sample through available Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). Data about average surface temperatures was used to establish whether a magmatic source is shallow or deep. Successively, we found the magma source depth (and pressure) by using the relationship with the heights of the volcanic edifice. The subsolidus equilibration temperatures found through petrologic softwares were used to calculate viscosity. Results indicate a crystallization temperature in a range from 1,120°C to 843°C, follow by a variation in viscosity from 101,43 to 105,97 Pa s. Viscosity seems to be higher in Tharsis, Elysium, Amazonis, and Syrtis Major regions than the remnant areas. According to past experimental studies about magma viscosity, we classified the eruptive style into effusive (101-103,5 Pa s), intermediate (103,5-104,5 Pa s), and explosive (104,5-106 Pa s). The Hellas Basin, Argyre Basin, Ganges Chasma, Eos Chasma, and Nili Fossae regions show an eruptive behaviour between effusive and intermediate

  10. The temperature of formation of carbonate in Martian meteorite ALH84001: constraints from cation diffusion

    SciTech Connect

    Hutcheon, I D; Kent, A; Phinney, D L; Ryerson, F J

    1999-08-13

    An important test of the hypothesis that Martian meteorite ALH84001 contains fossil remnants of an ancient Martian biota is the thermal history of the carbonate rosettes associated with the proposed biomarkers. If carbonates formed at temperatures over {approximately} 110 C (the limit for terrestrial life), it is unlikely that these minerals are associated with a terrestrial-like biota.

  11. Nakhla: a Martian Meteorite with Indigenous Organic Carbonaceous Features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, D. S.; Gibson, E. K.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; Le, L.; Rahman, Z.; Wentworth, S. J.

    2011-01-01

    The Nakhla meteorite possesses discrete, well defined, structurally coherent morphologies of carbonaceous phases present within iddingsite alteration zones. Based upon both isotopic measurements and analysis of organic phases the presence of pre-terrestrial organics is now recognized. Within the microcrystalline layers of Nakhla s iddingsite, discrete clusters of salt crystals are present. These salts are predominantly halite (NaCl) with minor MgCl2 crystals. Some CaSO4, likely gypsum, appears to be partially intergrown with some of the halite. EDX mapping shows discrete C-rich features are interspersed among these crystals. A hollow semi-spherical bowl structure ( 3 m ) has been identified and analyzed after using a focused ion beam (FIB) to cut a transverse TEM thin section of the feature and the underlying iddingsite. TEM/EDX analysis reveals that the feature is primarily carbonaceous containing C with lesser amounts of Si, S, Ca, Cl, F, Na, and minor Mn and Fe; additionally a small peak consistent with N, which has been previously seen in Nakhla carbonaceous matter, is also present. Selected area electron diffraction (SAED) shows that this C-rich material is amorphous (lacking any long-range crystallographic order) and is not graphite or carbonate. Micro-Raman spectra acquired from the same surface from which the FIB section was extracted demonstrate a typical kerogen-like D and G band structure with a weak absorption peak at 1350 and a stronger peak at 1600/cm. The C-rich feature is intimately associated with both the surrounding halite and underlying iddingsite matrix. Both iddingsite and salts are interpreted as having formed as evaporate assemblages from progressive evaporation of water bodies on Mars. This assemblage, sans the carbonaceous moieties, closely resembles iddingsite alteration features previously described which were interpreted as indigenous Martian assemblages. These distinctive macromolecular carbonaceous structures in Nakhla may represent

  12. Hydrogen isotope analyses of alteration phases in the nakhlite martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallis, L. J.; Taylor, G. J.; Nagashima, K.; Huss, G. R.; Needham, A. W.; Grady, M. M.; Franchi, I. A.

    2012-11-01

    Secondary alteration phases, such as carbonates, smectite clays and Fe-oxides, are found within the martian meteorites. If these meteorites were seen to fall, the assumption can be reasonably made that the secondary phases have a martian origin. However, for martian meteorite finds, this is not the case. Deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio analysis can be used to distinguish between terrestrial and martian secondary alteration phases - the martian atmosphere is currently five times enriched in deuterium compared to terrestrial seawater, producing a deuterium enrichment in the martian alteration phases large enough to be detected with modern ion microprobe techniques. We aimed to measure the D/H ratio of the iddingsite-like alteration veins in the nakhlite martian meteorites Nakhla, MIL 03346, MIL 090030 and Y 000593, to help confirm the martian origin of this material, and determine the relative amounts of terrestrial contamination in each meteorite. As an observed fall Nakhla is nominally uncontaminated by terrestrial alteration, and shows elevated δD values in its alteration veins. However, even the highest of these values is much below that of the martian atmosphere, indicating that terrestrial contamination, probably combined with fractionation effects between the martian atmosphere and the alteration material, have reduced the δD values of these veins. The speed of hydrogen isotope exchange in the nakhlite iddingsite-like alteration veins is demonstrated by the purely terrestrial δD values in the veins of Nakhla 110, a thin-section exposed to the terrestrial atmosphere since its preparation in 1998. Mineralogical heterogeneity also affects the hydrogen isotope exchange rate in these veins - the wide variation in δD within the veins of Nakhla and Y 000593 appears to be due to the heterogeneous nature of the vein material, where some phases exchange hydrogen with the atmosphere at a faster rate than others.

  13. Nanophase Magnetite and Pyrrhotite in ALH84001 Martian Meteorite: Evidence for an Abiotic Origin

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Lauer, H. V., Jr. III; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.

    2006-01-01

    The nanophase magnetite crystals in the black rims of pancake-shaped carbonate globules of the Martian meteorite ALH84001 have been studied extensively because of the claim by McKay et al.that they are biogenic in origin. A subpopulation of these magnetite crystals are reported to conform to a unique elongated shape called "truncated hexa-octahedral" or "THO" by Thomas-Keprta et al. They claim these THO magnetite crystals can only be produced by living bacteria thus forming a biomarker in the meteorite. In contrast, thermal decomposition of Fe-rich carbonate has been suggested as an alternate hypothesis for the elongated magnetite formation in ALH84001 carbonates. The experimental and observational evidence for the inorganic formation of nanophase magnetite and pyrrhotite in ALH84001 by decomposition of Fe-rich carbonate in the presence of pyrite are provided.

  14. Soil Components in Heterogeneous Impact Glass in Martian Meteorite EETA79001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schrader, C. M.; Cohen, B. A.; Donovan, J. J.; Vicenzi, E. P.

    2010-01-01

    Martian soil composition can illuminate past and ongoing near-surface processes such as impact gardening [2] and hydrothermal and volcanic activity [3,4]. Though the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) have analyzed the major-element composition of Martian soils, no soil samples have been returned to Earth for detailed chemical analysis. Rao et al. [1] suggested that Martian meteorite EETA79001 contains melted Martian soil in its impact glass (Lithology C) based on sulfur enrichment of Lithology C relative to the meteorite s basaltic lithologies (A and B) [1,2]. If true, it may be possible to extract detailed soil chemical analyses using this meteoritic sample. We conducted high-resolution (0.3 m/pixel) element mapping of Lithology C in thin section EETA79001,18 by energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS). We use these data for principal component analysis (PCA).

  15. Evidence From Hydrogen Isotopes in Meteorites for a Martian Permafrost

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Usui, T.; Alexander, C. M. O'D.; Wang, J.; Simon, J. I.; Jones, J. H.

    2014-01-01

    Fluvial landforms on Mars suggest that it was once warm enough to maintain persistent liquid water on its surface. The transition to the present cold and dry Mars is closely linked to the history of surface water, yet the evolution of surficial water is poorly constrained. We have investigated the evolution of surface water/ ice and its interaction with the atmosphere by measurements of hydrogen isotope ratios (D/H: deuterium/ hydrogen) of martian meteorites. Hydrogen is a major component of water (H2O) and its isotopes fractionate significantly during hydrological cycling between the atmosphere, surface waters, ground ice, and polar cap ice. Based on in situ ion microprobe analyses of three geochemically different shergottites, we reported that there is a water/ice reservoir with an intermediate D/H ratio (delta D = 1,000?2500 %) on Mars. Here we present the possibility that this water/ice reservoir represents a ground-ice/permafrost that has existed relatively intact over geologic time.

  16. Visible and near-infrared spectral survey of Martian meteorites stored at the National Institute of Polar Research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hiroi, Takahiro; Kaiden, Hiroshi; Misawa, Keiji; Niihara, Takafumi; Kojima, Hideyasu; Sasaki, Sho

    2011-09-01

    Martian meteorite chip samples stored at the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) have been studied by a visible and near-infrared (VNIR) spectrometer. Measured spots are about 3 × 2 mm in size, which are clearly marked on photographs of the meteorite chips. Rock types and approximate mineral compositions of studied meteorites have been identified or obtained through this spectral survey with no sample preparation required. This study demonstrates that this kind of spectral survey is effective in classifying and describing Marian meteorites, and that such a VNIR spectrometer on a Mars rover would be useful for identifying these kinds of unaltered Mars rocks. Further studies which utilize a smaller spot size are desired for improving the accuracy of identifying the clasts and mineral phases in the rocks.

  17. New Anomalously Magnetic Martian Meteorites: the Case for Metal as the Remanence Carrier in the Martian Crust ?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rochette, P.; van de Moortèle, B.; Reynard, B.; Beck, P.; Gillet, P.; McMillan, P.

    2006-12-01

    Based on the comprehensive rock magnetic study of martian meteorites, two minerals magnetite (Ti or Cr substituted) and pyrrhotite- have been proposed as the carriers of Martian crustal remanence [1,2]. However, the recently discovered chassignite NWA2737 (the only chassignite besides Chassigny [3]) and lerhzolitic shergottite NWA1950, appear much more magnetic than the other member of their family and bring the case for an alternative mineral. NWA2737, composed essentially by olivine of nearly black color, have been submitted to detailed TEM and low temperature magnetic study to understand its difference with Chassigny, that is is nearly a pure paramagnet, made of green olivine. The olivine crystals appear to be loaded with nanoparticles of FeNi metal, encompassing the superparamagnetic to single domain transition at 30 K (10 nm range). We interprete the formation of these nanoparticles as being shock induced, as other criteria show that NWA2737 has been more strongly shocked than Chassigny. Shock induced reduction of olivine to produce metal has been invoked on surfaces deprived of atmosphere (Moon, asteroids; e.g. [4]) but never observed on Earth or Mars. The occurrence of metallic iron has also been reported in a shock vein of NWA1950 [5]. Therefore, metal, formed by shock in the heavily cratered Noachian crust may be also considered as a possible carrier for the crustal remanence. Severe problems arise with this hypothesis: the remanence should be patchy and limited to the first few km of the crust (except below large craters), two features not fitting with standard views of Mars crustal magnetization. On the other hand the widespread surface formation of metal nanoparticles could provide the best precursor for the oxydised particles (goethite, hematite) in the martian soils, as demonstrated by the experimental weathering of metal in C02+ H20 atmosphere conducted by [6]. References: [1] Rochette, P. et al. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 40, 529-540, 2006. [2

  18. Chemical Weathering Records of Martian Soils Preserved in the Martian Meteorite EET79001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Wentworth, S. J.; McKay, D. S.

    2004-01-01

    Impact-melt glasses, rich in Martian atmospheric gases, contain Martian soil fines (MSF) mixed with other coarse-grained regolith fractions which are produced during impact bombardment on Mars surface. An important characteristic of the MSF fraction is the simultaneous enrichment of felsic component accompanied by the depletion of mafic component relative to the host phase in these glasses. In addition, these glasses yield large sulfur abundances due to the occurrence of secondary mineral phases such as sulfates produced during acid-sulfate weathering of the regolith material near the Martian surface. Sulfurous gases released into atmosphere by volcanoes on Mars are oxidized to H2SO4 which deposit back on the surface of Mars as aerosol particles. Depending on the water availability, sulfuric acids dissolve into solutions which aggressively decompose the Fe-Mg silicates in the Martian regolith. During chemical weathering, structural elements such as Fe, Mg and Ca (among others) are released into the transgressing solutions. These solutions leach away the soluble components of Mg, Ca and Na, leaving behind insoluble iron as Fe3(+) hydroxysulfate mixed with poorly crystalline hydroxide- precipitates under oxidizing conditions. In this study, we focus on the elemental distribution of FeO and SO3 in the glass veins of EET79001, 507 sample, determined by Electron Microprobe and FE SEM measurements at JSC. This glass sample is an aliquot of a bigger glass inclusion ,104 analysed by where large concentrations of Martian atmospheric noble gases are found.

  19. Exsolution and shock microstructures of igneous pyroxene clasts in the Northwest Africa 7533 Martian meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leroux, Hugues; Jacob, Damien; Marinova, Maya; Hewins, Roger H.; Zanda, Brigitte; Pont, Sylvain; Lorand, Jean-Pierre; Humayun, Munir

    2016-05-01

    Northwest Africa (NWA) 7533 is a Martian regolith breccia. This meteorite (and its pairings) offers a good opportunity to study (near-) surface processes that occurred on early Mars. Here, we have conducted a transmission electron microscope study of medium- and coarse-grained (a few tens to hundreds of micrometers) Ca-rich pyroxene clasts in order to define their thermal and shock histories. The pyroxene grains have a high-temperature (magmatic) origin as revealed by the well-developed pigeonite-augite exsolution microstructure. Exsolution lamella characteristics (composition, thickness, and spacing) indicate a moderately slow cooling. Some of the pyroxene clasts display evidence for local decomposition into magnetite and silica at the submicron scale. This phase decomposition may have occurred at high temperature and occurred at high oxygen fugacity at least 2-3 log units above the QFM buffer, after the formation of the exsolution lamellae. This corresponds to oxidizing conditions well above typical Martian magmatic conditions. These oxidizing conditions seem to have prevailed early and throughout most of the history of NWA 7533. The shock microstructure consists of (100) mechanical twins which have accommodated plastic deformation. Other pyroxene shock indicators are absent. Compared with SNC meteorites that all suffered significant shock metamorphism, NWA 7533 appears only mildly shocked. The twin microstructure is similar from one clast to another, suggesting that the impact which generated the (100) twins involved the compacted breccia and that the pyroxene clasts were unshocked when they were incorporated into the NWA 7533 breccia.

  20. Light lithophile elements in pyroxenes of Northwest Africa (NWA) 817 and other Martian meteorites: Implications for water in Martian magmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treiman, Allan H.; Musselwhite, Donald S.; Herd, Christopher D. K.; Shearer, Charles K.

    2006-06-01

    Zoning patterns of light lithophile elements (the LLE: Li, Be, and B) in pyroxenes of some Martian basaltic meteorites have been used to suggest that the parent basalts were saturated in water and exsolved an aqueous fluid phase. Here, we examine LLE zoning in the augites of a quickly cooled Martian basalt that was not water-saturated—the Northwest Africa (NWA) 817 nakhlite. Analyses for LLE were by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), supported by EMP analyses of major and minor elements. In NWA 817, zoning of Be and B is consistent with igneous fractionations while Li abundances are effectively constant across wide ranges in abundance of other incompatible elements (Be, B, Ti, and Fe*). The lack of strong zoning in Li can be ascribed to intracrystalline diffusion, despite the rapid cooling of NWA 817. Most other nakhlites, notably Nakhla and Lafayette, cooled more slowly than did NWA 817 [Treiman, A.H., 2005. The nakhlite Martian meteorites: augite-rich igneous rock from Mars. Chem. Erde65, 203-270]. In them Li abundances are constant across augite, as are abundances of other elements. In Nakhla pyroxenes, all the LLE have effectively constant abundances across significant ranges in Fe* and Ti abundance. Lafayette is more equilibrated still, and shows constant abundances of LLE and nearly constant Fe*. A pyroxene in the NWA480 shergottite has constant Li abundances, and was interpreted to represent mineral fractionation coupled with exsolution of aqueous fluid. A simple quantitative model of this process requires that the partitioning of Li between basalt and aqueous fluid, LiDaq/bas, be 15 times larger than its experimentally determined value. Thus, its seems unlikely that the Li zoning pattern in NWA480 augite represents exsolution of aqueous fluid. Late igneous or sub-solidus diffusion seems more likely as is suggested by Li isotopic studies [Beck, P., Chaussidon, M., Barrat, J.-A., Gillet, Ph., Bohn, M., 2005. An ion-microprobe study of lithium isotopes

  1. Sulfur isotopic systematics in alteration assemblages in martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001

    SciTech Connect

    Shearer, C.K.; Layne, G.D.; Papike, J.J.; Spilde, M.N.

    1996-08-01

    ALH84001 is a coarse-grained, clastic orthopyroxenite meteorite related to the SNC meteorite group (shergottites, nakhlites, Chassigny). Superimposed upon the orthopyroxene-dominant igneous mineral assemblage is a hydrothermal signature. This hydrothermal overprint consists of carbonate assemblages occurring in spheroidal aggregates and fine-grained carbonate-sulfide vug-filling. The sulfide in this assemblage has been identified as pyrite, an unusual sulfide in meteorites. Previously, Burgess et al. (1989) reported a bulk {delta} {sup 34}S for a SNC group meteorite (Shergotty) of -0.5 {+-} 1.5%. Here, we report the first martian {delta} {sup 34}S values from individual sulfide grains. Using newly developed ion microprobe techniques, we were able to determine {delta} {sup 34}S of the pyrite in ALH84001 with a 1 {alpha} precision of better than {+-}0.5%. The {delta} {sup 34}S values for the pyrite range from +4.8 to +7.8%. Within the stated uncertainties, the pyrite from ALH84001 exhibits a real variability in {delta} {sup 34}S in this alteration assemblage. In addition, these sulfides are demonstrably enriched in {sup 34}S relative to Canon Diablo troilite and sulfides from most other meteorites. This signature implies that the planetary body represented by ALH 84001 experienced processes capable of fractionating sulphur isotopes and that hydrothermal conditions changed during pyrite precipitation (T, pH, fluid composition, etc.). These new data are not consistent with the pyrite recording either biogenic activity or atmospheric fractionation of sulphur through nonthermal escape mechanisms or oxidation processes. This study also demonstrates the usefulness of ion microprobe measurements of sulphur isotopes in constraining conditions on other planetary bodies.

  2. Petrological evidence for shock melting of carbonates in the martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Scott, E R; Yamaguchi, A; Krot, A N

    1997-05-22

    The meteorite ALH84001--a shocked igneous rock of probable martian origin-contains chemically and isotopically heterogeneous carbonate globules, associated with which are organic and inorganic structures that have been interpreted as possible fossil remains of ancient martian biota. A critical assumption underlying this suggestion is that the carbonates formed from low-temperature fluids penetrating the cracks and voids of the host rock. Here we report petrological studies of ALH84001 which investigate the effects of shock on the various mineralogical components of the rock. We find that carbonate, plagioclase and silica were melted and partly redistributed by the same shock event responsible for the intense local crushing of pyroxene in the meteorite. Texture and compositional data show that, during the period of shock decompression, monomineralic melts were injected into pyroxene fractures that were subsequently cooled and resealed within seconds. Our results therefore suggest that the carbonates in ALH84001 could not have formed at low temperatures, but instead crystallized from shock-melted material; this conclusion weakens significantly the arguments that these carbonates could host the fossilized remnants of biogenic activity. PMID:9163421

  3. Investigations into an unknown organism on the martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steele, A.; Goddard, D. T.; Stapleton, D.; Toporski, J. K.; Peters, V.; Bassinger, V.; Sharples, G.; Wynn-Williams, D. D.; McKay, D. S.

