Science.gov

Sample records for martian meteorites studied

  1. Martian Alteration in Unique Meteorite NWA 8159?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallis, L. J.; Simpson, S.; Mark, D.; Lee, M. R.

    2016-08-01

    This study aims to determine if the olivine alteration in martian meteorite NWA 8159 has a martian origin. If so, the unique nature of this meteorite presents evidence for aqueous processes at a new time and location on the martian surface.

  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. Mineralogical Study of Reddish Olivine in Dhofar 307 Lunar Meteorite: Comparison with Brown Olivine in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takenouchi, A.; Mikouchi, T.

    2016-08-01

    We compared reddish olivine in Dhofar 307 lunar meteorite to brown olivine in martian meteorites and indicate a possibility of its shock origin. This result suggests that olivine darkening may have widely occurred on the surface of large bodies.

  6. 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.

  7. An Adulterated Martian Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    1999-07-01

    Martian meteorite, Elephant Moraine EETA79001, is composed of two distinct rock types. Scientists have thought that both formed from magmas, hence are igneous rocks and contain important information about the interior of Mars, the nature of lava flows on its surface, and the timing of igneous events on Mars. All that is now open to question, as a group of investigators at Lockheed Martin Space Operations and the Johnson Space Center led by David Mittlefehldt (Lockheed) has shown that one of the rock types making up EETA79001, designated lithology A, is almost certainly a melted mixture of other rocks. Mittlefehldt and coworkers suggest that formation by impact melting is the most likely explanation for the chemical and mineralogical features seen in the rock. If confirmed by other investigations, this may change the way we view the igneous evolution of Mars.

  8. Silicate mineralogy of martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papike, J. J.; Karner, J. M.; Shearer, C. K.; Burger, P. V.

    2009-12-01

    Basalts and basaltic cumulates from Mars (delivered to Earth as meteorites) carry a record of the history of that planet - from accretion to initial differentiation and subsequent volcanism, up to recent times. We provide new microprobe data for plagioclase, olivine, and pyroxene from 19 of the martian meteorites that are representative of the six types of martian rocks. We also provide a comprehensive WDS map dataset for each sample studied, collected at a common magnification for easy comparison of composition and texture. The silicate data shows that plagioclase from each of the rock types shares similar trends in Ca-Na-K, and that K 2O/Na 2O wt% of plagioclase multiplied by the Al content of the bulk rock can be used to determine whether a rock is "enriched" or "depleted" in nature. Olivine data show that meteorite Y 980459 is a primitive melt from the martian mantle as its olivine crystals are in equilibrium with its bulk rock composition; all other olivine-bearing Shergottites have been affected by fractional crystallization. Pyroxene quadrilateral compositions can be used to isolate the type of melt from which the grains crystallized, and minor element concentrations in pyroxene can lend insight into parent melt compositions. In a comparative planetary mineralogy context, plagioclase from Mars is richer in Na than terrestrial and lunar plagioclase. The two most important factors contributing to this are the low activity of Al in martian melts and the resulting delayed nucleation of plagioclase in the crystallizing rock. Olivine from martian rocks shows distinct trends in Ni-Co and Cr systematics compared with olivine from Earth and Moon. The trends are due to several factors including oxygen fugacity, melt compositions and melt structures, properties which show variability among the planets. Finally, Fe-Mn ratios in both olivine and pyroxene can be used as a fingerprint of planetary parentage, where minerals show distinct planetary trends that may have been

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  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. Volatile trace elements in and cluster analysis of Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Ming-Sheng; Mokos, Jennifer A.; Lipschutz, Michael E.

    1998-07-01

    We report data for 15 mainly volatile trace elements (Ag, Au, Bi, Cd, Co, Cs, Ga, In, Rb, Sb, Se, Te, Tl, U, Zn) by radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA) in whole-rock samples of 5 martian meteorites which, with 7 others studied earlier, completes the 12-member martian meteorite suite. Nearly all of these elements exhibit highly variable compositional continua and are richer in the martian suite compared with other basaltic meteorites. From cluster analysis, we find that the clustering of subtypes based on these elements is virtually identical to that based on contents of major refractory elements and mineralogic/petrographic characteristics, implying that each source region on Mars was closed to volatile transport. Martian meteorite data can be used to infer volatile element contents in that planet.