    2000-01-01

    Examination of fracture surfaces near the fusion crust of the martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 have been conducted using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) and has revealed structures strongly resembling mycelium. These structures were compared with similar structures found in Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities. On morphology alone, we conclude that these features are not only terrestrial in origin but probably belong to a member of the Actinomycetales, which we consider was introduced during the Antarctic residency of this meteorite. If true, this is the first documented account of terrestrial microbial activity within a meteorite from the Antarctic blue ice fields. These structures, however, do not bear any resemblance to those postulated to be martian biota, although they are a probable source of the organic contaminants previously reported in this meteorite.

  4. Scanning Electron Microscopy Investigation of a Sample Depth Profile Through the Martian Meteorite Nakhla

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Toporski, Jan; Steele, Andrew; Westall, Frances; McKay, David S.

    2000-01-01

    The ongoing scientific debate as to whether or not the Martian meteorite ALH84001 contained evidence of possible biogenic activities showed the need to establish consistent methods to ascertain the origin of such evidence. To distinguish between terrestrial organic material/microbial contaminants and possible indigenous microbiota within meteorites is therefore crucial. With this in mind a depth profile consisting of four samples from a new sample allocation of Martian meteorite Nakhla was investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray analysis. SEM imaging of freshly broken fractured chips revealed structures strongly recent terrestrial microorganisms, in some cases showing evidence of active growth. This conclusion was supported by EDX analysis, which showed the presence of carbon associated with these structures, we concluded that these structures represent recent terrestrial contaminants rather than structures indigenous to the meteorite. Page

  5. Oxygen isotopic constraints on the genesis of carbonates from Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leshin, Laurie A.; McKeegan, Kevin D.; Harvey, Ralph P.

    1997-03-01

    With a crystallization age of 4.5 Ga, ALH84001 is unique among the Martian meteorites. It is also the only Martian meteorite that contains an appreciable amount of carbonate, and significantly, this carbonate occurs without associated secondary hydrated minerals. Moreover, McKay et al. (1996) have suggested that ALH84001 contains evidence of past Martian life in the form of nanofossils, biogenic minerals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The presence of carbonate in ALH84001 is especially significant. The early Martian environment is thought to have been more hospitable to life than todays cold, dry climate. In order to better assess the true delta-O-18 values, as well as the isotopic diversity and complexity of the ALH84001 carbonates, direct measurements of the oxygen and carbon isotopic compositions of individual carbonate phases are needed. Here we report in situ analyses of delta-O-18 values in carbonates from two polished thin sections of ALH84001.

  6. Petrogenesis of a vitrophyre in the martian meteorite breccia NWA 7034

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Udry, Arya; Lunning, Nicole G.; McSween, Harry Y.; Bodnar, Robert J.

    2014-09-01

    Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and its paired meteorites NWA 7533 and NWA 7475 are the first recognized martian polymict breccia samples. An unusual, large, subrounded clast in NWA 7034 shows a vitrophyric texture, consisting of skeletal pyroxene and olivine with mesostasis. This lithology has not been observed in the paired meteorites. It crystallized under disequilibrium conditions as indicated by its olivine and pyroxene KDFe/Mg partitioning values, as well as reversed order of crystallization and mineral compositions relative to those predicted by MELTS. We report the highest bulk Ni value (1020 ppm) measured in any known martian meteorite or martian igneous rock, suggesting an impact melt origin for the vitrophyre. Addition of 5.3-7.7% chondritic material to the target rock would account for the Ni enrichment. The bulk major and trace element abundances of the vitrophyre indicate that the protolith was not the host breccia nor any other martian meteorites. However, the clast is compositionally similar to Humphrey rock in Gusev crater analyzed by the Spirit rover and to a texturally distinct group of clasts in the paired meteorite NWA 7533. Thus, we propose that the target rock was an igneous lithology similar to Gusev basalts, which was subsequently contaminated by a chondritic impactor.

  7. The chlorine isotopic composition of Martian meteorites 1: Chlorine isotope composition of Martian mantle and crustal reservoirs and their interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, J. T.; Shearer, C. K.; Sharp, Z. D.; Burger, P. V.; McCubbin, F. M.; Santos, A. R.; Agee, C. B.; McKeegan, K. D.

    2016-05-01

    The Martian meteorites record a wide diversity of environments, processes, and ages. Much work has been done to decipher potential mantle sources for Martian magmas and their interactions with crustal and surface environments. Chlorine isotopes provide a unique opportunity to assess interactions between Martian mantle-derived magmas and the crust. We have measured the Cl-isotopic composition of 17 samples that span the range of known ages, Martian environments, and mantle reservoirs. The 37Cl of the Martian mantle, as represented by the olivine-phyric shergottites, NWA 2737 (chassignite), and Shergotty (basaltic shergottite), has a low value of approximately -3.8‰. This value is lower than that of all other planetary bodies measured thus far. The Martian crust, as represented by regolith breccia NWA 7034, is variably enriched in the heavy isotope of Cl. This enrichment is reflective of preferential loss of 35Cl to space. Most basaltic shergottites (less Shergotty), nakhlites, Chassigny, and Allan Hills 84001 lie on a continuum between the Martian mantle and crust. This intermediate range is explained by mechanical mixing through impact, fluid interaction, and assimilation-fractional crystallization.

  8. X-ray Microtomography of Martian Meteorites and Implications for Mars Sample Return

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Caroline; Ahmed, Farah; Sykes, Daniel; Schroeven-Deceuninck, Hilde

    2013-04-01

    Martian meteorites are some of the rarest and most scientifically interesting meteorite samples available for study, providing unique insights into the formation and geological evolution of Mars. With such rare and valuable material it is imperative to ensure that the most suitable samples are selected for each scientific study, particularly when material may be compromised or even completely destroyed during those analyses. X-ray micro CT-scanning is completely non-destructive and requires no sample preparation. The technique provides detailed insights into the mineralogical and textural characteristics of geological materials that would otherwise be determined using optical and/or electron microscopy with the necessary destructive and invasive sample preparation of a polished section or block. We have been carrying out a systematic study of Martian meteorites in the Natural History Museum Collection as part of a detailed curatorial and research program. Our results indicate that the level of detail that can be obtained using micro-CT rivals that using traditional electron microscopy, with the added advantage that three dimensional data is generated. For all samples it is possible to determine and delineate between different mineral phases including olivine, pyroxene, feldspar glass and opaque phases. Cracks and voids are also easily detected; an important result for samples which potentially contain trapped pockets of Martian atmosphere such as Tissint. Depending on sample size, different phases are resolvable down to a scale of ~5 micrometres. The complete lack of sample preparation required and the non-destructive nature of X-ray microtomography means that it could prove an extremely powerful tool during initial investigations of samples returned from Mars for Planetary Protection and preliminary mineralogical and textural characterisation. Indeed, if a sample container could be designed with an X-ray transparent 'window', it should be possible to determine

  9. Natural bridgmanite-periclase aggregates in Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tschauner, O. D.; Ma, C.; Prescher, C.; Prakapenka, V.

    2014-12-01

    We use a combination of in-house- and synchrotron-based micro-mapping techniques to identify and characterize natural parageneseis of bridgmanite (MgSiO3 in the perovskite structure, IMA 2014-017) and periclase in shocked meteorites. The goal is to evaluate if shock-generated bridgmanite-melt, bridgmanite-periclase intergrowths provide information on element partitioning and rock-deformation that complement experimental studies. As in case of any natural rock recovered from high P-T conditions, chemical and physical changes during release require careful assessment. Major- and minor element concentrations are measured quantitatively with EPMA. Phase identification,-distribution, as well as internal structural parameters are evaluated based on micro-diffraction mappings. Laue diffraction peak profile analysis permits examination of dislocations active during deformation of bridgmanite-periclase aggregates.

  10. A search for amino acids and nucleobases in the Martian meteorite Roberts Massif 04262 using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Callahan, Michael P.; Burton, Aaron S.; Elsila, Jamie E.; Baker, Eleni M.; Smith, Karen E.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Dworkin, Jason P.

    2013-05-01

    The investigation into whether Mars contains signatures of past or present life is of great interest to science and society. Amino acids and nucleobases are compounds that are essential for all known life on Earth and are excellent target molecules in the search for potential Martian biomarkers or prebiotic chemistry. Martian meteorites represent the only samples from Mars that can be studied directly in the laboratory on Earth. Here, we analyzed the amino acid and nucleobase content of the shergottite Roberts Massif (RBT) 04262 using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. We did not detect any nucleobases above our detection limit in formic acid extracts; however, we did measure a suite of protein and nonprotein amino acids in hot-water extracts with high relative abundances of β-alanine and γ-amino-n-butyric acid. The presence of only low (to absent) levels of several proteinogenic amino acids and a lack of nucleobases suggest that this meteorite fragment is fairly uncontaminated with respect to these common biological compounds. The distribution of straight-chained amine-terminal n-ω-amino acids in RBT 04262 resembled those previously measured in thermally altered carbonaceous meteorites (Burton et al. 2012; Chan et al. 2012). A carbon isotope ratio of -24‰ ± 6‰ for β-alanine in RBT 04262 is in the range of reduced organic carbon previously measured in Martian meteorites (Steele et al. 2012). The presence of n-ω-amino acids may be due to a high temperature Fischer-Tropsch-type synthesis during igneous processing on Mars or impact ejection of the meteorites from Mars, but more experimental data are needed to support these hypotheses.

  11. A Search for Amino Acids and Nucleobases in the Martian Meteorite Roberts Massif 04262 Using Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Callahan, Michael P.; Burton, Aaron S.; Elsila, Jamie E.; Baker, Eleni M.; Smith, Karen E.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Dworkin, Jason P.

    2013-01-01

    The investigation into whether Mars contains signatures of past or present life is of great interest to science and society. Amino acids and nucleobases are compounds that are essential for all known life on Earth and are excellent target molecules in the search for potential Martian biomarkers or prebiotic chemistry. Martian meteorites represent the only samples from Mars that can be studied directly in the laboratory on Earth. Here, we analyzed the amino acid and nucleobase content of the shergottite Roberts Massif (RBT) 04262 using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. We did not detect any nucleobases above our detection limit in formic acid extracts; however, we did measure a suite of protein and nonprotein amino acids in hot-water extracts with high relative abundances of beta-alanine and gamma-amino-eta-butyric acid. The presence of only low (to absent) levels of several proteinogenic amino acids and a lack of nucleobases suggest that this meteorite fragment is fairly uncontaminated with respect to these common biological compounds. The distribution of straight-chained amine-terminal eta-omega-amino acids in RBT 04262 resembled those previously measured in thermally altered carbonaceous meteorites. A carbon isotope ratio of -24(0/00) +/- 6(0/00) for beta-alanine in RBT 04262 is in the range of reduced organic carbon previously measured in Martian meteorites (Steele et al. 2012). The presence of eta-omega-amino acids may be due to a high temperature Fischer-Tropschtype synthesis during igneous processing on Mars or impact ejection of the meteorites from Mars, but more experimental data are needed to support these hypotheses.

  12. Unmixing the SNCs: Chemical, Isotopic, and Petrologic Components of the Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    This volume contains abstracts that have been accepted for presentation at the conference on Unmixing the SNCs: Chemical, Isotopic, and Petrologic Components of Martian Meteorites, September 11-12, 2002, in Houston, Texas. Administration and publications support for this meeting were provided by the staff of the Publications and Program Services Department at the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

  13. (U-Th)/He Dating of Merrillites and Chlorapatites From Martian Meteorite Los Angeles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Min, K. K.; Reiners, P. W.; Nicolescu, S.; Greenwood, J. P.

    2003-12-01

    Los Angeles (LA), one of the basaltic shergottitic Martian meteorites, has an igneous formation age of ˜170 Ma, and is thought to have been ejected from Mars by collision at ˜3.1 Ma. The medium to high temperature thermal history of LA is documented based on Rb/Sr and Sm/Nd chronometers, but essentially no thermochronologic data are available to constrain its low temperature thermal history. To understand the thermal effects of collision-related shock metamorphism and subsequent low-T thermal history of LA, we measured (U-Th)/He ages of single crystal phosphates (igneous merrillite and chlorapatite) from the meteorite. Merrillites and chlorapatites yielded distinctive U and Th concentrations ( ˜2 ppm and ˜13 ppm for merrillites; ˜4 ppm and ˜5 ppm for chlorapatites) with apparently different U/Th ratios. Thirteen merrillite grains have ages between 0.8-3.5 Ma with a weighted mean age of 3.1 Ma. Five other merrillite ages are widely distributed between 5.1-32 Ma. Six chlorapatite grains yielded ages clustering in the range of 1.9-2.9 Ma (alpha-recoil uncorrected) with a weighted mean of 2.2 Ma, and three other grains produced older and scattered ages up to 5.8 Ma. The cumulative probability plots show highest peaks at 2.3 Ma and 3.3 Ma for chlorapatites and merrillites, respectively. The peak age or weighted mean age of merrillite is indistinguishable from the cosmogenic exposure ages (3.1 +/- 0.2 Ma) previously determined from 3He, 10Be, 21Ne, 38Ar and 81Kr systems, suggesting that the timing of the shock metamorphism is represented by the merrillite (U-Th)/He system. The average age difference between the merrillite and chlorapatite ages is probably due to the typically smaller grain size of apatite crystals and therefore greater proportion of alphas lost by recoil ejection. Assuming a peak shock temperature of 450 ° C (consistent with previous studies), the observed complete He degassing for most of the phosphates by shock metamorphism suggests that the

  14. The Tissint Martian meteorite as evidence for the largest impact excavation.

    PubMed

    Baziotis, Ioannis P; Liu, Yang; DeCarli, Paul S; Melosh, H Jay; McSween, Harry Y; Bodnar, Robert J; Taylor, Lawrence A

    2013-01-01

    High-pressure minerals in meteorites provide clues for the impact processes that excavated, launched and delivered these samples to Earth. Most Martian meteorites are suggested to have been excavated from 3 to 7 km diameter impact craters. Here we show that the Tissint meteorite, a 2011 meteorite fall, contains virtually all the high-pressure phases (seven minerals and two mineral glasses) that have been reported in isolated occurrences in other Martian meteorites. Particularly, one ringwoodite (75 × 140 μm(2)) represents the largest grain observed in all Martian samples. Collectively, the ubiquitous high-pressure minerals of unusually large sizes in Tissint indicate that shock metamorphism was widely dispersed in this sample (~25 GPa and ~2,000 °C). Using the size and growth kinetics of the ringwoodite grains, we infer an initial impact crater with ~90 km diameter, with a factor of 2 uncertainty. These energetic conditions imply alteration of any possible low-T minerals in Tissint. PMID:23360995

  15. Insights into the Martian Regolith from Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McCubbin, Francis M.; Boyce, Jeremy W.; Szabo, Timea; Santos, Alison R.; Domokos, Gabor; Vazquez, Jorge; Moser, Desmond E.; Jerolmack, Douglas J.; Keller, Lindsay P.; Tartese, Romain

    2015-01-01

    Everything we know about sedimentary processes on Mars is gleaned from remote sensing observations. Here we report insights from meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, which is a water-rich martian regolith breccia that hosts both igneous and sedimentary clasts. The sedimentary clasts in NWA 7034 are poorly-sorted clastic siltstones that we refer to as protobreccia clasts. These protobreccia clasts record aqueous alteration process that occurred prior to breccia formation. The aqueous alteration appears to have occurred at relatively low Eh, high pH conditions based on the co-precipitation of pyrite and magnetite, and the concomitant loss of SiO2 from the system. To determine the origin of the NWA 7034 breccia, we examined the textures and grain-shape characteristics of NWA 7034 clasts. The shapes of the clasts are consistent with rock fragmentation in the absence of transport. Coupled with the clast size distribution, we interpret the protolith of NWA 7034 to have been deposited by atmospheric rainout resulting from pyroclastic eruptions and/or asteroid impacts. Cross-cutting and inclusion relationships and U-Pb data from zircon, baddelleyite, and apatite indicate NWA 7034 lithification occurred at 1.4-1.5 Ga, during a short-lived hydrothermal event at 600-700 C that was texturally imprinted upon the submicron groundmass. The hydrothermal event caused Pb-loss from apatite and U-rich metamict zircons, and it caused partial transformation of pyrite to submicron mixtures of magnetite and maghemite, indicating the fluid had higher Eh than the fluid that caused pyrite-magnetite precipitation in the protobreccia clasts. NWA 7034 also hosts ancient 4.4 Ga crustal materials in the form of baddelleyites and zircons, providing up to a 2.9 Ga record of martian geologic history. This work demonstrates the incredible value of sedimentary basins as scientific targets for Mars sample return missions, but it also highlights the importance of targeting samples that have not been

  16. Lead Abundance In The Martian Mantle Deduced From The Isotopic Data In Snc Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dreibus, G.; Jagoutz, E.

    Isotopic data are a powerful tool for the study of planetary evolution. Assuming that the SNC meteorites are rocks from Mars their Sm-Nd-, Rb-Sr- and Pb-Pb-isotope systematics reveal the time scale for the chemical evolution of the Martian mantle. From the Rb -Sr isotopic systematic the existence of 3 isotopically distinct reservoirs on Mars was postulated, which remained isolated for a period of 4.3 +/- 0.2 Ga. The basaltic shergottites Shergotty, Zagami and Los Angeles have relatively high radiogenic Sr, which might come from a planetary crust. A second group, characterized by non radiogenic Sr, consists of the two mafic cumulates Nakhla and Chassigny, the olivine rich basaltic shergottites DaG 476, SaU 005, Dhofar 019and the basaltic shergottite QUE 94201, which may represent the depleted mantle. The depletion of this reservoir must have taken place during a very early process. as derived from the primitive Sr isotopes and the existence of Nd-142, the daughter product of the extinct Sm-146, found in Chassigny, the Nakhlites, SaU 005, and DaG476. A third group, with intermediate Sr isotopic composition, represented by the lherzolitic shergottites, could be derived from a primitive, unfractionated mantle. Our observed correlation of Sr-isotopes with Pb-isotopes in SNC's permits to estimate the Pb abundance for the Martian mantle. The Pb isotopes of all measured SNCs show a similar pattern as Sr isotopes. The initial Pb data of Los Angeles, Shergotty, and Zagami from the enriched crustal reservoir and of Nakhla and SaU 005 from the depleted mantle reservoir plot close to the 4.5 Ga Pb -Pb isochron.. We used this correlation to estimate the µ value (238U/204Pb) of 3.1 for the Martian mantle. This corresponds to 366 ppb Pb. Compared to the Earth with a µ = 8.8, Pb is enriched on Mars by at least a fact or of 2.5. The same enrichment was found for all other moderately volatile and volatile elements on Mars. From the high abundance of Pb in the sulfide phases of iron

  17. Petrogenesis of Igneous-Textured Clasts in Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Santos, A. R.; Agee, C. B.; Humayun, M.; McCubbin, F. M.; Shearer, C. K.