  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.

  3. [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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Ancient Crustal Diversity Preserved within Martian Meteorite NWA 7034

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santos, A. R.; Agee, C. B.; McCubbin, F. M.; Shearer, C. K.; Burger, P. V.

    2014-12-01

    The martian meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 is a breccia containing a variety of igneous clasts and igneous derived mineral fragments suspended in a matrix of fine grained material. Igneous clasts were examined using electron probe microanalysis (major and minor element compositions), BSE images (modal mineralogy), and secondary ion mass spectrometry (REEs). The clasts contain minerals of similar composition to martian meteorites and surface rocks, although mineral abundances differ between these clasts and other martian rocks. The clasts vary in rock type and include basalt, andesite, trachyandesite, and an exotic phosphate and FeTi-oxide rich lithology that is more Fe-rich than Wishstone-class rocks analyzed by MER. Many of the basaltic clast compositions match those of Gusev Crater rocks, as well as the average composition of the martian crust determined from orbital data, providing a strong link between this meteorite and the martian crust. Furthermore, studies have shown the majority of igneous materials in this meteorite to be ~4.4 Ga (Yin et al., 2014; Nyquist et al., 2013, Tartèse et al., 2014); this suggests these clasts represent some of the earliest formed martian crust. The range in rock types contained within this meteorite suggest early Mars was capable of producing crust that was diverse in composition, chemically enriched, and oxidized (ΔFMQ +0.7 to +4), at least in local regions. The reason for the difference in chemistry between these ancient crustal rocks and the younger SNC meteorites remains to be determined, but the lithologic diversity recorded by NWA 7034 provides evidence for a petrologically diverse martian surface both spatially and temporally.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Volatile and other trace elements in Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Ming-Sheng; Mokos, Jennifer; Lipschutz, Michael E.

    1997-03-01

    We summarize RNAA data for 15 trace elements - U, Au, Co, Sb, Ga, Rb, Ag, Se, Cs, Te, Zn, Cd, Bi, Tl and In (in order of putative volatility during nebular condensation and accretion) - in 11 of the 12 known Martian meteorites. We have not yet measured Yamato 793605. Some shergottite data (Shergotty, Zagami, ALH A77005, EET A79001, LEW 88516) were published previously. Data for the six other Martian meteorites are new: the nakhlites and Chassigny samples studied were previously analyzed at NASA/JSC using INAA.

  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. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. SNC Meteorites and Martian Reservoirs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.

    2002-01-01

    The martian mantle is apparently heterogeneous, which opens the possibility that it is layered, with each layer convectively isolated. If this is correct, melt generation should occur either at thermal boundary layers or in plumes generated at those boundaries. Mantle layering may be a good means of slowing the planet's cooling rate, allowing young volcanism. Layering may also provide a means for keeping the crust and upper mantle cool, allowing the preservation of ancient variations in crustal thickness.

  19. 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

  20. Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

    2015-06-01

    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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

    2015-06-16

    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.

  3. A search for nitrates in Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1995-03-01

    Martian atmospheric nitrogen is highly enriched in N-15; nitrates formed by interaction of the atmosphere with the Martian regolith should therefore also be characterized by an elevated delta N-15 value. A search has been made for nitrates in two Martian meteorites, in order to determine the extent of possible regolith-atmosphere interaction. Shock-produced glass from the Elephant Moraine (EET) A79001 shergottite (E1,149) and a water-soluble extract from Nakhla were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and stepped combustion-stable isotope mass spectrometry. FTIR of both meteorites had features at 1375/cm and 1630/cm, consistent with nitrates. On account of their low thermal stability, nitrates break down at temperatures below 600 C; in this temperature range, E1,149 yeilded approximately 1250 ppb nitrogen with delta N-15 -8 +/- 5%. If this nitrogen is from a nitrate, then it cannot be distinquished from terrestial salts by its isotopic composition. The water-soluble extract from Nakhla also released nitrogen at low temperatures, approximately 17 ppb with delta N-15 approximately -11 +/- 4%. Since Nakhla is an observed 'fall', this is unlikely to be a terrestial weathering product. Nitrates apparently occur in E1,149 and Nakhla, but in very low abundance, and their origin is unclear. The isotopic composition of the salts, which is within the range of that proposed for Martian magmatic volatiles, is far removed from that of nitrogen in the present-day Martian atmosphere. If the nitrates are Martian in origin, they did not form in recent times from reactions involving atmospheric gases. Rather, the nitrates could be the result of an earlier episode of atmospheric interaction with the regolith, or with implantation of magmatic volatiles introduced during degassing.