    2016-01-01

    The martian meteorite Northwest Africa 7034 (and pairings) is a breccia that samples a variety of materials from the martian crust. Several previous studies have identified multiple types of igneous-textured clasts within the breccia [1-3], and these clasts have the potential to provide insight into the igneous evolution of Mars. One challenge presented by studying these small rock fragments is the lack of field context for this breccia (i.e., where on Mars it formed), so we do not know how many sources these small rock fragments are derived from or the exact formation his-tory of these sources (i.e., are the sources mantle de-rived melt or melts contaminated by a meteorite impactor on Mars). Our goal in this study is to examine specific igneous-textured clast groups to determine if they are petrogenetically related (i.e., from the same igneous source) and determine more information about their formation history, then use them to derive new insights about the igneous history of Mars. We will focus on the basalt clasts, FTP clasts (named due to their high concentration of iron, titanium, and phosphorous), and mineral fragments described by [1] (Fig. 1). We will examine these materials for evidence of impactor contamination (as proposed for some materials by [2]) or mantle melt derivation. We will also test the petrogenetic models proposed in [1], which are igneous processes that could have occurred regardless of where the melt parental to the clasts was formed. These models include 1) derivation of the FTP clasts from a basalt clast melt through silicate liquid immiscibility (SLI), 2) derivation of the FTP clasts from a basalt clast melt through fractional crystallization, and 3) a lack of petrogenetic relationship between these clast groups. The relationship between the clast groups and the mineral fragments will also be explored.

  18. The Nakhla Martian Meteorite is a Cumulate Igenous Rock. Comment on "Glass-Bearing Inclusions in Nakhla (SNC Meteorite) Augite: Heterogeneously Trapped Phases"

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, A. H.

    2003-01-01

    All the properties of the Nakhla Martian meteorite suggest that it is a cumulate igneous rock, formed from a basaltic parental magma. Anomalous magmatic inclusions in Nakhla s augite grains can be explained by disequilibrium processes during crystal growth, and have little significance in the geological history of the meteorite.

  19. Comparison of Martian Meteorites and Martian Regolith as Shield Materials for Galactic Cosmic Rays

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Myung-Hee Y.; Thibeault, Sheila A.; Simonsen, Lisa C.; Wilson, John W.

    1998-01-01

    Theoretical calculations of radiation attenuation due to energetic galactic cosmic rays behind Martian rock and Martian regolith material have been made to compare their utilization as shields for advanced manned missions to Mars because the detailed chemical signature of Mars is distinctly different from Earth. The modified radiation fields behind the Martian rocks and the soil model were generated by solving the Boltzmann equation using a HZETRN system with the 1977 Solar Minimum environmental model. For the comparison of the attenuation characteristics, dose and dose equivalent are calculated for the five different subgroups of Martian rocks and the Martian regolith. The results indicate that changes in composition of subgroups of Martian rocks have negligible effects on the overall shielding properties because of the similarity of their constituents. The differences for dose and dose equivalent of these materials relative to those of Martian regolith are within 0.5 and 1 percent, respectively. Therefore, the analysis of Martian habitat construction options using in situ materials according to the Martian regolith model composition is reasonably accurate. Adding an epoxy to Martian regolith, which changes the major constituents of the material, enhances shielding properties because of the added hydrogenous constituents.

  20. The Shergottite Age Paradox and the Relative Probabilities of Ejecting Martian Meteorites of Differing Ages

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borg, L. E.; Shih, C.-Y.; Nyquist, L. E.

    1998-01-01

    The apparent paradox that the majority of impacts yielding Martian meteorites appear to have taken place on only a few percent of the Martian surface can be resolved if all the shergottites were ejected in a single event rather than in multiple events as expected from variations in their cosmic ray exposure and crystallization ages. If the shergottite-ejection event is assigned to one of three craters in the vicinity of Olympus Mons that were previously identified as candidate source craters for the SNC (Shergottites, Nakhlites, Chassigny) meteorites, and the nakhlite event to another candidate crater in the vicinity of Ceraunius Tholus, the implied ages of the surrounding terranes agree well with crater density ages. EN,en for high cratering rates (minimum ages), the likely origin of the shergottites is in the Tharsis region, and the paradox of too many meteorites from too little terrane remains for multiple shergottite-ejection events. However, for high cratering rates it is possible to consider sources for the nakhlltes which are away from the Tharsis region. The meteorite-yielding impacts may have been widely dispersed with sources of the young SNC meteorites in the northern plains, and the source of the ancient orthopyroxenite, ALH84001, in the ancient southern uplands. Oblique-impact craters can be identified with the sources of the nakhlites and the orthopyroxenite,, respectively, in the nominal cratering rate model, and with the shergottites and orthopyroxenite, respectively, in the high cratering rate model. Thus, oblique impacts deserve renewed attention as an ejection mechanism for Martian meteorites.

  1. Comparison of the LEW88516 and ALHA77005 martian meteorites: Similar but distinct

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, A. H.; Mckay, G. A.; Bogard, D. D.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Wang, M.-S.; Keller, L.; Lipschutz, M. E.; Lindstrom, M. M.; Garrison, D.

    1994-01-01

    By mineral and bulk compositions, the Lewis Cliff (LEW) 88516 meteorite is quite similar to the ALHA77005 martian meteorite. These two meteorites are not paired because their mineral compositions are distinct, they were found 500 km apart in ice fields with different sources for meteorites, and their terrestrial residence ages are different. Minerals in LEW88516 include: olivine, pyroxenes (low- and high-Ca), and maskelynite (ater plagioclase); and the minor minerals chromite, whitlockite, ilmenite, and pyrrhotite. Mineral grains in LEW88516 range up to a few mm. Texturally, the meteorite is complex, with regions of olivine and chromite poikilitically enclosed in pyroxene, regions of interstitial basaltic texture, and glass-rich (shock) veinlets. Olivine compositions range from Fo(sub 64) to Fo(sub 70), (avg. Fo(sub 67)), more ferroan and with more variation than in ALHA77005 (Fo(sub 69) to Fo(sub 73)). Pyroxene compositions fall between En(sub 77)Wo(sub 4) and En(sub 65)Wo(sub 15) and in clusters near En(sub 63)Wo(sub 9) and En(sub 53)Wo(sub 33), on average more magnesian and with more variation than in ALHA77005. Shock features in LEW88516 range from weak deformation through complete melting. Bulk chemical analyses by modal recombination of electron microprobe analyses, instrumental neutron activation, and radiochemical neutron activation confirm that LEW88516 is more closely related to ALHA77005 than to other known martian meteorites. Key element abundance ratios are typical of martian meteorites, as is it nonchondritic rare earth pattern. Differences between the chemical compositions of LEW88516 and ALHA77005 are consistent with slight differences in the proportions of their constituent minerals and not from fundamental petrogenetic differences. Noble gas abundances in LEW88516, like those in ALHA77005, show modest excesses of Ar-40 and Xe-129 from trapped (shock-implanted) gas. As with other ALHA77005 and the shergottite martian meteorites (except EETA79001

  2. Mineralization of Bacteria in Terrestrial Basaltic Rocks: Comparison With Possible Biogenic Features in Martian Meteorite Allan Hills 84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; McKay, D. S.; Wentworth, S. J.; Stevens, T. O.; Taunton, A. E.; Allen, C. C.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Romanek, C. S.

    1998-01-01

    The identification of biogenic features altered by diagenesis or mineralization is important in determining whether specific features in terrestrial rocks and in meteorites may have a biogenic origin. Unfortunately, few studies have addressed the formation of biogenic features in igneous rocks, which may be important to these phenomena, including the controversy over possible biogenic features in basaltic martian meteorite ALH84001. To explore the presence of biogenic features in igneous rocks, we examined microcosms growing in basaltic small-scale experimental growth chambers or microcosms. Microbial communities were harvested from aquifers of the Columbia River Basalt (CRB) group and grown in a microcosm containing unweathered basalt chips and groundwater (technique described in. These microcosms simulated natural growth conditions in the deep subsurface of the CRB, which should be a good terrestrial analog for any putative martian subsurface ecosystem that may have once included ALH84001. Here we present new size measurements and photomicrographs comparing the putative martian fossils to biogenic material in the CRB microcosms. The range of size and shapes of the biogenic features on the CRB microcosm chips overlaps with and is similar to those on ALH84001 chips. Although this present work does not provide evidence for the biogenicity of ALH84001 features, we believe that, based on criteria of size, shape, and general morphology, a biogenic interpretation for the ALH84001 features remains plausible.

  3. Distinctive Carbonates in Five Martian Meteorites: Search for Water on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wentworth, Susan J.; Bailey, Jake; McKay, David S.; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Velbel, Michael

    2003-01-01

    Recently published results from Mars orbital data strongly support both the idea that large bodies of water were present at the surface in the past and the possibility that significant amounts of water ice are currently present in the regolith just below the planet's surface. These new findings increase the significance of the evidence in martian meteorites that some low-temperature aqueous alteration and secondary mineral deposition occurred on Mars.

  4. Origin and age of the earliest Martian crust from meteorite NWA 7533.

    PubMed

    Humayun, M; Nemchin, A; Zanda, B; Hewins, R H; Grange, M; Kennedy, A; Lorand, J-P; Göpel, C; Fieni, C; Pont, S; Deldicque, D

    2013-11-28

    The ancient cratered terrain of the southern highlands of Mars is thought to hold clues to the planet's early differentiation, but until now no meteoritic regolith breccias have been recovered from Mars. Here we show that the meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7533 (paired with meteorite NWA 7034) is a polymict breccia consisting of a fine-grained interclast matrix containing clasts of igneous-textured rocks and fine-grained clast-laden impact melt rocks. High abundances of meteoritic siderophiles (for example nickel and iridium) found throughout the rock reach a level in the fine-grained portions equivalent to 5 per cent CI chondritic input, which is comparable to the highest levels found in lunar breccias. Furthermore, analyses of three leucocratic monzonite clasts show a correlation between nickel, iridium and magnesium consistent with differentiation from impact melts. Compositionally, all the fine-grained material is alkalic basalt, chemically identical (except for sulphur, chlorine and zinc) to soils from Gusev crater. Thus, we propose that NWA 7533 is a Martian regolith breccia. It contains zircons for which we measured an age of 4,428 ± 25 million years, which were later disturbed 1,712 ± 85 million years ago. This evidence for early crustal differentiation implies that the Martian crust, and its volatile inventory, formed in about the first 100 million years of Martian history, coeval with earliest crust formation on the Moon and the Earth. In addition, incompatible element abundances in clast-laden impact melt rocks and interclast matrix provide a geochemical estimate of the average thickness of the Martian crust (50 kilometres) comparable to that estimated geophysically. PMID:24256724

  5. Origin and age of the earliest Martian crust from meteorite NWA 7533

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Humayun, M.; Nemchin, A.; Zanda, B.; Hewins, R. H.; Grange, M.; Kennedy, A.; Lorand, J.-P.; Göpel, C.; Fieni, C.; Pont, S.; Deldicque, D.

    2013-11-01

    The ancient cratered terrain of the southern highlands of Mars is thought to hold clues to the planet's early differentiation, but until now no meteoritic regolith breccias have been recovered from Mars. Here we show that the meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7533 (paired with meteorite NWA 7034) is a polymict breccia consisting of a fine-grained interclast matrix containing clasts of igneous-textured rocks and fine-grained clast-laden impact melt rocks. High abundances of meteoritic siderophiles (for example nickel and iridium) found throughout the rock reach a level in the fine-grained portions equivalent to 5 per cent CI chondritic input, which is comparable to the highest levels found in lunar breccias. Furthermore, analyses of three leucocratic monzonite clasts show a correlation between nickel, iridium and magnesium consistent with differentiation from impact melts. Compositionally, all the fine-grained material is alkalic basalt, chemically identical (except for sulphur, chlorine and zinc) to soils from Gusev crater. Thus, we propose that NWA 7533 is a Martian regolith breccia. It contains zircons for which we measured an age of 4,428 +/- 25 million years, which were later disturbed 1,712 +/- 85 million years ago. This evidence for early crustal differentiation implies that the Martian crust, and its volatile inventory, formed in about the first 100 million years of Martian history, coeval with earliest crust formation on the Moon and the Earth. In addition, incompatible element abundances in clast-laden impact melt rocks and interclast matrix provide a geochemical estimate of the average thickness of the Martian crust (50 kilometres) comparable to that estimated geophysically.

  6. Putative indigenous carbon-bearing alteration features in martian meteorite Yamato 000593.

    PubMed

    White, Lauren M; Gibson, Everett K; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L; Clemett, Simon J; McKay, David S

    2014-02-01

    We report the first observation of indigenous carbonaceous matter in the martian meteorite Yamato 000593. The carbonaceous phases are heterogeneously distributed within secondary iddingsite alteration veins and present in a range of morphologies including areas composed of carbon-rich spheroidal assemblages encased in multiple layers of iddingsite. We also observed microtubular features emanating from iddingsite veins penetrating into the host olivine comparable in shape to those interpreted to have formed by bioerosion in terrestrial basalts. PMID:24552234

  7. Ar-Ar Dating of Martian Meteorite, Dhofar 378: An Early Shock Event?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, J.; Bogard, D. D.

    2006-01-01

    Martian meteorite, Dhofar 378 (Dho378) is a basaltic shergottite from Oman, weighing 15 g, and possessing a black fusion crust. Chemical similarities between Dho378 and the Los Angeles 001 shergottite suggests that they might have derived from the same Mars locale. The plagioclase in other shergottites has been converted to maskelenite by shock, but Dho378 apparently experienced even more intense shock heating, estimated at 55-75 GPa. Dho378 feldspar (approximately 43 modal %) melted, partially flowed and vesiculated, and then partially recrystallized. Areas of feldspathic glass are appreciably enriched in K, whereas individual plagioclases show a range in the Or/An ratio of approximately 0.18-0.017. Radiometric dating of martian shergottites indicate variable formation times of 160-475 Myr, whereas cosmic ray exposure (CRE) ages of shergottites indicate most were ejected from Mars within the past few Myr. Most determined Ar-39-Ar-40 ages of shergottites appear older than other radiometric ages because of the presence of large amounts of martian atmosphere or interior Ar-40. Among all types of meteorites and returned lunar rocks, the impact event that initiated the CRE age very rarely reset the Ar-Ar age. This is because a minimum time and temperature is required to facilitate Ar diffusion loss. It is generally assumed that the shock-texture characteristics in martian meteorites were produced by the impact events that ejected the rocks from Mars, although the time of these shock events (as opposed to CRE ages) are not directly dated. Here we report Ar-39-Ar-40 dating of Dho378 plagioclase. We suggest that the determined age dates the intense shock heating event this meteorite experienced, but that it was not the impact that initiated the CRE age.

  8. Petrology and Geochemistry of New Paired Martian Meteorites Larkman Nunatak 12240 and Larkman Nunatak 12095

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Funk, R. C.; Peslier, A. H.; Brandon, A. D.; Humayun, M.

    2016-01-01

    Two of the latest Martian meteorites found in Antarctica, paired olivine-phyric shergottites LAR 12240 and LAR 12095, are described in order to decipher their petrological context, and place constraints on the geological history of Mars. This project identifies all phases found in LAR 12240 and 12095 and analyzes them for major and trace elements. The textural relationships among these phases are examined in order to develop a crystallization history of the magma(s) that formed these basalts.

  9. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Martian (SNC) Meteorite ALH 84001: Hydrocarbons from Mars, Terrestrial Contaminants, or Both?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; Romanek, C. S.; Macheling, C. R.; Gibson, E. K.; McKay, D. S.; Score, R.; Zare, R. N.

    1995-09-01

    Previous work has shown that pre-terrestrial polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) exist in interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and certain meteorites [1-3]. We previously reported the first observation of PAHs in the newest member of the SNC group, Allan Hills 84001 [4] and determined that particular types of organic compounds are indigenous to ALH 84001 because they are associated with certain mineralogical features [4]. We also analyzed two diogenites from Antarctica: one showed no evidence for aromatic hydrocarbons while the other contained PAHs with the same major peaks as those in ALH 84001[4]. PAHs in the diogenite meteorite are not associated with mineral features on the analyzed surface and the most abundant PAHs in the diogenite are lower by a factor of 3 than those in ALH 84001. Furthermore, ALH 84001 contains a number of minor PAHs not found in the diogenite or typical terrestrial soils [4]. In this study we are analyzing a more complete group of Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorites, including SNCs, to determine: (1) PAHs abundance and diversity in Antarctic meteorites and (2) the contribution of PAHs in SNCs from martian and, possibly, terrestrial sources. ALH 84001 is an unusual orthopyroxenite which contains abundant carbonate spheroids which are ~100-200 micrometers in diameter and range in composition from magnesite to ferroan magnesite [5-7]. These spheroids are not the result of terrestrial contamination: oxygen isotopic compositions indicate that the carbonates probably precipitated from a low-temperature fluid within the martian crust [5] and carbon isotopic abundances are consistent with martian atmospheric CO2 as the carbon source [5]. PAHs may coexist with other low-temperature carbon-bearing phases in a subsurface martian environment. Samples: We are analyzing freshly-fractured meteorite samples, or chips, which have been extracted from the internal regions of the following meteorites: ALH 84001 (crush and uncrush zones), EETA79001

  10. Evaluation of the formation environment of the carbonates in Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niles, Paul Breckenridge

    The carbonates in martian meteorite ALH84001 preserve a record of aqueous processes on Mars at 3.9 Ga, and have been suggested to contain signatures of ancient martian life. The conditions of the carbonate formation environment are critical for understanding possible evidence for life on Mars, the history of water on Mars, and the evolution of the martian atmosphere. However, the formation environment of the ALH84001 carbonates continues to be controversial. New isotopic analyses of the ALH84001 carbonates, laboratory experiments, and geochemical modeling performed in this study provide quantitative constraints on the formation environment of the ALH84001 carbonates. Microscale carbon isotope analyses of ALH84001 carbonates reveal variable d 13 C values ranging from +27[per thousand] to +64[per thousand] that are correlated with carbonate chemical compositions. Isotopic analyses of synthetic hydrothermal carbonates with chemical compositions similar to the ALH84001 carbonates do not show similar isotope compositions, correlations, or trends. Combined with earlier oxygen isotope analyses, these data are inconsistent with formation of the carbonates in previously proposed environments, and indicate that the carbonates formed in a short period of time (hours or days) from a low temperature, dynamic aqueous system. A combination of empirical and equilibrium thermodynamic modeling reveals that the precipitating fluids were Mg- and CO 2 -rich, and probably formed through low temperature (<100°C) leaching of rocks with similar compositions to ALH84001. Prior to precipitating the carbonates, the fluids must have had an Mg/Ca ratio greater than ~4 and an Fe/Ca ratio greater than ~1. Three new hypotheses are proposed that involve low temperature (<100°C), dynamic aqueous processes: the carbonates formed (1) in a sublacustrine spring environment during the mixing of two fluids derived from separate chemical and isotopic reservoirs; (2) from high pH fluids that were exposed

  11. Constraints on the Thermal History of Martian Meteorites ALH84001 and MIL03346 by Single Crystal XRD, Electron Microprobe and Mössbauer Analyses of Ortho- and Clinopyroxene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domeneghetti, M. C.; Fioretti, A. M.; Cámara, F.; Carraro, A.; McCammon, C.; Tazzoli, V.

    2007-07-01

    Constraints on the thermal history of meteorites can be established by estimating the Fe2+-Mg order degree in their pyroxene using single-crystal XRD. We present here the data obtained on martian meteorites ALH84001 and MIL03346.

  12. Crystal chemistry of merrillite from Martian meteorites: Mineralogical recorders of magmatic processes and planetary differentiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shearer, C. K.; Burger, P. V.; Papike, J. J.; McCubbin, F. M.; Bell, A. S.

    2015-04-01

    Merrillite is a ubiquitous accessory phase in a variety of Martian meteorite lithologies. The Martian merrillites exhibit a positive correlation between Mg# and Na and a negative correlation between Mg# and both Mn and vacancies in the octahedral Na-site. Their REE patterns are varied and range from LREE-depleted to LREE-enriched. The dominant cation substitutions in the Martian merrillites are Fe2+VI Mg-site⇔Mg2+VI Mg-site and Ca2+VI Na-site + □VI Na-site⇔2Na+VI Na-site. The REE substitution into the 8-fold coordinated Ca-site is accommodated by the coupled substitution CaVIII Ca-site + (Na)VI Na-site ⇔(Y3+ + REE3+)VIII Ca-site + □VI Na-site. The REE substitution is significantly more prevalent in lunar merrillite and can be used as a "fingerprint" to distinguish lunar from Martian meteorites. The substitution of OH- (whitlockite) and/or F- (bobdownsite) for O2- on one of the phosphate tetrahedrons appears to be rather insignificant. The correlations among Na, Mg#, Mn, and Na-site vacancies are linked to the premerrillite crystallization history of the melt and the crystal chemical behavior of the Mg- and Na-sites. The former reflects the sequence and extent of plagioclase and pyroxene crystallization. The differences in REE pattern shapes among the merrillites reflect source regions for the Martian basalts and the shapes are not greatly perturbed by the crystallization history. The occurrence of merrillite does not imply low-volatile component in the Martian magmas. However, the low whitlockite and bobdownsite contents suggest that these samples were not altered by hydrothermal fluids and therefore not reset owing to aqueous fluid interactions. Consequently, the young ages of the shergottites are probably true igneous crystallization ages.

  13. Trace Element Geochemistry of Martian Iddingsite in the Lafayette Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H.; Lindstrom, David J.

    1997-01-01

    The Lafayette meteorite contains abundant iddingsite, a fine-grained intergrowth of smectite clay, ferrihydrite, and ionic salt minerals. Both the meteorite and iddingsite formed on Mars. Samples of iddingsite, olivine, and augite pyroxene were extracted from Lafayette and analyzed for trace elements by instrumental neutron activation. Our results are comparable to independent analyses by electron and ion microbeam methods. Abundances of most elements in the iddingsite do not covary significantly. The iddingsite is extremely rich in Hg, which is probably terrestrial contamination. For the elements Si, Al, Fe, Mn, Ni, Co, and Zn, the composition of the iddingsite is close to a mixture of approximately 50% Lafayette olivine + approximately 40% Lafayette siliceous glass + approximately 1O% water. Concordant behavior among these elements is not compatible with element fractionations between smectite and water, but the hydrous nature and petrographic setting of the iddingsite clearly suggest an aqueous origin. These inferences are both consistent, however, with deposition of the iddingsite originally as a silicate gel, which then crystallized (neoformed) nearly isochemically. The iddingsite contains significantly more magnesium than implied by the model, which may suggest that the altering solutions were rich in Mg(2+).

  14. Origin of magnetite crystals in Martian meteorite ALH84001 carbonate disks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas-Keprta, Kathie; Clemett, Simon; McKay, David; Gibson, Everett; Wentworth, Susan

    The Martian meteorite ALH84001 preserves evidence of interaction with aqueous fluids while on Mars in the form of microscopic carbonate disks. These carbonate disks are believed to have precipitated 3.9 Ga ago at beginning of the Noachian epoch on Mars during which both the oldest extant Martian surfaces were formed, and perhaps the earliest global oceans. In-timately associated within and throughout these carbonate disks are nanocrystal magnetites (Fe3O4) with unusual chemical and physical properties, whose origins have become the source of considerable debate [1,2]. One group of hypotheses argues that these magnetites are the product of partial thermal decomposition of the host carbonate [3,4]. Alternatively, the origins of magnetite and carbonate may be unrelated; that is, from the perspective of the carbonate the magnetite is allochthonous. For example, the magnetites might have already been present in the aqueous fluids from which the carbonates were believed to have been deposited. We have sought to resolve between these hypotheses through the detailed characterization of the compositional and structural relationships of the carbonate disks and associated magnetites with the orthopyroxene matrix in which they are embedded. Extensive use of focused ion beam milling techniques has been utilized for sample preparation. We then compared our ob-servations with those from experimental thermal decomposition studies of sideritic carbonates under a range of plausible geological heating scenarios. We conclude that the vast majority of the nanocrystal magnetites present in the carbonate disks could not have formed by any of the currently proposed thermal decomposition scenarios. Instead, we find there is considerable evidence in support of an alternative allochthonous origin for the magnetite unrelated to any shock or thermal processing of the carbonates [5]. [1] McKay et al. (1996) Science 273, 924-930. [2] Thomas-Keprta et al. (2001) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98, 2164

  15. Carbonates in fractures of Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001: petrologic evidence for impact origin

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scott, E. R.; Krot, A. N.; Yamaguchi, A.

    1998-01-01

    Carbonates in Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 occur as grains on pyroxene grain boundaries, in crushed zones, and as disks, veins, and irregularly shaped grains in healed pyroxene fractures. Some carbonate disks have tapered Mg-rich edges and are accompanied by smaller, thinner and relatively homogeneous, magnesite microdisks. Except for the microdisks, all types of carbonate grains show the same unique chemical zoning pattern on MgCO3-FeCO3-CaCO3 plots. This chemical characteristic and the close spatial association of diverse carbonate types show that all carbonates formed by a similar process. The heterogeneous distribution of carbonates in fractures, tapered shapes of some disks, and the localized occurrence of Mg-rich microdisks appear to be incompatible with growth from an externally derived CO2-rich fluid that changed in composition over time. These features suggest instead that the fractures were closed as carbonates grew from an internally derived fluid and that the microdisks formed from a residual Mg-rich fluid that was squeezed along fractures. Carbonate in pyroxene fractures is most abundant near grains of plagioclase glass that are located on pyroxene grain boundaries and commonly contain major or minor amounts of carbonate. We infer that carbonates in fractures formed from grain boundary carbonates associated with plagiociase that were melted by impact and dispersed into the surrounding fractured pyroxene. Carbonates in fractures, which include those studied by McKay et al. (1996), could not have formed at low temperatures and preserved mineralogical evidence for Martian organisms.

  16. Origin of carbonate-magnetite-sulfide assemblages in Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Scott, E R

    1999-02-25

    A review of the mineralogical, isotopic, and chemical properties of the carbonates and associated submicrometer iron oxides and sulfides in Martian meteorite ALH84001 provides minimal evidence for microbial activity. Some magnetites resemble those formed by magnetotactic microorganisms but cubic crystals <50 nm in size and elongated grains <25 nm long are too small to be single-domain magnets and are probably abiogenic. Magnetites with shapes that are clearly unique to magnetotactic bacteria appear to be absent in ALH84001. Magnetosomes have not been reported in plutonic rocks and are unlikely to have been transported in fluids through fractures and uniformly deposited where abiogenic magnetite was forming epitaxially on carbonate. Submicrometer sulfides and magnetites probably formed during shock heating. Carbonates have correlated variations in Ca, Mg, and 18O/16O, magnetite-rich rims, and they appear to be embedded in pyroxene and plagiociase glass. Carbonates with these features have not been identified in carbonaceous chondrites and terrestrial rocks, suggesting that the ALH84001 carbonates have a unique origin. Carbonates and hydrated minerals in ALH84001, like secondary phases in other Martian meteorites, have O and H isotopic ratios favoring formation from fluids that exchanged with the Martian atmosphere. I propose that carbonates originally formed in ALH84001 from aqueous fluids and were subsequently shock heated and vaporized. The original carbonates were probably dolomite-magnesite-siderite assemblages that formed in pores at interstitial sites with minor sulfate, chloride, and phyllosilicates. These phases, like many other volatile-rich phases in Martian meteorites, may have formed as evaporate deposits from intermittent floods. PMID:11542931

  17. Northwest Africa 7034: New Unique Water-rich Martian Meteorite from the Early Amazonian Epoch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agee, C. B.; Wilson, N.; Ziegler, K. G.; McCubbin, F. M.; Polyak, V.; Nunn, M.; Sharp, Z. D.; Asmerom, Y.; Thiemens, M. H.

    2012-12-01

    Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 is a porphyritic basaltic breccia that shares some geochemical characterstics with known martian meteorites (SNC), but also possesses some unique characteristics that would exclude it from the current SNC grouping. Instead, it has a major and minor element composition that is a remarkably good match with the geochemistry of the rocks and soil at Gusev Crater measured by the Spirit rover and the average martian crust composition from the Odyssey Orbiter gamma ray spectrometer. The mismatch of orbiter and rover data with SNC meteorites has been a perplexing enigma, however with the discovery of NWA 7034 we may now have found a "missing link" between martian meteorites and space craft data. A five-point isochon gives an Rb-Sr age for NWA 7034 of 2.089±0.081 Ga (2σ) (MSWD=6.6) and an initial 87Sr/86Sr ratio of 0.71359±54. The Sm-Nd data for the same samples show more scatter, with an isochron of 2.19±1.4 Ga (2σ). NWA 7034 is REE enriched crustal rock (La x58 CI) and strongly light REE over heavy REE enriched (La/Yb)N=2.3, with negative-Eu anomaly (Eu/Eu*=0.67). The whole rock has 143Nd/144Nd=0.511756 and 147Sm/144Nd=0.1664, giving a calculated initial (source value) 143Nd/144Nd=0.509467 (initial ɛNd=-9.1) which requires that it be derived from an enriched martian reservoir, with an inferred time-integrated 147Sm/144Nd=0.1689, assuming separation from a chondrite-like martian mantle 4.5 Ga. An age of ~2.1 Ga for NWA 7034 would make it the first meteorite sample from the early Amazonian or late Hesperian epoch in Mars geologic history. Oxygen isotope analyses of NWA 7034 were performed by laser fluorination at UNM on acid-washed bulk sample and at UCSD on vacuum pre-heated (1000°C) bulk sample and give mean values Δ17O=0.57±0.05‰ n=10 and Δ17O=0.50±0.03‰ n=2, respectively. These interlab values are in good agreement, but are significantly higher than literature values for SNC meteorites (Δ17O range 0.15-0.45‰). There may be

  18. Isotopic Composition of Trapped and Cosmogenic Noble Gases in Several Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garrison, Daniel H.; Bogard, Donald D.

    1997-01-01

    Isotopic abundances of the noble gases were measured in the following Martian meteorites: two shock glass inclusions from EET79001, shock vein glass from Shergotty and Y793605, and whole rock samples of ALH84001 and QUE94201. These glass samples, when combined with literature data on a separate single glass inclusion from EET79001 and a glass vein from Zagami, permit examination of the isotopic composition of Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe trapped from the Martian atmosphere in greater detail. The isotopic composition of Martian Ne, if actually present in these glasses, remains poorly defined. The Ar-40/Ar-36 ratio of Martian atmospheric Ar may be much less than the ratio measured by Viking and possibly as low as approx. 1900. The atmospheric Ar-36/Ar-38 ratio is less than or equal to 4.0. Martian atmospheric Kr appears to be enriched in lighter isotopes by approx. 0.4%/amu compared to both solar wind Kr and to the Martian composition previously reported. The Martian atmospheric Ar-36/Xe-132 and Kr-84/Xe-132 Xe elemental ratios are higher than those reported by Viking by factors of approx. 3.3 and approx. 2.5, respectively. Cosmogenic gases indicate space exposure ages of 13.9 +/- 1 Myr for ALH84001 and 2.7 +/- 0.6 Myr for QUE94201. Small amounts of Ne-21 produced by energetic solar protons may be present in QUE94201, but are not present in ALH84001 or Y793605. The space exposure age for Y793605 is 4.9 +/- 0.6 Myr and appears to be distinctly older than the ages for basaltic shergottites.

  19. SNC meteorites - Clues to Martian petrologic evolution?. [Shergottites, Nakhlites and Chassigny

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcsween, H. Y., Jr.

    1985-01-01

    Shergottites, nakhlites and the Chassigny meteorites (SNC group) may have originated on Mars. The shergottites are medium-grained basalts, the nakhlites are pyroxenites and the Chassigny is a dunite. The SNC group is petrologically diverse but differs from all other known achondrites in terms of mineral chemistry, the redox state, the oxygen isotopic composition and the radiometric ages. The SNC stones are mafic and ultramafic cumulate rocks with mineralogies that indicate rapid cooling and crystallization from tholeiitic magmas which contained water and experienced a high degree of oxidation. The characteristics suggest formation from a large parent body, i.e., a planet, but not earth. The estimated ages for the rocks match the estimated ages for several mapped Martian volcanoes in the Tharsis region. Additionally, the elemental and isotopic abundances of atmospheric gases embedded in melts in the SNC stones match Viking Lander data for the Martian atmosphere. However, reasons are cited for discounting the possibility that a large meteorite(s) collided with Mars about 180 myr ago and served as the mechanism for ejecting the SNC stones to earth.

  20. Biomimetic Properties of Minerals and the Search for Life in the Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martel, Jan; Young, David; Peng, Hsin-Hsin; Wu, Cheng-Yeu; Young, John D.

    2012-05-01

    The existence of extraterrestrial life was heralded by controversial claims made in 1996 that the Martian meteorite ALH84001 harbored relics of ancient microorganisms. We review here the accumulated evidence for and against past extraterrestrial life in this Martian meteorite. The main pro-life arguments—the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, magnetite crystals, carbonate globules, and structures resembling terrestrial life-forms known as nanobacteria—can be deemed ambiguous at best. Although these criteria are compatible with living processes, each one of them can be explained by nonliving chemical processes. By undergoing amorphous-to-crystalline transformations and binding to multiple substrates, including other ions and simple organic compounds, minerals—especially those containing carbonate—have been shown to display biomimetic properties, producing forms that resemble bacteria. This simple and down-to-earth explanation can account fully for the existence of mineral entities resembling putative nano- and microorganisms that have been described not only in the ALH84001 meteorite but also in the human body.

  1. The Martian sources of the SNC meteorites (two, not one), and what can and can't be learned from the SNC meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, A. H.

    1993-01-01

    The SNC meteorites, which almost certainly originate in the Martian crust, have been inferred to come from a single impact crater site, but no known crater fits all criteria. Formation at two separate sites (S from one, NC from the other) is more consistent with the sum of petrologic, geochronologic, and cosmochronologic data. If the source craters for the SNC meteorites can be located, Mars science will advance considerably. However, many significant questions cannot be answered by the SNC meteorites. These questions await a returned sample.

  2. Origin of Magnetite Crystals in Martian Meteorite ALH84001 Carbonate Disks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K.L.; Clemett, S.J.; McKay, D.S.; Gibson, E. K.; Wentworth, S. J.

    2010-01-01

    Martian meteorite ALH84001 preserves evidence of interaction with aqueous fluids while on Mars in the form of microscopic carbonate disks which are believed to have precipitated approx.3.9 Ga ago at beginning of the Noachian epoch. Intimately associated within and throughout these carbonate disks are nanocrystal magnetites (Fe3O4) with unusual chemical and physical properties, whose origins have become the source of considerable debate. One group of hypotheses argues that these Fe3O4 are the product of partial thermal decomposition of the host carbonate. Alternatively, the origins of Fe3O4 and carbonate may be unrelated; that is, from the perspective of the carbonate the magnetite is allochthonous. We have sought to resolve between these hypotheses through the detailed characterized of the compositional and structural relationships of the carbonate disks and associated magnetites with the orthopyroxene matrix in which they are embedded [1]. We focus this discussion on the composition of ALH84001 magnetites and then compare these observations with those from our thermal decomposition studies of sideritic carbonates under a range of plausible geological heating scenarios.

  3. Isotope Geochemistry of Possible Terrestrial Analogue for Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mojzsis, Stephen J.

    2000-01-01

    We have studied the microdomain oxygen and carbon isotopic compositions by SIMS of complex carbonate rosettes from spinel therzolite xenoliths, hosted by nepheline basanite, from the island of Spitsbergen (Norway). The Quaternary volcanic rocks containing the xenoliths erupted into a high Arctic environment and through relatively thick continental crust containing carbonate rocks. We have attempted to constrain the sources of the carbonates in these rocks by combined O-18/O-16 and C-13/C-12 ratio measurements in 25 micron diameter spots of the carbonate and compare them to previous work based primarily on trace-element distributions. The origin of these carbonates can be interpreted in terms of either contamination by carbonate country rock during ascent of the xenoliths in the host basalt, or more probably by hydrothermal processes after emplacement. The isotopic composition of these carbonates from a combined delta.18O(sub SMOW) and delta.13C(sub PDB) standpoint precludes a primary origin of these minerals from the mantle. Here a description is given of the analysis procedure, standardization of the carbonates, major element compositions of the carbonates measured by electron microprobe, and their correlated C and O isotope compositions as measured by ion microprobe. Since these carbonate rosettes may represent a terrestrial analogue to the carbonate "globules" found in the martian meteorite ALH84001 interpretations for the origin of the features found in the Spitsbergen may be of interest in constraining the origin of these carbonate minerals on Mars.

  4. Solving the Martian meteorite age conundrum using micro-baddeleyite and launch-generated zircon.

    PubMed

    Moser, D E; Chamberlain, K R; Tait, K T; Schmitt, A K; Darling, J R; Barker, I R; Hyde, B C

    2013-07-25

    Invaluable records of planetary dynamics and evolution can be recovered from the geochemical systematics of single meteorites. However, the interpreted ages of the ejected igneous crust of Mars differ by up to four billion years, a conundrum due in part to the difficulty of using geochemistry alone to distinguish between the ages of formation and the ages of the impact events that launched debris towards Earth. Here we solve the conundrum by combining in situ electron-beam nanostructural analyses and U-Pb (uranium-lead) isotopic measurements of the resistant micromineral baddeleyite (ZrO2) and host igneous minerals in the highly shock-metamorphosed shergottite Northwest Africa 5298 (ref. 8), which is a basaltic Martian meteorite. We establish that the micro-baddeleyite grains pre-date the launch event because they are shocked, cogenetic with host igneous minerals, and preserve primary igneous growth zoning. The grains least affected by shock disturbance, and which are rich in radiogenic Pb, date the basalt crystallization near the Martian surface to 187 ± 33 million years before present. Primitive, non-radiogenic Pb isotope compositions of the host minerals, common to most shergottites, do not help us to date the meteorite, instead indicating a magma source region that was fractionated more than four billion years ago to form a persistent reservoir so far unique to Mars. Local impact melting during ejection from Mars less than 22 ± 2 million years ago caused the growth of unshocked, launch-generated zircon and the partial disturbance of baddeleyite dates. We can thus confirm the presence of ancient, non-convecting mantle beneath young volcanic Mars, place an upper bound on the interplanetary travel time of the ejected Martian crust, and validate a new approach to the geochronology of the inner Solar System. PMID:23887429

  5. A search for endogenous amino acids in martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bada, J. L.; Glavin, D. P.; McDonald, G. D.; Becker, L.

    1998-01-01

    Trace amounts of glycine, serine, and alanine were detected in the carbonate component of the martian meteorite ALH84001 by high-performance liquid chromatography. The detected amino acids were not uniformly distributed in the carbonate component and ranged in concentration from 0.1 to 7 parts per million. Although the detected alanine consists primarily of the L enantiomer, low concentrations (<0.1 parts per million) of endogenous D-alanine may be present in the ALH84001 carbonates. The amino acids present in this sample of ALH84001 appear to be terrestrial in origin and similar to those in Allan Hills ice, although the possibility cannot be ruled out that minute amounts of some amino acids such as D-alanine are preserved in the meteorite.