  4. 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.

  5. Squeezing Meteorites to Reveal the Martian Mantle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    2006-12-01

    A piece of a Martian lava flow, Antarctic meteorite Yamato-980459, appears to represent the composition of a magma produced by partial melting of the Martian interior. That's the view of researchers Don Musselwhite, Walter Kiefer, and Allan Treiman (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston) and Heather Dalton (Arizona State University). Musselwhite and his colleagues determined that this basaltic Martian meteorite represented a primary melt from the mantle. This was an important discovery because magma produced inside a planet contains significant clues to the composition of the region of the interior in which it formed. The lava flows that decorate the surface of planets tell us about the mantle, the rocky region beneath the crust and above the metallic core. The researchers used apparatus at the Johnson Space Center to determine what minerals are present when samples with the composition of Y-980459 are heated to a range of temperatures and squeezed to a range of pressures like those that planetary scientists expect to exist in the interior of Mars. The results indicate that the magma represented by this special meteorite formed at a depth of about 100 kilometers and a temperature of about 1540 degrees C. From the high temperature and high ratio of magnesium to iron in the magma, Musselwhite and his colleagues infer that the amount of melting to produce the Y-980459 parent magma was high, which suggests that the temperature at the boundary between the metallic core and the rocky mantle was higher than previous estimates. This work gives us clues to the composition and dynamics of the Martian interior--all from a rock chipped off a lava flow on Mars and flung to Earth by an impact.

  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. 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.

  8. Martian meteorite Dhofar 019: A new shergottite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, L. A.; Nazarov, M. A.; Shearer, C. K.; McSween, H. Y., Jr.; Cahill, J.; Neal, C. R.; Ivanova, M. A.; Barsukova, L. D.; Lentz, R. C.; Clayton, R. N.; Mayeda, T. K.

    2002-08-01

    Dhofar 019 is a new martian meteorite found in the desert of Oman. In texture, mineralogy, and major and trace element chemistry, this meteorite is classified as a basaltic shergottite. Olivine megacrysts are set within a groundmass composed of finer grained olivine, pyroxene (pigeonite and augite), and maskelynite. Minor phases are chromite-ulvöspinel, ilmenite, silica, K-rich feldspar, merrillite, chlorapatite, and pyrrhotite. Secondary phases of terrestrial origin include calcite, gypsum, celestite, Fe hydroxides, and smectite. Dhofar 019 is most similar to the Elephant Moraine (EETA) 79001 lithology A and Dar al Gani (DaG) 476/489 shergottites. The main features that distinguish Dhofar 019 from other shergottites are lack of orthopyroxene; lower Ni contents of olivine; the heaviest oxygen-isotopic bulk composition; and larger compositional ranges for olivine, maskelynite, and spinel, as well as a wide range for pyroxenes. The large compositional ranges of the minerals are indicative of relatively rapid crystallization. Modeling of olivine chemical zonations yield minimum cooling rates of 0.5-0.8 ?C/h. Spinel chemistry suggests that crystallization took place under one of the most reduced conditions for martian meteorites, at an oxygen fugacity of 3 log units below the quartz-fayalite-magnetite (QFM) buffer. The olivine megacrysts are heterogeneously distributed in the rock. Crystal size distribution analysis suggests that they constitute a population formed under steady-state conditions of nucleation and growth, although a few grains may be cumulates. The parent melt is thought to have been derived from partial melting of a light rare earth element- and platinum group element-depleted mantle source. Shergottites, EETA79001 lithology A, DaG 476/489, and Dhofar 019, although of different ages, comprise a particular type of martian rocks. Such rocks could have formed from chemically similar source(s) and parent melt(s), with their bulk compositions affected by

  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. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  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. 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.