  6. A search for endogenous amino acids in martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Bada, J L; Glavin, D P; McDonald, G D; Becker, L

    1998-01-16

    Trace amounts of glycine, serine, and alanine were detected in the carbonate component of the martian meteorite ALH84001 by high-performance liquid chromatography. The detected amino acids were not uniformly distributed in the carbonate component and ranged in concentration from 0.1 to 7 parts per million. Although the detected alanine consists primarily of the L enantiomer, low concentrations (<0.1 parts per million) of endogenous D-alanine may be present in the ALH84001 carbonates. The amino acids present in this sample of ALH84001 appear to be terrestrial in origin and similar to those in Allan Hills ice, although the possibility cannot be ruled out that minute amounts of some amino acids such as D-alanine are preserved in the meteorite. PMID:9430583

  7. Mass attenuation coefficients of Martian meteorites and Earth composition in the energy range 1 keV-100 GeV

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ün, M.; Han, E. Narmanli; Ün, A.

    2016-04-01

    Mass attenuation coefficients for 24 Martian meteorites have been determined in the energy range from 1 keV to 100 GeV. The values of mass attenuation coefficients (µ/ρ) of the samples were calculated the WINXCOM program. The obtained results for Martian meteorites have been compared with the results for Earth composition and similarities or differences also evaluated.

  8. Modern terrestrial analogues for the carbonate globules in Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Kazmierczak, Józef; Kempe, Stephan

    2003-04-01

    Modern carbonate globules, located in cracks of submerged volcanic rocks and in calcareous pinnacles in alkaline (sodic) Lake Van, Turkey, appear to be analogues for the approximately 3.9 billion-year-old carbonate globules in Martian meteorite ALH84001. These terrestrial globules have similar diameters and are chemically and mineralogically zoned. Furthermore, they display surface and etching structures similar to those described from ALH84001, which were interpreted as fossilized microbial forms. These terrestrial carbonates formed at low temperatures where Ca-rich groundwaters enter the lake. Chemical, mineralogical, microbiological, and biomolecular methods were used in an attempt to decipher the process responsible for the genesis of these structures. Although the exact mode of formation of Lake Van carbonates remains an enigma, their similarity to the Martian globules indicates that the ALH84001 carbonates may have formed in similar setting on ancient Mars. PMID:12712250

  9. Effect of Shock on the Magnetic Properties of Pyrrhotite, the Martian Crust, and Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Louzad, Karin L.; Stewart, Sarah T.; Weiss, Benjamin P.

    2007-01-01

    We performed planar shock recovery experiments on natural pyrrhotite at pressures up to 6.9 GPa. We find that high-field isothermal remanent magnetization in pyrrhotite is demagnetized up to 90% by shock due to preferential removal of low coercivity components of magnetization. Contrary to static experiments, we do not observe complete demagnetization. Post shock permanent changes in magnetic properties include increasing saturation isothermal remanent magnetization, bulk coercivity and lowtemperature memory, and changes in squareness of hysteresis. These changes are consistent with an increase in the volume fraction of single domain grains. The lack of magnetic anomalies over large Martian impact basins is not expected to be solely due to shock demagnetization of the crust. We find that pyrrhotite-bearing rocks and meteorites can retain records of Martian magnetic fields even if shocked to pressures approaching 7 GPa. However, some paleointensity techniques may underestimate this field.

  10. Martian meteorite Tissint records unique petrogenesis among the depleted shergottites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Basu Sarbadhikari, A.; Babu, E. V. S. S. K.; Vijaya Kumar, T.; Chennaoui Aoudjehane, H.

    2016-09-01

    Tissint, a new unaltered piece of Martian volcanic materials, is the most silica-poor and Mg-Fe-rich igneous rock among the "depleted" olivine-phyric shergottites. Fe-Mg zoning of olivine suggests equilibrium growth (<0.1 °C h-1) in the range of Fo80-56 and olivine overgrowth (Fo55-18) through a process of rapid disequilibrium (~1.0-5.0 °C h-1). The spatially extended (up to 600 μm) flat-top Fe-Mg profiles of olivine indicates that the early-stage cooling rate of Tissint was slower than the other shergottites. The chemically metastable outer rim of olivine (

  11. Martian meteorite Tissint records unique petrogenesis among the depleted shergottites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Basu Sarbadhikari, A.; Babu, E. V. S. S. K.; Vijaya Kumar, T.; Chennaoui Aoudjehane, H.

    2016-07-01

    Tissint, a new unaltered piece of Martian volcanic materials, is the most silica-poor and Mg-Fe-rich igneous rock among the "depleted" olivine-phyric shergottites. Fe-Mg zoning of olivine suggests equilibrium growth (<0.1 °C h-1) in the range of Fo80-56 and olivine overgrowth (Fo55-18) through a process of rapid disequilibrium (~1.0-5.0 °C h-1). The spatially extended (up to 600 μm) flat-top Fe-Mg profiles of olivine indicates that the early-stage cooling rate of Tissint was slower than the other shergottites. The chemically metastable outer rim of olivine (

  12. Spatial distributions of secondary minerals in the Martian meteorite MIL 03346,168 determined by Raman spectroscopic imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ling, Zongcheng; Wang, Alian

    2015-06-01

    Miller Range (MIL) 03346 is a nakhlite meteorite that has been extensively studied due to its unique complex secondary mineral phases and their potential implications for the hydrologic history of Mars. We conducted a set of Raman spectroscopic and Raman imaging studies of MIL 03346,168, focusing on the secondary mineral phases and their spatial distributions, with a goal to better understand the possible processes by which they were generated on Mars. This study revealed three types of calcium sulfates, a solid solution of (K, Na)-jarosite and two groups of hydrated species with low crystallinity (HSLC) in the veins and/or mesostasis areas of the meteorite. The most abundant Ca-sulfate is bassanite that suggests two possible paths for its direct precipitation from a Ca-S-H2O brine, either having low water activity or with incomplete development (producing bassanite with gypsum microcrystals) on Mars. The second most abundant Ca-sulfate is soluble γ-CaSO4 which raises a new question on the origins of this phase in the Martian meteorite, since γ-CaSO4 readily hydrates in the laboratory but is apparently stable in Atacama Desert. The close spatial relationship of (K, Na)-jarosite solid solutions with rasvumite (KFe2S3), magnetite, HSLC, and fine-grained low-crystallinity alkali feldspar in mesostasis suggests a potential in situ formation of mesostasis jarosite from these Fe-K,Na-S-O-H2O species.

  13. Bacterial mineralization patterns in basaltic aquifers: implications for possible life in martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; McKay, D. S.; Wentworth, S. J.; Stevens, T. O.; Taunton, A. E.; Allen, C. C.; Coleman, A.; Gibson, E. K. Jr; Romanek, C. S.

    1998-01-01

    To explore the formation and preservation of biogenic features in igneous rocks, we have examined the organisms in experimental basaltic microcosms using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Four types of microorganisms were recognized on the basis of size, morphology, and chemical composition. Some of the organisms mineralized rapidly, whereas others show no evidence of mineralization. Many mineralized cells are hollow and do not contain evidence of microstructure. Filaments, either attached or no longer attached to organisms, are common. Unattached filaments are mineralized and are most likely bacterial appendages (e.g., prosthecae). Features similar in size and morphology to unattached, mineralized filaments are recognized in martian meteorite ALH84001.

  14. Putative Indigenous Carbon-Bearing Alteration Features in Martian Meteorite Yamato 000593

    PubMed Central

    Gibson, Everett K.; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Clemett, Simon J.; McKay, David S.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract We report the first observation of indigenous carbonaceous matter in the martian meteorite Yamato 000593. The carbonaceous phases are heterogeneously distributed within secondary iddingsite alteration veins and present in a range of morphologies including areas composed of carbon-rich spheroidal assemblages encased in multiple layers of iddingsite. We also observed microtubular features emanating from iddingsite veins penetrating into the host olivine comparable in shape to those interpreted to have formed by bioerosion in terrestrial basalts. Key Words: Meteorite—Yamato 000593—Mars—Carbon. Astrobiology 14, 170–181. PMID:24552234

  15. Bacterial mineralization patterns in basaltic aquifers: implications for possible life in martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Thomas-Keprta, K L; McKay, D S; Wentworth, S J; Stevens, T O; Taunton, A E; Allen, C C; Coleman, A; Gibson, E K; Romanek, C S

    1998-11-01

    To explore the formation and preservation of biogenic features in igneous rocks, we have examined the organisms in experimental basaltic microcosms using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Four types of microorganisms were recognized on the basis of size, morphology, and chemical composition. Some of the organisms mineralized rapidly, whereas others show no evidence of mineralization. Many mineralized cells are hollow and do not contain evidence of microstructure. Filaments, either attached or no longer attached to organisms, are common. Unattached filaments are mineralized and are most likely bacterial appendages (e.g., prosthecae). Features similar in size and morphology to unattached, mineralized filaments are recognized in martian meteorite ALH84001. PMID:11541429

  16. Biogenic or Abiogenic Origin of Carbonate-Magnetite-Sulfide Assemblages in Martian Meteorite Allan Hills 84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, E. R. D.

    1998-01-01

    It has been suggested that the carbonates and submicrometer grains of magnetite, pyrrhotite, and an Fe-S phase identified as "probably griegite" were all biogenic in origin. Their arguments were based on similarities in the compositions, structures, shapes, and sizes of these minerals with terrestrial bio-minerals and the apparent absence of plausible abiogenic origins. Here we compare the carbonate assemblages to possible martian, terrestrial, and meteoritic analogs and discuss new and published arguments for and against abiogenic and biogenic origins for these minerals.

  17. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Antarctic Martian meteorites, carbonaceous chondrites, and polar ice.

    PubMed

    Becker, L; Glavin, D P; Bada, J L

    1997-01-01

    Recent analyses of the carbonate globules present in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 have detected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the ppm level (McKay et al., 1996). The distribution of PAHs observed in ALH84001 was interpreted as being inconsistent with a terrestrial origin and were claimed to be indigenous to the meteorite, perhaps derived from an ancient martian biota. We have examined PAHs in the Antarctic shergottite EETA79001, which is also considered to be from Mars, as well as several Antarctic carbonaceous chondrites. We have found that many of the same PAHs detected in the ALH84001 carbonate globules are present in Antarctic carbonaceous chondrites and in both the matrix and carbonate (druse) component of EETA79001. We also investigated PAHs in polar ice and found that carbonate is an effective scavenger of PAHs in ice meltwater. Moreover, the distribution of PAHs in the carbonate extract of Antarctic Allan Hills ice is remarkably similar to that found in both EETA79001 and ALH84001. The reported presence of L-amino acids of apparent terrestrial origin in the EETA79001 druse material (McDonald and Bada, 1995) suggests that this meteorite is contaminated with terrestrial organics probably derived from Antarctic ice meltwater that had percolated through the meteorite. Our data suggests that the PAHs observed in both ALH84001 and EETA79001 are derived from either the exogenous delivery of organics to Mars or extraterrestrial and terrestrial PAHs present in the ice meltwater or, more likely, from a mixture of these sources. It would appear that PAHs are not useful biomarkers in the search for extinct or extant life on Mars. PMID:11541466

  18. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Antarctic Martian meteorites, carbonaceous chondrites, and polar ice

    SciTech Connect

    Becker, L. |; Glavin, D.P.; Bada, J.L.

    1997-01-01

    Recent analyses of the carbonate globules present in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 have detected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the ppm level. The distribution of PAHs observed in ALH84001 was interpreted as being inconsistent with a terrestrial origin and were claimed to be indigenous to the meteorite, perhaps derived from an ancient martian biota. We have examined PAHs in the Antarctic shergottite EETA79001, which is also considered to be from Mars, as well as several Antarctic carbonaceous chondrites. We have found that many of the same PAHs detected in the ALH84001 carbonate globules are present in Antarctic carbonaceous chondrites and in both the matrix and carbonate (druse) component of EETA79001. We also investigated PAHs in polar ice and found that carbonate is an effective scavenger of PAHs in ice meltwater. Moreover, the distribution of PAHs in the carbonate extract of Antarctic Allan Hills ice is remarkably similar to that found in both EETA79001 and ALH84001. The reported presence of L-amino acids of apparent terrestrial origin in the EETA79001 druse material suggests that this meteorite is contaminated with terrestrial organics probably derived from Antarctic ice meltwater that had percolated through the meteorite. Our data suggests that the PAHs observed in both ALH84001 and EETA79001 are derived from either the exogenous delivery of organics to Mars or extraterrestrial and terrestrial PAHs present in the ice meltwater or, more likely, from a mixture of these sources. It would appear that PAHs are not useful biomarkers in the search for extinct or extant life on Mars. 33 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  19. Ar-Ar chronology of the Martian meteorite ALH84001: evidence for the timing of the early bombardment of Mars.

    PubMed

    Turner, G; Knott, S F; Ash, R D; Gilmour, J D

    1997-09-01

    ALH84001, a cataclastic cumulate orthopyroxenite meteorite from Mars, has been dated by Ar-Ar stepped heating and laser probe methods. Both methods give ages close to 3,900 Ma. The age calculated is dependent on assumptions made about 39Ar recoil effects and on whether significant quantities of 40Ar from the Martian atmosphere are trapped in the meteorite. If, as suggested by xenon and nitrogen isotope studies, Martian atmospheric argon is present, then it must reside predominantly in the K-rich phase maskelynite. Independently determined 129Xe abundances in the maskelynite can be used to place limits on the concentration of the atmospheric 40Ar. These indicate a reduction of around 80 Ma to ages calculated on the assumption that no Martian atmosphere is present. After this correction, the nominal ages obtained are: 3940 +/- 50, 3870 +/- 80, and 3970 +/- 100 Ma. by stepped heating, and 3900 +/- 90 Ma by laser probe (1 sigma statistical errors), giving a weighted mean value of 3,920 Ma. Ambiguities in the interpretation of 39Ar recoil effects and in the contribution of Martian atmospheric 40Ar lead to uncertainties in the Ar-Ar age which are difficult to quantify, but we suggest that the true value lies somewhere between 4,050 and 3,800 Ma. This age probably dates a period of annealing of the meteorite subsequent to the shock event which gave it its cataclastic texture. The experiments provide the first evidence of an event occurring on Mars coincident with the time of the late heavy bombardment of the Moon and may reflect a similar period of bombardment in the Southern Highlands of Mars. Whether the age determined bears any relationship to the time of carbonate deposition in ALH84001 is not known. Such a link depends on whether the temperature associated with the metasomatic activity was sufficient to cause argon loss from the maskelynite and/or whether the metasomatism and metamorphism were linked in time through a common heat source. PMID:11541217

  20. Morphological Evidence for an Exclusively Inorganic Origin for Magnetite in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Brearley, A. J.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.; Treiman, A.; Zolensky, M. E.; Schwandt, C. S.; Lofgren, G. E.; McKay, G. A.

    2003-01-01

    The origin of magnetite crystals in Martian Meteorite ALH84001 is the focus of a debate about the possibility of past (and present) life on Mars. McKay et al. originally suggested that some of the magnetite crystals associated with carbonate globules in Martian Meteorite ALH84001 are biogenic in ori-gin, because they are single magnetic domain, free of crystalline defects, chemically pure, and coexist with other metastable phases in apparent disequilibrium. Thomas-Keprta et al. reported that a subpopulation of magnetite crystals (approx. 25%) associated with carbonate globules in ALH84001 and magnetite crystals produced by magnetotactic bacterial strain MV-1 have similar morphologies with crystal elongation along the [111] crystallographic axis that they describe as "truncated hexa-octahedral" ([111-THO]) magnetite. Along with several other properties, the [111]-THO morphology has been proposed to constitute a biomarker (i.e., formed only in biogenic processes), so that the presence of [111]-THO magnetite in ALH84001 may be evidence for past life on Mars.

  1. Organic Carbon Exists in Mars Meteorites: where is it on the Martian Surface?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKay, David; Clemett, Simon; Gibson, Everett; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie; Wentworth, Susan

    The search for organic carbon on Mars has been a major challenge. The first attempt was the Viking GC-MS in situ experiment which gave inconclusive results at two sites on Mars [1]. After the discovery that the SNC meteorites were from Mars [2], [3-5] reported C isotopic compositional information which suggested a reduced C component present in the Martian meteorites. [6 7] reported the presence of reduced C components (i.e., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) associated with the carbonate globules in ALH84001. Jull et al. [8] noted in Nakhla there was an acid insoluble C component present with more than 75% of its C lacking any 14 C, which is modern-day terrestrial carbon. This C fraction was believed to be either indigenous martian or ancient meteoritic carbon. Fisk et al. [9, 10] have shown textural evidence along with C-enriched areas within fractures in Nakhla and ALH84001. Westall et al. [11] have shown the presence of a large irregular fragment of organic material completely embedded within a chip of ALH84001. Interior samples from the Nakhla SNC made available by the British Museum of Natural His-tory, were analyzed. Petrographic examination [12] of Nakhla showed evidence of fractures ( 0.5 m wide) filled with dark brown to black dendritic material with characteristics similar to those observed by [10]. Iddingsite is also present along fractures in olivine. Fracture filling and dendritic material was examined by SEM-EDX, TEM-EDX, Focused Electron Beam mi-croscopy, Laser Raman Spectroscopy, Nano-SIMS Ion Micro-probe, and Stepped-Combustion Static Mass Spectrometry. Observations from the first three techniques are discussed in [12 and 13]. Nano-SIMS Ion Microprobe studies of the C-bearing fractures, containing the optically dark dendritic material, show direct correlation between C- and CN- abundances. Ion abun-dances for epoxy are distinct from those of the dendritic material[12] . Laser Raman Spectrometry was utilized to examine the optically dark dendritic

  2. Magnetic studies on Shergotty and other SNC meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cisowski, S. M.

    1986-06-01

    The results of a study of basic magnetic properties of meteorites within the SNC group, including the four known shergottites and two nakhlites, are presented. An estimate is made of the strength of the magnetic field which produced the remanent magnetization of the Shergotty meteorite, for the purpose of constraining the choices for the parent body of these SNC meteorites. Remanence measurements in several subsamples of Shergotty and Zagami meteorites reveal a large variation in intensity that does not seem to be related to the abundance of remanence carriers. The other meteorites carry only weak remanence, suggesting weak magnetizing fields as the source of their magnetic signal. A paleointensity experiment on a weakly magnetized subsample of Shergotty revealed a low temperature component of magnetization acquired in a field of 2000 gammas, and a high temperature component reflecting a paleofield strength of between 250 and 1000 gammas. The weak field environment that these meteorites seem to reflect is consistent with either a Martian or asteroidal origin, but inconsistent with a terrestrial origin.

  3. Magnetic studies on Shergotty and other SNC meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cisowski, S. M.

    1986-01-01

    The results of a study of basic magnetic properties of meteorites within the SNC group, including the four known shergottites and two nakhlites, are presented. An estimate is made of the strength of the magnetic field which produced the remanent magnetization of the Shergotty meteorite, for the purpose of constraining the choices for the parent body of these SNC meteorites. Remanence measurements in several subsamples of Shergotty and Zagami meteorites reveal a large variation in intensity that does not seem to be related to the abundance of remanence carriers. The other meteorites carry only weak remanence, suggesting weak magnetizing fields as the source of their magnetic signal. A paleointensity experiment on a weakly magnetized subsample of Shergotty revealed a low temperature component of magnetization acquired in a field of 2000 gammas, and a high temperature component reflecting a paleofield strength of between 250 and 1000 gammas. The weak field environment that these meteorites seem to reflect is consistent with either a Martian or asteroidal origin, but inconsistent with a terrestrial origin.