  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. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Tissint martian meteorite: a fresh look at the interior, surface, and atmosphere of Mars.

    PubMed

    Aoudjehane, H Chennaoui; Avice, G; Barrat, J-A; Boudouma, O; Chen, G; Duke, M J M; Franchi, I A; Gattacceca, J; Grady, M M; Greenwood, R C; Herd, C D K; Hewins, R; Jambon, A; Marty, B; Rochette, P; Smith, C L; Sautter, V; Verchovsky, A; Weber, P; Zanda, B

    2012-11-01

    Tissint (Morocco) is the fifth martian meteorite collected after it was witnessed falling to Earth. Our integrated mineralogical, petrological, and geochemical study shows that it is a depleted picritic shergottite similar to EETA79001A. Highly magnesian olivine and abundant glass containing martian atmosphere are present in Tissint. Refractory trace element, sulfur, and fluorine data for the matrix and glass veins in the meteorite indicate the presence of a martian surface component. Thus, the influence of in situ martian weathering can be unambiguously distinguished from terrestrial contamination in this meteorite. Martian weathering features in Tissint are compatible with the results of spacecraft observations of Mars. Tissint has a cosmic-ray exposure age of 0.7 ± 0.3 million years, consistent with those of many other shergottites, notably EETA79001, suggesting that they were ejected from Mars during the same event.

  4. Tissint martian meteorite: a fresh look at the interior, surface, and atmosphere of Mars.

    PubMed

    Aoudjehane, H Chennaoui; Avice, G; Barrat, J-A; Boudouma, O; Chen, G; Duke, M J M; Franchi, I A; Gattacceca, J; Grady, M M; Greenwood, R C; Herd, C D K; Hewins, R; Jambon, A; Marty, B; Rochette, P; Smith, C L; Sautter, V; Verchovsky, A; Weber, P; Zanda, B

    2012-11-01

    Tissint (Morocco) is the fifth martian meteorite collected after it was witnessed falling to Earth. Our integrated mineralogical, petrological, and geochemical study shows that it is a depleted picritic shergottite similar to EETA79001A. Highly magnesian olivine and abundant glass containing martian atmosphere are present in Tissint. Refractory trace element, sulfur, and fluorine data for the matrix and glass veins in the meteorite indicate the presence of a martian surface component. Thus, the influence of in situ martian weathering can be unambiguously distinguished from terrestrial contamination in this meteorite. Martian weathering features in Tissint are compatible with the results of spacecraft observations of Mars. Tissint has a cosmic-ray exposure age of 0.7 ± 0.3 million years, consistent with those of many other shergottites, notably EETA79001, suggesting that they were ejected from Mars during the same event. PMID:23065902

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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.

  10. Petrology of Martian meteorite Northwest Africa 998

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treiman, Allan H.; Irving, Anthony J.

    2008-05-01

    Nakhlite Northwest Africa (NWA) 998 is an augite-rich cumulate igneous rock with mineral compositions and oxygen isotopic composition consistent with an origin on Mars. This 456-gram, partially fusion-crusted meteorite consists of (by volume) ˜75% augite (core composition Wo39En39Fs22), ˜9% olivine (Fo35), ˜7% plagioclase (Ab61An35) as anhedra among augite and olivine, ˜3.5% low-calcium pyroxenes (pigeonite and orthopyroxene) replacing or forming overgrowths on olivine and augite, ˜1% titanomagnetite, and other phases including potassium feldspar, apatite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, ilmenite, and fine-grained mesostasis material. Minor secondary alteration materials include "iddingsite" associated with olivine (probably Martian), calcite crack fillings, and iron oxide/hydroxide staining (both probably terrestrial). Shock effects are limited to minor cataclasis and twinning in augite. In comparison to other nakhlites, NWA 998 contains more low-calcium pyroxenes and its plagioclase crystals are blockier. The large size of the intercumulus feldspars and the chemical homogeneity of the olivine imply relatively slow cooling and chemical equilibration in the late- and post-igneous history of this specimen, and mineral thermometers give subsolidus temperatures near 730 °C. Oxidation state was near that of the QFM buffer, from about QFM-2 in earliest crystallization to near QFM in late crystallization, and to about QFM + 1.5 in some magmatic inclusions. The replacement or overgrowth of olivine by pigeonite and orthopyroxene (with or without titanomagnetite), and the marginal replacement of augite by pigeonite, are interpreted to result from late-stage reactions with residual melts (consistent with experimental phase equilibrium relationships). Apatite is concentrated in planar zones separating apatite-free domains, which suggests that residual magma (rich in P and REE) was concentrated in planar (fracture?) zones and possibly migrated through them. Loss of late magma

  11. '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.

  12. 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).

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Martian Meteorites and Spacecraft Data: Synergy or Mismatch?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McSween, H. Y., Jr.

    2014-12-01

    Martian basaltic meteorites sample more sites than rovers have but, with only a few exceptions, they consist young (Amazonian) igneous rocks. Mars rovers mostly have sampled old (Late Hesperian) sedimentary rocks, although Gusev rocks analyzed by Spirit constitute the best-characterized igneous province on Mars. Because we have only one sedimentary meteorite - NWA 7034, a regolith breccia composed of igneous clasts - we will focus on comparing igneous rocks. Basaltic rocks analyzed so far on the planet's surface are more alkaline than the meteorites. Limited trace element ratios from rover APXS also indicate differences in composition from meteorites. Orbital geochemical and mineralogical data are generally consistent with a basaltic surface, showing localized exposures of sedimentary rocks. Compositional differences may arise from melting and fractionation at different depths, under different redox states, or with different water contents. The various data sets do show some linkages, however. Major mineral compositions are similar (and different from Earth), and rocks tend to be oxidized. Although no hydrous igneous minerals occur (except apatite), many parent magmas contained water that was mostly lost on ascent. It is surprising, then, that calc-alkaline rocks have not been found. Highly fractionated rocks are uncommon, but tephrites and mugearites occur in Gusev, Gale, and NWA 7034. Feldspathic rocks discovered by remote sensing and encountered at Gale are not yet understood. The geochemically distinct magmas represented by different classes of martian meteorites and surface rocks demonstrate that the mantle sources for magmas are heterogeneous. These differences are primary, likely inherited from a magma ocean, since there is no crustal recycling. With only one source of data (either meteoritic or spacecraft), we would have a greatly simplified and incorrect view of martian petrogenesis.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Formation and Evolution of Mars Inferred from Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borg, L. E.; Symes, S.

    2011-12-01

    The return of samples from Mars has been a long standing NASA objective that, if achieved, would dramatically change our view of the formation and evolution of the terrestrial planets, as well as the physical and chemical conditions in the solar system at the time when life formed on Earth. Significant insight into Mars has been gleaned from the >50 martian meteorites that have landed on Earth. These meteorites fall into 3 categories: First, 165 to 570 Ma basalts and basaltic cumulates, second 1.3 Ga clinopyroxenites and dunites, and third a >4 Ga orthopyroxenite. The basaltic meteorites form a continuum between those with geochemical and isotopic characteristics indicating derivation from depleted and enriched sources. This is most easily explained as mixing between a depleted mantle reservoir and a poorly constrained enriched reservoir in the mantle or crust. Like some basalts. the clinopyroxenites/dunites are slightly enriched in incompatible elements relative to chondrites, but cannot be related to the basaltic meteorites by any simple process. This is most clearly supported by their vastly different short-lived isotopic compositions (e.g. 182W and 142Nd) compared to the basalts. Although all samples have undergone some low temperature alteration on Mars, the orthopyroxenite has undergone significantly more. These observations led to several fundamental conclusions: (1) the young ages indicate the planet is geologically active at present, (2) non-chondritic 182W and 142Nd suggest core formation and silicate differentiation occurred <5 Ma and <25Ma after CAIs, respectively, (3) preservation of isotopic anomalies in short-lived isotopic systems requires geochemical reservoirs on Mars to remain isolated for much of Mars history, (4) basalt geochemical relationships indicate these reservoirs mixed recently during basalt genesis and that these samples are closely related, and (5) water based alteration present in the meteorites occurred throughout martian history

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. 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.