  4. Martian polar geological studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cutts, J. A. J.

    1977-01-01

    Multiple arcs of rugged mountains and adjacent plains on the surface of Mars were examined. These features, located in the southern polar region were photographed by Mariner 9. Comparisons are made with characteristics of a lunar basin and mare; Mare imbrium in particular. The martian feature is interpreted to have originated in the same way as its lunar analog- by volcanic flooding of a large impact basin. Key data and methodology leading to this conclusion are cited.

  5. Implications of noble gases in a recently recognized Martian meteorite (ALH84001) for the degassing history of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Swindle, T. D.

    1994-01-01

    For terrestrial planets, atmospheric compositions are not static, but evolve with time, in part due to degassing of the interior. Unfortunately, the evolution is slow enough that it is usually not observable on human timescales, or even on the timescales of rocks that preserve samples of Earth's ancient atmosphere. Preliminary results on a recently recognized Martian meteorite, ALH84001, indicate that it is a very old rock, and has a relatively high noble gas content suggestive of atmospheric incorporation, but with an isotopic composition slightly inconsistent with currently known Martian reservoirs. Hence, this rock may provide a sample of ancient Martian atmosphere, which can be used to test models of volatile evolution (in particular, degassing) on Mars. ALH84001 is a cumulate orthopyroxenite. Although originally classified as a diogenite, its oxygen isotopes, and several chemical and petrographic features, strong suggest that it is, like the SNC meteorites, Martian. A Sm-Nd crystallization age of 4.5 Ga has been reported. The meteorite is rich in noble gases, compared to most SNC's. In many respects the noble gases are typical of SNC meteorites. However, there are some subtle differences. In particular, the Xe isotopes in SNC meteorites can be explained as a mixture of Martian atmospheric Xe (as represented by glass in EETA 79001), the Xe in the dunite Chassigny (usually assumed to be representative of the Martian interior, and with lower (129)Xe/(132)Xe, (134)Xe/(132)Xe and (136)Xe/(132)Xe ratios), and later additions from known processes like fission, spallation and terrestrial contamination. The isotopic composition of ALH84001 is inconsistent (at greater than 2-3 sigma) with any mixture of those components. Even if no accumulation of fission Xe during the age of the rock is assumed, there is too little (136)Xe and (134)Xe for the amount of (129)Xe measured.

  6. Heterogeneous Shock Effects in NWA 8159: a Unique new Martian Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, T. G.; Walton, E. L.; Hu, J.; Agee, C. B.

    2014-12-01

    NWA 8159 is a olivine-bearing, fine-grained augite basalt from Mars with SNC-like oxygen isotopes and Fe/Mn values. The sample consists of augite, plagioclase (An50-65), olivine (Fa61-76), magnetite and minor orthopyroxene. NWA 8159 has several mm-thick shock-melt veins that have crystallized to a fine-grained granular mixture of silicate and sulfide with a texture unlike that seen in other shocked meteorites. Raman spectra from the veins suggest a Ca-rich garnet in the veins. Although the shock effects in this sample are similar to those of other Martian meteorites, the plagioclase remains anisotropic (crystalline) with polysynthetic twinning and fractures throughout much of the sample. In the vicinity of shock veins, the plagioclase is isotropic and stoichiometric with undisturbed grain boundaries and no fractures. Some plagioclase in contact with shock melt has transformed to tissintite (Ca-jadelite like pyroxene). Fayalitic olivine is partially transformed to ahrensite (spinel) in contact with shock melt. As in several other shocked Martian meteorites, olivine is also transformed into a nanometer-scale mixture of oxide and silicate. Raman spectra from these areas are consistent with the presence of magnetite, rather than magnesiowüstite, as seen in other samples. Minor quartz grains have radiating fractures through the surrounding minerals indicative of partial back transformation from a high-density phase. Raman spectra from this material indicates stishovite and coesite. The coexistence of crystalline plagioclase and maskelynite suggests a moderate shock pressure of 16 - 23 GPa. However, the association of maskelynite and other transformation features with shock veins indicates the importance of high temperatures in creating heterogeneous shock features. Nanometer-scale mineralogy and transformation nano-structures will be investigated in FIB sections with analytical TEM to better constrain the mineralogy, transformation mechanisms and shock conditions.

  7. ALH84001, a cumulate orthopyroxenite member of the Martian meteorite clan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mittlefehldt, David W.

    1994-01-01

    ALH84001, originally classified as a diogenite, is a coarse-grained, cataclastic, orthopyroxenite meteorite related to the martian (SNC) meteorites. The orthopyroxene is relatively uniform in composition, with a mean composition of Wo3.3En69.4Fs27.3. Minor phases are euhedral to subhedral chromite and interstitial maskelynite, An31.1Ab63.2Or5.7, with accessory augite, Wo42.2En45.1Fs12.7, apatite, pyrite and carbonates, Cc11.5Mg58.0Sd29.4Rd1.1. The pyroxenes and chromites in ALH84001 are similar in composition to these phases in EETA79001 lithology a megacrysts but are more homogeneous. Maskelynite is similar in composition to feldspars in the nakhlites and Chassigny. Two generations of carbonates are present, early (pre-shock) strongly zoned carbonates and late (post-shock) carbonates. The high Ca content of both types of carbonates indicates that they were formed at moderately high temperature, possibly approximately 700 C. ALH84001 has a slightly LREE-depleted pattern with La 0.67x and Lu 1.85x CI abundances and with a negative Eu anomaly (Eu/Sm 0.56x CI). The uniform pyroxene composition is unusual for martian meteorites, and suggests that ALH84001 cooled more slowly than did the shergottites, nakhlites of Chassigny. The nearly monomineralic composition, coarse-grain size, homogeneous orthopyroxene and chromite compositions, the interstitial maskelynite and apatite, and the REE pattern suggest that ALH84001 is a cumulate orthopyroxenite containing minor trapped, intercumulus material.

  8. Organic Carbon Exists in Mars Meteorites: Where is it on the Martian Surface?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, D. S.; Clemett, S. J.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Wentworth, S. J.

    2010-01-01

    The search for organic carbon on Mars has been a major challenge. The first attempt was the Viking GC-MS in situ experiment which gave inconclusive results at two sites oil. After the discovery that the SNC meteorites were from Mars, reported C isotopic compositional information which suggested a reduced C component present in the Martian meteorites reported the presence of reduced C components (i.e., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) associated with the carbonate globules in ALH84001. Jull et al. noted in Nakhla there was acid insoluble C component present with more than 75% of its C lacking any C-14, which is modern-day terrestrial carbon. This C fraction was believed to be either indigenous martian or ancient meteoritic carbon. Fisk et al. have shown textural evidence along with C-enriched areas within fractures in Nakhla and ALH84001. Westall et al. have shown the presence of a large irregular fragment of organic material completely embedded within a chip of ALH84001. Interior samples from the Naklnla SNC made available by the British Museum of Natural History, were analyzed. Petrographic examination of Nakhla showed evidence of fractures (approx.0.5 microns wide) filled with dark brown to black dendritic material with characteristics similar to those observed by. Iddingsite is also present along fractures in olivine. Fracture filling and dendritic material was examined by SEM-EDX, TEM-EDX, Focused Electron Beam microscopy, Laser Raman Spectroscopy, Nano-SIMS Ion Micro-probe, and Stepped-Combustion Static Mass Spectrometry. Observations from the first three techniques are discussed.

  9. Comparing Meteorite and Spacecraft Noble Gas Measurements to Trace Processes in the Martian Crust and Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swindle, T. D.

    2014-12-01

    Our knowledge of the noble gas abundances and isotopic compositions in the Martian crust and atmosphere come from two sources, measurements of meteorites from Mars and in situ measurements by spacecraft. Measurements by the Viking landers had large uncertainties, but were precise enough to tie the meteorites to Mars. Hence most of the questions we have are currently defined by meteorite measurements. Curiosity's SAM has confirmed that the Ar isotopic composition of the atmosphere is highly fractionated, presumably representing atmospheric loss that can now be modeled with more confidence. What turns out to be a more difficult trait to explain is the fact that the ratio of Kr/Xe in nakhlites, chassignites and ALH84001 is distinct from the atmospheric ratio, as defined by measurements from shergottites. This discrepancy has been suggested to be a result of atmosphere/groundwater/rock interaction, polar clathrate formation, or perhaps local temperature conditions. More detailed atmospheric measurements, along with targeted simulation experiments, will be needed to make full use of this anomaly.

  10. The origin of organic matter in the Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Becker, L; Popp, B; Rust, T; Bada, J L

    1999-03-30

    Stable carbon isotope measurements of the organic matter associated with the carbonate globules and the bulk matrix material in the ALH84001 Martian meteorite indicate that two distinct sources are present in the sample. The delta 13C values for the organic matter associated with the carbonate globules averaged -26% and is attributed to terrestrial contamination. In contrast, the delta 13C values for the organic matter associated with the bulk matrix material yielded a value of -15%. The only common sources of carbon on the Earth that yield similar delta 13C values, other then some diagenetically altered marine carbonates, are C4 plants. A delta 13C value of -15%, on the other hand, is consistent with a kerogen-like component, the most ubiquitous form of organic matter found in carbonaceous chondrites such as the Murchison meteorite. Examination of the carbonate globules and bulk matrix material using laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) indicates the presence of a high molecular weight organic component which appears to be extraterrestrial in origin, possibly derived from the exogenous delivery, of meteoritic or cometary debris to the surface of Mars. PMID:11542930

  11. The origin of organic matter in the Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Becker, L; Popp, B; Rust, T; Bada, J L

    1999-01-01

    Stable carbon isotope measurements of the organic matter associated with the carbonate globules and the bulk matrix material in the ALH84001 Martian meteorite indicate that two distinct sources are present in the sample. The delta 13C values for the organic matter associated with the carbonate globules averaged -26% and is attributed to terrestrial contamination. In contrast, the delta 13C values for the organic matter associated with the bulk matrix material yielded a value of -15%. The only common carbon sources on the Earth that yield similar delta 13C values, other then some diagenetically altered marine carbonates, are C4 plants. A delta 13C value of -15%, on the other hand, is consistent with a kerogen-like component, the most ubiquitous form of organic matter found in carbonaceous chondrites such as the Murchison meteorite. Examination of the carbonate globules and bulk matrix material using laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) indicates the presence of a high molecular weight organic component which appears to be extraterrestrial in origin, possibly derived from the exogenous delivery of meteoritic or cometary debris to the surface of Mars. PMID:11543335

  12. Noble Gases in Martian Meteorites: A Puzzle of Components, Sources, Pathways and Sinks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwenzer, S. P.; Ott, U.

    2014-11-01

    Noble gases have been measured on Mars by Viking and Curiosity, and studying them in meteorites revealed atmospheric and fractionated atmospheric signatures and possibly an inhomogeneous interior. But...terrestrial air has noble gases, too.

  13. Raman Mapping of Carbonates in ALH84001 Martian Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, M. S.; McHone, J.; Kudryavtsev, A.; McKay, D. S.

    2000-01-01

    Raman mapping is utilized to constrain the spatial distribution of fine scale shock effects previously reported from TEM studies. These effects include residual oxides from the formation of magnetite in carbonate and incipient amorphous silica and orthopyroxene.

  14. Calcium carbonate and calcium sulfate in Martian meteorite EETA79001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gooding, J. L.; Wentworth, S. J.

    1987-01-01

    Chips of glassy Lithology C of EETA79001 were studied by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to determine the mineralogy and petrogenesis of the glass that was shown by others to contain trapped Mars-like gases. Calcium carbonite was identified as massive to acicular crystals for which Ca, C, and O were the major elements. Calcium sulfate was identified as prismatic-acicular crystals with Ca and S as the major elements.

  15. Origin of Carbonate in Martian Meteorite Allan Hills 84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, E. R. D.; Krot, A. N.

    1998-01-01

    A significant argument advanced by McKay et al., in favor of a biogenic origin of the carbonates in ALH 84001 was that abiogenic origins - both low and high temperature - appeared to be less plausible. However, subsequent shock studies have suggested that impact heating may have modified carbonates. We inferred that plagioclase glass and rare silica grains formed from impact melts, and Raman spectroscopy confirmed that plagiociase had been melted at greater than 1200C, suggesting shock pressures exceeded 35-45 GPa. Morphological similarities between grains of plagioclase glass and irregularly shaped carbonates in fractures and the occurrence of intermixed grains in fractures suggested that carbonates may also have been shock heated so that a CO2-rich fluid was injected into cooler-fractured pyroxene during shock decompression causing crystallization in seconds.

  16. Magnetite Formation from Thermal Decomposition of Siderite: Implications for Inorganic Magnetite Formation in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, RIchard V.

    2002-01-01

    A biogenic mechanism for formation of a subpopulation magnetite in Martian meteorite ALH84001 has been suggested [McKay et al., 1996; Thomas-Keprta, et al., 2000]. We are developing experimental evidence for an alternating working hypothesis, that the subpopulation was produced inorganically by the thermal decomposition of siderite [Golden et al., 2000].

  17. Thermal Decomposition of Siderite-Pyrite Assemblages: Implications for Sulfide Mineralogy in Martian Meteorite ALH84001 Carbonate Globules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.; Morris, R. V.

    2004-03-01

    Closed system heating experiments of siderite-pyrite mixtures produce magnetite-pyrrhotite associations similar to those reported for black rims of the carbonate globules in ALH84001 Martian meteorite. These results support an inorganic formation process for magnetite and pyrrhotite in ALH84001.

  18. Alteration Assemblages in Martian Meteorites: Implications for Near-Surface Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridges, J. C.; Catling, D. C.; Saxton, J. M.; Swindle, T. D.; Lyon, I. C.; Grady, M. M.

    2001-04-01

    The SNC (Shergotty-Nakhla-Chassigny) meteorites have recorded interactions between martian crustal fluids and the parent igneous rocks. The resultant secondary minerals - which comprise up to ~1 vol.% of the meteorites - provide information about the timing and nature of hydrous activity and atmospheric processes on Mars. We suggest that the most plausible models for secondary mineral formation involve the evaporation of low temperature (25 - 150 °C) brines. This is consistent with the simple mineralogy of these assemblages - Fe-Mg-Ca carbonates, anhydrite, gypsum, halite, clays - and the chemical fractionation of Ca-to Mg-rich carbonate in ALH84001 "rosettes". Longer-lived, and higher temperature, hydrothermal systems would have caused more silicate alteration than is seen and probably more complex mineral assemblages. Experimental and phase equilibria data on carbonate compositions similar to those present in the SNCs imply low temperatures of formation with cooling taking place over a short period of time (e.g. days). The ALH84001 carbonate also probably shows the effects of partial vapourisation and dehydration related to an impact event post-dating the initial precipitation. This shock event may have led to the formation of sulphide and some magnetite in the Fe-rich outer parts of the rosettes. Radiometric dating (K-Ar, Rb-Sr) of the secondary mineral assemblages in one of the nakhlites (Lafayette) suggests that they formed between 0 and 670 Myr, and certainly long after the crystallisation of the host igneous rocks. Crystallisation of ALH84001 carbonate took place 0.5 Gyr after the parent rock. These age ranges and the other research on these assemblages suggest that environmental conditions conducive to near-surface liquid water have been present on Mars periodically over the last ~1 Gyr. This fluid activity cannot have been continuous over geological time because in that case much more silicate alteration would have taken place in the meteorite parent

  19. Accretion timescale and impact history of Mars deduced from the isotopic systematics of martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borg, Lars E.; Brennecka, Gregory A.; Symes, Steven J. K.

    2016-02-01

    High precision Sm-Nd isotopic analyses have been completed on a suite of 11 martian basaltic meteorites in order to better constrain the age of silicate differentiation on Mars associated with the formation of their mantle sources. These data are used to evaluate the merits and disadvantages of various mathematical approaches that have been employed in previous work on this topic. Ages determined from the Sm-Nd isotopic systematics of individual samples are strongly dependent on the assumed Nd isotopic composition of the bulk planet. This assumption is problematic given differences observed between the Nd isotopic composition of Earth and chondritic meteorites and the fact that these materials are both commonly used to represent bulk planetary Nd isotopic compositions. Ages determined from the slope of 146Sm-142Nd whole rock isochrons are not dependent on the assumed 142Nd/144Nd ratio of the planet, but require the sample suite to be derived from complementary, contemporaneously-formed reservoirs. In this work, we present a mathematical expression that defines the age of formation of the source regions of such a suite of samples that is based solely on the slope of a 143Nd-142Nd whole rock isochron and is also independent of any a priori assumptions regarding the bulk isotopic composition of the planet. This expression is also applicable to mineral isochrons and has been used to successfully calculate 143Nd-142Nd model crystallization ages of early refractory solids as well as lunar samples. This permits ages to be obtained using only Nd isotopic measurements without the need for 147Sm/144Nd isotope dilution determinations. When used in conjunction with high-precision Nd isotopic measurements completed on martian meteorites this expression yields an age of formation of the martian basaltic meteorite source regions of 4504 ± 6 Ma. Because the Sm-Nd model ages for the formation of martian source regions are commonly interpreted to record the age at which large scale

  20. A Petrographic History of Martian Meteorite ALH84001: Two Shocks and an Ancient Age

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H.

    1995-01-01

    ALH84001 is an igneous meteorite, an orthopyroxenite of martian origin. It contains petrographic evidence of two shock metamorphic events, separated by thermal and chemical events. The evidence for two shock events suggests that ALH84001 is ancient and perhaps a sample of the martian highlands. From petrography and mineral chemistry, the history of ALH84001 must include: crystallization from magma, a first shock (impact) metamorphism, thermal metamorphism, low-temperature chemical alteration, and a second shock (impact) metamorphism. Originally, ALH84001 was igneous, an orthopyroxene-chromite cumulate. In the first shock event, the igneous rock was cut by melt-breccia or cataclastic veinlets, now bands of equigranular fine-grained pyroxene and other minerals (crush zones). Intact fragments of the cumulate were fractured and strained (now converted to polygonized zones). The subsequent thermal metamorphism (possibly related to the first shock) annealed the melt-breccia or cataclastic veinlets to their present granoblastic texture and permitted chemical homogenization of all mineral species present. The temperature of metamorphism was at least 875 C, based on mineral thermometers. Next, Mg-Fe-Ca carbonates and pyrite replaced plagioclase in both clasts and granular bands, producing ellipsoidal carbonate globules with sub-micron scale compositional stratigraphy, repeated identically in all globules, The second shock event produced microfault offsets of carbonate stratigraphy and other mineral contacts, radial fractures around chromite and maskelynite, and strain birefringence in pyroxene. Maskelynite could not have been preserved from the first shock event, because it would have crystallized back to plagioclase. The martian source area for ALH84001 must permit this complex, multiple impact history. Very few craters on young igneous surfaces are on or near earlier impact features. It is more likely that ALH84001 was ejected from an old igneous unit (Hesperian or

  1. Martian surface weathering studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Calvin, M.

    1973-01-01

    The nature of the Martian surface was characterized by means of its reflectance properties. The Mariner 9 photography was used to establish terrain units which were crossed by the Mariner 6 and 7 paths. The IR reflectance measured by the IR spectrometers on these spacecraft was to be used to indicate the nature of the surface within these units. There is an indication of physical size and/or compositional variation between units but too many natural parameters can vary (size, shape, composition, adsorbed phases, reradiation, atmospheric absorbtion, temperature gradients, etc.) to be certain what effect is causing those variations observed. It is suggested that the characterization could be fruitfully pursued by a group which was dedicated to peeling back the layers of minutia affecting IR reflectance.

  2. Hydrothermal Origin for Carbonate Globules in Martian Meteorite ALH84001: A Terrestrial Analogue from Spitsbergen (Norway)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H.; Amundsen, Hans E. F.; Blake, David F.; Bunch, Ted

    2002-01-01

    Carbonate minerals in the ancient Martian meteorite ALH84001 are the only known solid phases that bear witness to the processing of volatile and biologically critical compounds (CO2, H2O) on early Mars. Similar carbonates have been found in xenoliths and their host basalts from Quaternary volcanic centers in northern Spitsbergen (Norway). These carbonates were deposited by hot (i.e., hydrothermal) waters associated with the volcanic activity. By analogy with the Spitsbergen carbonates, the ALH84001 carbonates were probably also deposited by hot water. Hydrothermal activity was probably common and widespread on Early Mars, which featured abundant basaltic rocks, water as ice or liquid, and heat from volcanos and asteroid impacts. On Earth, descendants of the earliest life forms still prefer hydrothermal environments, which are now shown to have been present on early Mars.

  3. Hydrothermal origin for carbonate globules in Martian meteorite ALH84001: a terrestrial analogue from Spitsbergen (Norway)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treiman, Allan H.; Amundsen, Hans E. F.; Blake, David F.; Bunch, Ted

    2002-12-01

    Carbonate minerals in the ancient Martian meteorite ALH84001 are the only known solid phases that bear witness to the processing of volatile and biologically critical compounds (CO 2, H 2O) on early Mars. Similar carbonates have been found in xenoliths and their host basalts from Quaternary volcanic centers in northern Spitsbergen (Norway). These carbonates were deposited by hot (i.e., hydrothermal) waters associated with the volcanic activity. By analogy with the Spitsbergen carbonates, the ALH84001 carbonates were probably also deposited by hot water. Hydrothermal activity was probably common and widespread on Early Mars, which featured abundant basaltic rocks, water as ice or liquid, and heat from volcanos and asteroid impacts. On Earth, descendants of the earliest life forms still prefer hydrothermal environments, which are now shown to have been present on early Mars.

  4. Magnetite whiskers and platelets in the ALH84001 Martian meteorite: evidence of vapor phase growth.

    PubMed

    Bradley, J P; Harvey, R P; McSween, H Y

    1996-01-01

    Nanometer-sized magnetite crystals associated with carbonates in fracture zones within Martian meteorite ALH84001 have been examined using analytical transmission electron microscopy. Some of the crystals exhibit distinctive morphologies: filamentary rods and ribbon, and platelets. The rods and ribbons are elongated along the crystallographic [100] and [111] directions. Some of the rods contain microstructural defects indicating that they grew by spiral growth about screw dislocations. Platelets are flattened along the [100] and [110] directions. These unique morphologies and microstructures constrain the growth conditions of magnetite. The whiskers and platelets most likely formed in the temperature range 500-800 degrees C by direct condensation from a vapor or precipitation from a supercritical fluid, and their properties are inconsistent with a biogenic origin. PMID:11541129

  5. Experimental Shock Decomposition of Siderite and the Origin of Magnetite in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, Mary Sue

    2007-01-01

    Shock recovery experiments to determine whether magnetite could be produced by the decomposition of iron-carbonate were initiated. Naturally occurring siderite was first characterized by electron microprobe (EMP), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Mossbauer spectroscopy, and magnetic susceptibility measurements to be sure that the starting material did not contain detectable magnetite. Samples were shocked in tungsten-alloy holders (W=90%, Ni=6%, Cu=4%) to further insure that any iron phases in the shock products were contributed by the siderite rather than the sample holder. Each sample was shocked to a specific pressure between 30 to 49 GPa. Previously reported results of TEM analyses on 49 GPa experiments indicated the presence of nano-phase spinel-structured iron oxide. Transformation of siderite to magnetite as characterized by TEM was found in the 49 GPa shock experiment. Compositions of most magnetites are greater than 50% Fe sup(+2) in the octahedral site of the inverse spinel structure. Magnetites produced in shock experiments display the same range of single-domain, superparamagnetic sizes (approx. 50 100 nm), compositions (100% magnetite to 80% magnetite-20% magnesioferrite), and morphologies (equant, elongated, euhedral to subhedral) as magnetites synthesized by Golden et al. (2001) or magnetites grown naturally by MV1 magnetotactic bacteria, and as the magnetites in Martian meteorite ALH84001. Fritz et al. (2005) previously concluded that ALH84001 experienced approx. 32 GPa pressure and a resultant thermal pulse of approx. 100 - 110 C. However, ALH84001 contains evidence of local temperature excursions high enough to 1 melt feldspar, pyroxene, and a silica-rich phase. This 49 GPa experiment demonstrates that magnetite can be produced by the shock decomposition of siderite as a result of local heating to greater than 470 C. Therefore, magnetite in the rims of carbonates in Martian meteorite ALH84001 could be a product of shock devolatilization of

  6. Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenniskens, Peter

    2015-08-01

    Meteorites have long been known to offer a unique window into planetary formation processes at the time of solar system formation and into the materials that rained down on Earth at the time of the origin of life. Their material properties determine the impact hazard of Near Earth Asteroids. Some insight into how future laboratory studies of meteorites and laboratory astrophysics simulations of relevant physical processes can help address open questions in these areas and generate new astronomical observations, comes from what was learned from the recent laboratory studies of freshly fallen meteorites. The rapid recovery of Almahata Sitta (a polymict Ureilite), Sutter's Mill (a CM chondrite regolith breccia), Novato (an L6 chondrite), and Chelyabinsk (an LL5 chondrite) each were followed by the creation of a meteorite consortium, which grew to over 50 researchers in the case of Chelyabinsk. New technologies were used to probe the organic content of the meteorites as well as their magnetic signatures, isotopic abundances, trapped noble gasses, and cosmogenic radio nucleides, amongst others. This has resulted in fascinating insight into the nature of the Ureilite parent body, the likely source region of the CM chondrites in the main asteroid belt, and the collisional environment of the CM parent body. This work has encouraged follow-up in the hope of catching more unique materials. Rapid response efforts are being developed that aim to recover meteorites as pristinely as possible from falls for which the approach orbit was measured. A significant increase in the number of known approach orbits for different meteorite types will help tie meteorite types to their asteroid family source regions. Work so far suggests that future laboratory studies may recognize multiple source regions for iron-rich ordinary chondrites, for example. Hope is that these source regions will give insight into the material properties of impacting asteroids. At least some future laboratory

  7. EBSD analysis of the Shergottite Meteorites: New developments within the technique and their implication on what we know about the preferred orientation of Martian minerals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stephen, N.; Benedix, G. K.; Bland, P.; Berlin, J.; Salge, T.; Goran, D.

    2011-12-01

    What we know about the geology and mineralogy of the Martian surface has been characterised by both the use of remote sensing techniques and the analysis of Martian meteorites. Various techniques are employed to conduct these analyses including crystallographic, geochemical and spectral measurements, all of which enable us to infer a geological history for these rocks. Several references have been made to the potential for preferred orientation of crystals within the Shergottites [1] and their implication for the cooling history of the respective magmas on Mars [2]. We have already shown that a preferred orientation of the two pyroxenes, augite and pigeonite, can be seen in the Zagami meteorite using electron back-scatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis [3]. However, when compared to previous modal studies of the same meteorites [4], it becomes apparent that the current EBSD datasets for Martian meteorites are incomplete. Indexing of some minerals can be hampered by the lack of available matches within library databases for EBSD, or become difficult to resolve between minerals where crystallographic differences between similar minerals fall below the technical limitations of the instrument [3]. Recent advances in EBSD technologies combined with the simultaneous acquisition of energy-dispersive spectra (EDS) however now allow us to determine a more comprehensive set of analyses in a much shorter period of time, fully resolving even similar minerals where areas have been left with no indexing previously [5]. Preliminary investigations suggest that the new technology can successfully index >90% of the sample. The most recent EBSD analyses potentially reveals previously unseen fabrics in the meteorites alongside the EDS hyper-spectral imaging helping to resolve any unknown or questionable phases within them. In this study we will present new data from an investigation using EDS alongside EBSD analysis on 2 Shergottite meteorites, SAU 005 and Zagami, to further resolve

  8. The age of the martian meteorite Northwest Africa 1195 and the differentiation history of the shergottites

    SciTech Connect

    Symes, S; Borg, L; Shearer, C; Irving, A

    2007-04-05

    Samarium-neodymium isotopic analyses of unleached and acid-leached mineral fractions from the recently identified olivine-bearing shergottite Northwest Africa 1195 yield a crystallization age of 348 {+-} 19 Ma and an {var_epsilon}{sub Nd}{sup 143} value of +40.1 {+-} 1.3. Maskelynite fractions do not lie on the Sm-Nd isochron and appear to contain a martian surface component with low {sup 147}Sm/{sup 144}Nd and {sup 143}Nd/{sup 144}Nd ratios that was added during shock. The Rb-Sr system is disturbed and does not yield an isochron. Terrestrial Sr appears to have affected all of the mineral fractions, although a maximum initial {sup 87}Sr/{sup 86}Sr ratio of 0.701614 {+-} 16 is estimated by passing a 348 Ma reference isochron through the maskelynite fraction that is least affected by contamination. The high initial {var_epsilon}{sub Nd}{sup 143} value and the low initial {sup 87}Sr/{sup 86}Sr ratio, combined with the geologically young crystallization age, indicate that Northwest Africa 1195 is derived from a source region characterized by a long-term incompatible element depletion. The age and initial Sr and Nd isotopic compositions of Northwest Africa 1195 are very similar to those of Queen Alexandra Range 94201, indicating these samples were derived from source regions with nearly identical Sr-Nd isotopic systematics. These similarities suggest that these two meteorites share a close petrogenetic relationship and might have been erupted from a common volcano. The meteorites Yamato 980459, Dar al Gani 476, Sayh al Uhaymir 005/008, and Dhofar 019 also have relatively old ages between 474-575 Ma and trace element and/or isotopic systematics that are indicative of derivation from incompatible-element-depleted sources. This suggests that the oldest group of meteorites is more closely related to one another than they are to the younger meteorites that are derived from less incompatible-element-depleted sources. Closed-system fractional crystallization of this suite of

  9. Organic Carbon Exists in Mars Meteorites: where is it on the Martian Surface?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKay, David; Clemett, Simon; Gibson, Everett; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie; Wentworth, Susan

    The search for organic carbon on Mars has been a major challenge. The first attempt was the Viking GC-MS in situ experiment which gave inconclusive results at two sites on Mars [1]. After the discovery that the SNC meteorites were from Mars [2], [3-5] reported C isotopic compositional information which suggested a reduced C component present in the Martian meteorites. [6 7] reported the presence of reduced C components (i.e., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) associated with the carbonate globules in ALH84001. Jull et al. [8] noted in Nakhla there was an acid insoluble C component present with more than 75% of its C lacking any 14 C, which is modern-day terrestrial carbon. This C fraction was believed to be either indigenous martian or ancient meteoritic carbon. Fisk et al. [9, 10] have shown textural evidence along with C-enriched areas within fractures in Nakhla and ALH84001. Westall et al. [11] have shown the presence of a large irregular fragment of organic material completely embedded within a chip of ALH84001. Interior samples from the Nakhla SNC made available by the British Museum of Natural His-tory, were analyzed. Petrographic examination [12] of Nakhla showed evidence of fractures ( 0.5 m wide) filled with dark brown to black dendritic material with characteristics similar to those observed by [10]. Iddingsite is also present along fractures in olivine. Fracture filling and dendritic material was examined by SEM-EDX, TEM-EDX, Focused Electron Beam mi-croscopy, Laser Raman Spectroscopy, Nano-SIMS Ion Micro-probe, and Stepped-Combustion Static Mass Spectrometry. Observations from the first three techniques are discussed in [12 and 13]. Nano-SIMS Ion Microprobe studies of the C-bearing fractures, containing the optically dark dendritic material, show direct correlation between C- and CN- abundances. Ion abun-dances for epoxy are distinct from those of the dendritic material[12] . Laser Raman Spectrometry was utilized to examine the optically dark dendritic

  10. Carbonaceous structures in the Tissint Martian Meteorite: evidence of a biogenetic origin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wallis, Jamie; Wickramasinghe, N. C.; Wallis, Daryl H.; Miyake, Nori; Wallis, M. K.; Hoover, Richard B.

    2015-09-01

    We report for the first time in situ observations of 5-50μm spherical carbonaceous structures in the Tissint Martian meteorite comprising of pyrite (FeS2) cores and carbonaceous outer coatings. The structures are characterized as smooth immiscible spheres with curved boundaries occasionally following the contours of the pyrite inclusion. The structures bear striking resemblance to similar-sized immiscible carbonaceous spheres found in hydrothermal calcite vein deposits in the Mullaghwornia Quarry in central Ireland. Similar structures have been reported in Proterozoic and Ordovician sandstones from Canada as well as in a variety of astronomical sources including carbonaceous chondrites, chondritic IDPs and primitive chondritic meteorites. SEM and X-Ray elemental mapping confirmed the presence of organic carbon filling the crack and cleavage space in the pyroxene substrate, with further evidence of pyrite acting as an attractive substrate for the collection of organic matter. The detection of precipitated carbon collecting around pyrite grains is at variance with an igneous origin as proposed for the reduced organic component in Tissint, and is more consistent with a biogenetic origin.

  11. Micro-Spectroscopy as a Tool for Detecting Micron-Scale Mineral Variations Across a Rock Surface: An Example Using a Thin Section of Martian Meteorite ALH 84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dalton, J. B.; Bishop, J. L.

    2003-03-01

    Visible and near-infrared spectra of a portion of martian meteorite ALH84001 were acquired using a high resolution imaging microscope to investigate imaging spectroscopy for mineral detection at small scales.

  12. Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron (FEGSEM) and Transmission Electron (TEM) Microscopy of Phyllosilicates in Martian Meteorites ALH84001, Nakhla, and Shergotty

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Wentworth, Susan J.; McKay, David S.; Gibson, Everett K.

    2000-01-01

    Here we document the occurrence of phyllosilicates and alteration phases in three martian meteorites, suggest formation conditions required for phyllosilicate formation and speculate on the extent of fluid:rock interactions during the past history of Mars.

  13. Ni/S/Cl systematics and the origin of impact-melt glasses in Martian meteorite Elephant Moraine 79001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schrader, Christian M.; Cohen, Barbara A.; Donovan, John J.; Vicenzi, Edward P.

    2016-04-01

    Martian meteorite Elephant Moraine A79001 (EET 79001) has received considerable attention for the unusual composition of its shock melt glass, particularly its enrichment in sulfur relative to the host shergottite. It has been hypothesized that Martian regolith was incorporated into the melt or, conversely, that the S-enrichment stems from preferential melting of sulfide minerals in the host rock during shock. We present results from an electron microprobe study of EET 79001 including robust measurements of major and trace elements in the shock melt glass (S, Cl, Ni, Co, V, and Sc) and minerals in the host rock (Ni, Co, and V). We find that both S and major element abundances can be reconciled with previous hypotheses of regolith incorporation and/or excess sulfide melt. However, trace element characteristics of the shock melt glass, particularly Ni and Cl abundances relative to S, cannot be explained either by the incorporation of regolith or sulfide minerals. We therefore propose an alternative hypothesis whereby, prior to shock melting, portions of EET 79001 experienced acid-sulfate leaching of the mesostasis, possibly groundmass feldspar, and olivine, producing Al-sulfates that were later incorporated into the shock melt, which then quenched to glass. Such activity in the Martian near-surface is supported by observations from the Mars Exploration Rovers and laboratory experiments. Our preimpact alteration model, accompanied by the preferential survival of olivine and excess melting of feldspar during impact, explains the measured trace element abundances better than either the regolith incorporation or excess sulfide melting hypothesis does.

  14. Investigations of the effects of impact shock, water and oxidation on SNC (Martian) meteorites, magma petrogenesis and spectral properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minitti, Michelle Elaine

    The research contained in this thesis utilizes data from planetary missions and from the SNC (Shergotty-Nakhla- Chassigny) meteorites to answer questions about igneous processes on Mars. Two broad themes encompass the chapters: (1) investigation of the amount and role of water in Martian magmas; and (2) exploration of connections between chemical and mineralogical data from planetary missions and the SNC meteorites. The potential amount of water was investigated indirectly by studying the effects of impact shock on water loss and H isotope fractionation in hornblende. Combined results from petrography, water extraction and mass spectrometry analyses of unshocked and shocked hornblende suggest that impact shock potentially leads to losses of ˜1 wt% H2O and H isotopic fractionations of DeltaD ≈ +100‰. This finding implies that impact shock was an important factor in establishing the low water contents and H isotopic character of the SNC kaersutites. The role of water was investigated more directly by studying the effect of water on the crystallization of a SNC basalt, with the goal of understanding the origin of the andesitic "sulfur-free" rock composition established from measurements at the Mars Pathfinder landing site. We determined that water (1--1.5 wt% H2O) is required in the formation of the sulfur-free rock from a SNC parental basalt and that water facilitates extraction of such andesitic liquids. Further connections between the SNC meteorites and planetary mission data were investigated by establishing the effects of glass content and oxidation on spectra of SNC basalt compositions. We then determined if SNC basalt spectra affected by one or both of these factors could reproduce Mars remote sensing data. We found that the relative amounts of glass, pyroxene and plagioclase that change with crystallinity lead to progressive changes in spectral character of SNC basalts at both visible and near-infrared (VISNIR) and mid-infrared (mid-IR) wavelengths. We

  15. Bulk and Stable Isotopic Compositions of Carbonate Minerals in Martian Meteorite Allan Hills 84001: No Proof of High Formation Temperature

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H.; Romanek, Christopher S.

    1998-01-01

    Understanding the origin of carbonate minerals in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 is crucial to evaluating the hypothesis that they contain traces of ancient Martian life. Using arguments based on chemical equilibria among carbonates and fluids, an origin at greater than 650 C (inimical to life) has been proposed. However, the bulk and stable isotopic compositions of the carbonate minerals are open to multiple interpretations and so lend no particular support to a high-temperature origin. Other methods (possibly less direct) will have to be used to determine the formation temperature of the carbonates in ALH 84001.

  16. Bulk and stable isotopic compositions of carbonate minerals in Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001: no proof of high formation temperature.

    PubMed

    Treiman, A H; Romanek, C S

    1998-07-01

    Understanding the origin of carbonate minerals in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 is crucial to evaluating the hypothesis that they contain traces of ancient Martian life. Using arguments based on chemical equilibria among carbonates and fluids, an origin at >650 degrees C (inimical to life) has been proposed. However, the bulk and stable isotopic compositions of the carbonate minerals are open to multiple interpretations and so lend no particular support to a high-temperature origin. Other methods (possibly less direct) will have to be used to determine the formation temperature of the carbonates in ALH84001. PMID:11543073

  17. The Microbiological Contamination of Meteorites: A Null Hypothesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steele, A.; Toporski, J. K. W.; Westall, F. W.; Thomas-Keprta, K.; Gibson, E. K.; Avci, R.; Whitby, C.; McKay, D. S.; Griffin, C.