  12. Water in SNC meteorites: evidence for a martian hydrosphere.

    PubMed

    Karlsson, H R; Clayton, R N; Gibson, E K; Mayeda, T K

    1992-03-13

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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].

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-08-01

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. (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

  16. 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).

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Martian Meteorite Chronology and Effects of Impact Metamorphism (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouvier, A.; Blichert-Toft, J.; Albarede, F.

    2009-12-01

    Martian (SNC) meteorites provide important clues to processes of alteration or shock at the surface of the planet as many of them contain secondary phases and/or high-pressure assemblages, which are the products of aqueous alteration and impact events, respectively. They include gabbros (shergottites), pyroxenites (nakhlites), and dunites (chassignites), and a single orthopyroxenite, ALH 84001. Pb-Pb isotope systematics of Martian meteorites favor three groups of formation ages: 4.3 Ga for depleted shergottites, 4.1 Ga for ALH 84001 and intermediate and enriched shergottites, and 1.3 Ga for nakhlites and Chassigny [1]. This contrasts with the young mineral isochron ages obtained by Ar-Ar dating or phosphate-based chronometers (e.g., U-Pb, Sm-Nd). In addition to Pb-Pb isotope systematics [1], we have obtained preliminary Sm-Nd and Lu-Hf mineral isochron data for the shergottite NWA 480 and find an age of ~345 Ma in contrast to its ~4.1 Ga Pb-Pb age. For the nakhlites MIL 03346 and Yamato-000593, we find Sm-Nd and Lu-Hf ages at ~1335 Ma, consistent with their ~1.3 Ga Pb-Pb age. Hence, all shergottites unambiguously show evidence of resetting events, which is not the case for nakhlites. We interpret the young ages indicated by shergottite Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Lu-Hf, and U-Pb internal isochrons as recent resetting by fluids, impacts, or both. Internal isochrons date the last closure, whether initial cooling or late resetting, of the chronometric system in coexisting minerals. Problems arise in part because the carriers of the parent and daughter nuclides have been wrongly assigned to major rather than accessory minerals, and in part because, with the exception of the Pb-Pb chronometer, the rock samples have been strongly leached and, hence, the parent and daughter nuclides became fractionated in the process. The Rb-Sr, U-Pb, Sm-Nd, and Lu-Hf mineral isochrons of shergottites show young age clusters around 180, 350, 475, and 575 Ma. Each cluster of young mineral isochron ages

  20. 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.

  1. Electron Microscopy Studies, Surface Analysis and Microbial Culturing Experiments on a Depth Profile Through Martian Meteorite Nakhla

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Toporski, J. K. W.; Steele, A.; Westall, F.; Griffin, C.; Whitby, C.; Avci, R.; McKay, D. S.

    2000-01-01

    Combined electron microscopy studies and culturing experiments have shown that Nakhla became contaminated with recent terrestrial microorganisms. Additional surface analysis detected an as yet unknown organic species which may represent a biomarker.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 δ 34S for a SNC group meteorite (Shergotty) of -0.5 ± 1.5‰. Here, we report the first martian δ 34S values from individual sulfide grains. Using newly developed ion microprobe techniques, we were able to determine δ 34S of the pyrite in ALH84001 with a 1 a precision of better than ±0.5‰. The δ 34S values for the pyrite range from +4.8 to +7.8‰. Within the stated uncertainties, the pyrite from ALH84001 exhibits a real variability in δ 34S in this alteration assemblage. In addition, these sulfides are demonstrably enriched in 34S relative to Canon Diablo troilite and sulfides from most other meteorites. This signature implies that the planetary body represented by ALH84001 experienced processes capable of fractionating sulphur isotopes and that hydrothermal conditions changed during pyrite precipitation (T, pH, fluid composition, etc.). The fractionated signature of the sulphur in the pyrite is most likely attributed to either conditions of pyrite precipitation (low temperature, reduced (low fo 2) and moderately alkaline (pH > 8) environment) or enrichment of fluids in 34S by surface processes (weathering or impact processes) prior to precipitation. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Fractionated (Martian) Noble Gases — EFA, Experiments and Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwenzer, S. P.; Barnes, G.; Bridges, J. C.; Bullock, M. A.; Chavez, C. L.; Filiberto, J.; Herrmann, S.; Hicks, L. J.; Kelley, S. P.; Miller, M. A.; Moore, J. M.; Ott, U.; Smith, H. D.; Steer, E. D.; Swindle, T. D.; Treiman, A. H.