    2000-01-01

    Using 4 different techniques we have studied 9 meteorites including the Martian meteorites ALH84001 and Nakhla for terrestrial contamination in all 9 we have found evidence of terrestrial microorganisms.

  18. Oxygen Isotopic Analyses of Water Extracted from the Martian Meteorite NWA 7034

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nunn, M.; Agee, C. B.; Thiemens, M. H.

    2012-12-01

    Introduction: The NWA 7034 meteorite has been identified as Martian, but it is distinct from the Shergottite-Nakhlite-Chassignite (SNC) grouping of meteorites in its petrology (it is the only known Martian basaltic breccia) and bulk silicate oxygen isotopic composition (Δ17O = 0.56 ± 0.06 ‰, where Δ17O = δ17O - 0.528 x δ18O, compared to the average SNC Δ17O ≈ 0.3 ‰) [e.g., 1-2]. We report here measurements of the oxygen isotopic composition of water extracted from NWA 7034 by stepwise heating. Methods: A piece (~1.2g) of NWA 7034 was pumped to vacuum until outgassing had stopped before heating to 50, 150, 320, 500, and 1000°C. The sample was maintained at each temperature step for at least one hour while collecting evolved volatiles in a liquid nitrogen cold trap. Water was selectively converted to molecular oxygen, the oxygen isotopic composition of which was then measured on a double collecting isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Results: Our stepwise heating experiments indicate NWA 7034 contains 3330ppm water, and this water has an average oxygen isotopic composition of Δ17O = 0.330 ± 0.011‰. The oxygen isotopic composition of water in NWA 7034 is unlike that of the silicates from which it is extracted (Δ17O = 0.56 ± 0.06 ‰) but is comparable to the average SNC silicate composition (Δ17O ≈ 0.3 ‰). However, there is no consensus on the oxygen isotopic composition of water in SNCs because aliquots of water extracted from different samples (separate pieces of a single meteorite or from different meteorites) have different oxygen isotopic compositions [3]. Furthermore, carbonates and sulfates extracted from SNCs also possess distinct oxygen isotopic compositions [4]. The variation in oxygen isotopic composition among these phases most likely results from the existence of isotopically distinct oxygen reservoirs on Mars that were not equilibrated. On Earth, interaction of ozone (O3) and carbon dioxide (CO2) leads to a mass independent oxygen

  19. NanoSIMS analysis of organic carbon from the Tissint Martian meteorite: Evidence for the past existence of subsurface organic-bearing fluids on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Yangting; El Goresy, Ahmed; Hu, Sen; Zhang, Jianchao; Gillet, Philippe; Xu, Yuchen; Hao, Jialong; Miyahara, Masaaki; Ouyang, Ziyuan; Ohtani, Eiji; Xu, Lin; Yang, Wei; Feng, Lu; Zhao, Xuchao; Yang, Jing; Ozawa, Shin

    2014-12-01

    Two petrographic settings of carbonaceous components, mainly filling open fractures and occasionally enclosed in shock-melt veins, were found in the recently fallen Tissint Martian meteorite. The presence in shock-melt veins and the deuterium enrichments (δD up to +1183‰) of these components clearly indicate a pristine Martian origin. The carbonaceous components are kerogen-like, based on micro-Raman spectra and multielemental ratios, and were probably deposited from fluids in shock-induced fractures in the parent rock of Tissint. After precipitation of the organic matter, the rock experienced another severe shock event, producing the melt veins that encapsulated a part of the organic matter. The C isotopic compositions of the organic matter (δ13C = -12.8 to -33.1‰) are significantly lighter than Martian atmospheric CO2 and carbonate, providing a tantalizing hint for a possible biotic process. Alternatively, the organic matter could be derived from carbonaceous chondrites, as insoluble organic matter from the latter has similar chemical and isotopic compositions. The presence of organic-rich fluids that infiltrated rocks near the surface of Mars has significant implications for the study of Martian paleoenvironment and perhaps to search for possible ancient biological activities on Mars.

  20. Paleomagnetic evidence of a low-temperature origin of carbonate in the Martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Kirschvink, J L; Maine, A T; Vali, H

    1997-03-14

    Indirect evidence for life on Mars has been reported from the study of meteorite ALH84001. The formation temperature of the carbonates is controversial; some estimates suggest 20 degrees to 80 degrees C, whereas others exceed 650 degrees C. Paleomagnetism can be used to distinguish between these possibilities because heating can remagnetize ferrimagnetic minerals. Study of two adjacent pyroxene grains from the crushed zone of ALH84001 shows that each possesses a stable natural remanent magnetization (NRM), implying that Mars had a substantial magnetic field when the grains cooled. However, NRM directions from these particles differ, implying that the meteorite has not been heated significantly since the formation of the internal crushed zone about 4 billion years ago. The carbonate globules postdate this brecciation, and thus formed at low temperatures. PMID:9054354

  1. Maximum Age Predictions for Optical Dating on Mars Based on Dose/Depth Models and Martian Meteorite Compositions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Franklund, R. T.; Lepper, K.

    2004-12-01

    A fundamental need in the Mars exploration portfolio is in-situ absolute dating. Optical dating has been proposed for determining the age of Mars surface features and landforms as well as the rates of martian surface processes. On Earth, the method is employed for Quaternary studies because the technique currently has a terrestrial maximum age limit of approximately 350 ka. This maximum age limit is a function of the saturation dose of the dosimeter material (silicate sediments) and the local ionizing radiation dose rate. The sources of ionizing radiation germane to optical dating are K, Rb, U, Th in the sediment/soil environment and cosmic rays. On Mars the near surface dose rate will be dominated by cosmic rays, however, at depth the decay of radioisotopes will be the principle contributor of ionizing radiation. In this work we present an evaluation of the maximum age limits for OSL dating on Mars as a function of depth. At this time we have considered only static burial. Our calculations are based on published models of and data for: (i) Mars surface cosmic dose rate and its attenuation by martian regolith, (ii) elemental analyses of Mars meteorites, (iii) an experimental evaluation of the saturation dose for the martian soil simulant JSC Mars-1. Our analysis confirms earlier inferences that optical dating should have a greater effective age range on Mars than on Earth. At depths easily accessible by penetrators or moles (1-3 m), maximum optical ages greater than 600 ka are possible. Geochronology on this scale would include at least two stadial/interstadial cycles within Mars' last "Glacial Epoch" (synchronized insolation variations between the poles). A wide range of landforms and surface processes associated with climate variability -- e.g. outwash and lacustrine deposition, large-scale eolian activation -- could potentially be optically dated. At greater depths, that could be reached by mobile drilling rigs or cryobots (10-30m), optical age maximums of 4

  2. Cosmogenic Nuclides Study of Large Iron Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hutzler, A.; Smith, T.; Rochette, P.; Bourles, D. L.; Leya, I.; Gattacceca, J.

    2014-09-01

    Six large iron meteorites were selected (Saint-Aubin, Mont-Dieu, Caille, Morasko, Agoudal, and Gebel Kamil). We measured stable and radiogenic cosmogenic nuclides, to study pre-atmospheric size, cosmic-ray exposure ages and terrestrial ages.

  3. The Northwest Africa (NWA) 5790 meteorite: A mesostasis-rich nakhlite with little or no Martian aqueous alteration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomkinson, Tim; Lee, Martin R.; Mark, Darren F.; Dobson, Katherine J.; Franchi, Ian A.

    2015-02-01

    Northwest Africa (NWA) 5790 is the most recently discovered member of the nakhlite group. Its mineralogy differs from the other nakhlites with a high abundance mesostasis (38.1 ± 3.6 vol%) and scarcity of olivine (4.0 ± 2.2 vol%). Furthermore, zoning of augite phenocrysts, and other petrographic and chemical characteristics suggest that NWA 5790 samples the chilled margin of its parent lava flow/sill. NWA 5790 contains calcite and rare clay minerals that are evidence for its exposure to liquid water. The calcite forms a cement to coatings of dust on the outer surface of the find and extends into the interior of the meteorite within veins. The presence of microbial remains within the coating confirms that the dust and its carbonate cement are terrestrial in origin, consistent with the carbon and oxygen isotope composition of the calcite. The clay minerals are finely crystalline and comprise ~0.003 vol% of the meteorite. δD values of the clay minerals range from -212 ± 109‰ to -96 ± 132‰, and cannot be used to distinguish between a terrestrial or Martian origin. As petrographic results are also not definitive, we conclude that secondary minerals produced by Martian groundwaters are at best very rare within NWA 5790. The meteorite has therefore sampled a region of the lava flow/sill with little or no exposure to the aqueous solutions that altered other nakhlites. This isolation could relate to the scarcity of olivine in NWA 5790 because dissolution of olivine in other nakhlites by Martian groundwaters enhanced their porosity and permeability, and provided solutes for secondary minerals.

  4. Gypsum, jarosite, and hydrous iron-phosphate in Martian meteorite Roberts Massif 04262: Implications for sulfate geochemistry on Mars.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenwood, J. P.

    2008-12-01

    Gypsum has been identified on Mars by MEX OMEGA [1] and jarosite identified via MER-B lander [2] and both minerals are examples of the importance of calcium and iron sulfates in Martian weathering processes. The weathering of Martian basalt to form Ca and iron sulfates should be an important process on Mars. Martian jarosite has been identified in MIL 03346 [3] and Ca-sulfate has been identified in EETA 79001 [4], but both phases have yet to be identified in the same Martian sample. In Roberts Massif 04262, an olivine-phyric shergottite, iron-sulfide and calcium-phosphate minerals are undergoing reaction (dissolution and reprecipitation?) to form gypsum, jarosite, and an iron-phosphate phase, presumably during the meteorite's residence in Antarctica. If true, then an acidic and oxidizing fluid was present in this meteorite, due to the formation of jarosite which requires fluid of this type to form [5]. The weathering of iron-sulfides on Earth to form acidic and oxidizing fluids is common, thus this can be reconciled with the formation of an acidic fluid in a basic rock. Presumably, under more extensive weathering of silicate minerals in Martian basalt, the pH would be raised to values where jarosite would not be stable. While the weathering of RBT 04262 is likely occurring in Antarctica, a similar susceptibility of the apatite and pyrrhotite to incipient weathering on Mars may be expected. Oxidizing crustal fluids on Mars may attack iron- sulfides first in Martian basalts. The weathering of iron-sulfides leads to increasing acidity of fluids, which would enhance the dissolution of the calcium-phosphate minerals [6]. The formation of jarosite, gypsum, and iron-phosphate minerals during the early stages of weathering of Martian basalts may be an important process on Mars globally. [1] Gendrin, A. et al. (2005) Science, 307, 1587-1591. [2] Klingelhöfer et al. (2004) Science, 306, 1740- 1745. [3] Vicenzi E. P. et al. (2007) LPSC XXXVIII, Abstract 2335. [4] Gooding J

  5. What Were the Major Factors That Controlled Mineralogical Similarities and Differences of Basaltic, Lherzolitic and Clinopyroxentic Martian Meteorites Within Each Group

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mikouchi, T.; Miyamoto, M.; McKay, G. A.

    1998-01-01

    Twelve martian meteorites that have been re- covered so far are classified into five groups (basalt, lherzolite, clinopyroxenite, dunite, and orthopyroxenite) mainly from petrology and chemistry. Among them, the dunite and orthopyroxenite groups consist of only one meteorite each (dunite: Chassigny, orthopyroxenite: ALH 84001). The basalt group is the largest group and consists of four meteorites (Shergotty, Zagani, EETA 79001, and QUE 94201). The lherzolitic and clinopyroxenitic groups include three meteorites each (Lherzolite: ALH 77005, LEW 88516, and Y793605, clinopyroxenite: Nakhla, Governador Valadares, and Lafayette). These meteorites within each group are generally similar to the others, but none of them is paired with the others. In this abstract, we discuss the major factors that controlled mineralogical similarities and differences of basaltic, lherzolitic, and clinopyroxenitic meteorites within each group. This may help in understanding their petrogenesis and original locations on Mars in general.

  6. Identification of large (2-10 km) rayed craters on Mars in THEMIS thermal infrared images: Implications for possible Martian meteorite source regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tornabene, Livio L.; Moersch, Jeffrey E.; McSween, Harry Y.; McEwen, Alfred S.; Piatek, Jennifer L.; Milam, Keith A.; Christensen, Phillip R.

    2006-10-01

    Four definitive and three probable rayed craters have been identified on Mars using 100-m resolution thermal infrared images obtained by the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). These seven craters are similar to the previously discovered rayed crater Zunil and are best recognized by a distinct thermal contrast with respect to their surroundings. Martian rays, unlike their lunar counterparts, only exhibit minor contrasts in visible albedo. As a consequence, their presence on Mars most likely went unnoticed until substantial global coverage of THEMIS thermal infrared was achieved. Their presence has since been discerned in the coarser-resolution Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data set, which preceded THEMIS. Observations in visible images of the primary cavities, secondaries, and rays suggest that, like lunar ray counterparts, Martian rays are invariably young geomorphic features. Martian rays are typically greater than hundreds of kilometers in length and consist of numerous densely clustered secondary craters, and thereby are a physical manifestation of high-velocity ejecta. Spallation accounts for a small fraction of the high-velocity ejecta that experiences low-shock compression due to interference from the rarefaction wave with the free surface. Spallation is currently the favored mechanism responsible for ejecting meteorites from Mars and is likely responsible for some of the ray-forming secondaries. Additional observations and inferences based on Martian rayed craters are compared with current Martian meteorite delivery models and the Martian meteorites themselves. The correlations presented here suggest that Martian rayed craters are the most plausible candidate source craters for the Martian meteorites to date.

  7. Truncated Hexa-Octahedral Magnetite Crystals in Martian Meteorite ALH84001: Evidence of Biogenic Activity on Early Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K.; Clemett, S. J.; Schwartz, C.; McIntosh, J. R.; Bazylinski, D. A.; Kirschvink, J.; McKay, D. S.; Gibson, E. K.; Vali, H.; Romanek, C. S.

    2004-01-01

    The landmark paper by McKay et al. [1] cited four lines of evidence associated with the Martian meteorite ALH84001 to support the hypothesis that life existed on Mars approximately 4 Ga ago. Now, more than five years later, attention has focused on the ALH84001 magnetite grains embedded within carbonate globules in the ALH84001 meteorite. We have suggested that up to approx.25% of the ALH84001 magnetite crystals are products of biological activity [e.g., 2]. The remaining magnetites lack sufficient characteristics to constrain their origin. The papers of Thomas Keprta et al. were criticized arguing that the three dimensional structure of ALH84001 magnetite crystals can only be unambiguously determined using electron tomographic techniques. Clemett et al. [3] confirmed that magnetites produced by magnetotactic bacteria strain MV-I display a truncated hexa-octahedral geometry using electron tomography and validated the use of the multi-tilt classical transmission microscopy technique used by [2]. Recently the geometry of the purported martian biogenic magnetites was shown be identical to that for MV-1 magnetites using electron tomography [6].

  8. Smectite Formation in Gale Crater, Mars and in the Nakhlite Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridges, J.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Leveille, R. J.; Westall, F.; Wiens, R. C.; Mangold, N.; Bristow, T.; Edwards, P.

    2014-12-01

    Recent, detailed analyses of the nakhlite martian meteorites have enabled characterization of a ferric saponite and ferric serpentine (Hicks et al. 2014 10.1016/j.gca.2014.04.010). This nakhlite assemblage is part of a rapidly cooled, hydrothermal assemblage, cooled from ~150 oC, with the clay forming at ~50 oC (Bridges and Schwenzer 2012 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.09.044). Although there are differences between the overall secondary assemblage in the nakhlites and that identified in the Yellowknife Bay mudstones by CheMin (Vaniman et al. 2014 10.1126/science1243480), the trioctahedral iron-rich saponite is probably the closest analogue known to the smectite found in Gale Crater. MSL analysed mudstones at the Yellowknife Bay, deposited in a fluvio-lacustrine setting followed by diagenesis ~50 oC (Grotzinger et al. 2014 10.1126/science.1242777). The mineralogical information provides allows us to constrain mineral reactions, W/R, pH, and redox associated using thermochemical modelling, and comparisons to the nakhlites. We use a 2 stage fluid model, with an initial Deccan-type brine composition (Minissale et al. 2000 10.1016/S0012-821X(00)00200-4) which reacts with the known rock compositions - using ChemCam and APXS data to produce a pore fluid. CHIM-XPT was used for the modelling. Initial reaction of the early brine with olivine in the mudstone produces relatively Mg-rich phyllosilicate. This early diagenesis may correspond to the formation of Mg-Fe rich ridges (Leveille et al. 10.1002/2014JE004620). Subsequent reaction of the resultant fluid separated at a W/R of 100, produced a fluid that we then reacted with a range of different mineral and amorphous mixtures, T, W/R conditions. A mixture of 70% amorphous, 20% olivine, 10% host rock produced a clay-Fe oxide dominated assemblage, similar to that in Sheepbed. The clay has a similar composition to ferric saponite and gel in the nakhlites (Bridges et al. JGR, subm.).

  9. Hydrogeological Interpretation of Candidate Origin Sites for Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gulick, Virginia C.; McKay, Chris; Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. (Technical Monitor)

    1996-01-01

    Barlow (this meeting) has identified two potential source craters for the martian meteorite ALH84001. The craters are at 11.7 deg S, 243.3 deg W (Mare Tyrrhenum site) and 14.0 deg S, 343.5 deg W (Sinus Sabaeus site). As noted by Barlow, both craters lie in the heavily cratered terrain (HCT) and are adjacent to fluvial valleys, Here I explore the fluvial history of these areas based upon the surrounding valley morphology. The most prominent valley network at the Sabaeus site is Evros Vallis. This wide, flat-floored valley is approximately 600 km long with an average width of 2.5 km and a depth of 220 m. The eroded volume of the entire Evros network is approximately 6 x 10(exp 11) cc. This is typical for networks located in the heavily cratered terrain (e.g. Warrego and Parana Valles). Evros is also an isolated valley system. No similar networks are found in the surrounding terrain. Thus it is unlikely that Evros formed as a result of widespread rainfall. A localized water source, such as discharge of a hydrothermal system or localized melting of snowfall, seems more consistent Previous modeling has demonstrated that only hydrothermal systems associated with high permeability subsurfaces can discharge sufficient water to form a valley network. The bulk of the discharge from such systems is consequently low temperature, slightly heated water Precipitation of calcium carbonate by low temperature fluids is consistent with most interpretations of the geochemistry of ALH84001. Available imagery at the Tyrrhenum site is of lesser quality. While eroded units of the HCT are nearby, there are no comparable well developed valley networks at this site. Erosion is instead manifested predominantly as gullies on slopes. This style of erosion suggests that water was not present at this site for the length of time as at the more integrated Sabaeus site. The superposition of fluidized ejecta blankets suggests however that ground water or ground ice was still present at this locality

  10. Degradation studies of Martian impact craters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barlow, N. G.

    1991-01-01

    The amount of obliteration suffered by Martian impact craters is quantified by comparing measurable attributes of the current crater shape to those values expected for a fresh crater of identical size. Crater diameters are measured from profiles obtained using photoclinometry across the structure. The relationship between the diameter of a fresh crater and a crater depth, floor width, rim height, central peak height, etc. was determined by empirical studies performed on fresh Martian impact craters. We utilized the changes in crater depth and rim height to judge the degree of obliteration suffered by Martian impact craters.