    2016-08-01

    Noble gases are tracers for physical processes, including adsorption, dissolution and secondary mineral formation. We examine the Martian fractionated atmosphere through literature, terrestrial analogs and experiments.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. (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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. An assessment of the meteoritic contribution to the Martian soil

    SciTech Connect

    Flynn, G.J. ); McKay, D.S. )

    1990-08-30

    The addition of meteoritic material to the Mars soils should perturb their chemical compositions, as has been detected for soils on the Moon and sediments on Earth. Using the measured mass influx at Earth and estimates of the Mars/Earth flux ratio, the authors estimate the continuous, planet-wide meteoritic mass influx on Mars to be between 2,700 and 59,000 t/yr. If distributed uniformly into a soil with a mean planetary production rate of 1 m/b.y., consistent with radar estimates of the soil depth overlaying a bouldered terrain in the Tharsis region, their estimated mass influx would produce a meteoritic concentration in the Mars soil ranging from 2 to 29% by mass. Analysis of the Viking X ray fluorescence data indicates that the Mars soil composition is inconsistent with typical basaltic rock fragments but can be fit by a mixture of 60% basaltic rock fragments and 40% meteoritic material. The meteoritic influx they calculate is sufficient to provide most or all of the material required by the Clark and Baird model. Particles in the mass range from 10{sup {minus}7} to 10{sup {minus}3} g, about 60-1,200 {mu}m in diameter, contribute 80% of the total mass flux of meteoritic material in the 10{sup {minus}13} to 10{sup 6} g mass range at Earth. On Earth atmospheric entry all but the smallest particles (generally {le} 50 {mu}m in diameter) in the 10{sup {minus}7} to 10{sup {minus}3} g mass range are heated sufficiently to melt or vaporize. Mars, because of its lower escape velocity and larger atmospheric scale height, is a much more favorable site for unmelted survival of micrometeorites on atmospheric deceleration. They calculate that a significant fraction of particles throughout the 60-1,200 {mu}m diameter range will survive Mars atmospheric entry unmelted.

  7. Ultraviolet-radiation-induced methane emissions from meteorites and the Martian atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Keppler, Frank; Vigano, Ivan; McLeod, Andy; Ott, Ulrich; Früchtl, Marion; Röckmann, Thomas

    2012-06-01

    Almost a decade after methane was first reported in the atmosphere of Mars there is an intensive discussion about both the reliability of the observations--particularly the suggested seasonal and latitudinal variations--and the sources of methane on Mars. Given that the lifetime of methane in the Martian atmosphere is limited, a process on or below the planet's surface would need to be continuously producing methane. A biological source would provide support for the potential existence of life on Mars, whereas a chemical origin would imply that there are unexpected geological processes. Methane release from carbonaceous meteorites associated with ablation during atmospheric entry is considered negligible. Here we show that methane is produced in much larger quantities from the Murchison meteorite (a type CM2 carbonaceous chondrite) when exposed to ultraviolet radiation under conditions similar to those expected at the Martian surface. Meteorites containing several per cent of intact organic matter reach the Martian surface at high rates, and our experiments suggest that a significant fraction of the organic matter accessible to ultraviolet radiation is converted to methane. Ultraviolet-radiation-induced methane formation from meteorites could explain a substantial fraction of the most recently estimated atmospheric methane mixing ratios. Stable hydrogen isotope analysis unambiguously confirms that the methane released from Murchison is of extraterrestrial origin. The stable carbon isotope composition, in contrast, is similar to that of terrestrial microbial origin; hence, measurements of this signature in future Mars missions may not enable an unambiguous identification of biogenic methane.

  8. Ultraviolet-radiation-induced methane emissions from meteorites and the Martian atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Keppler, Frank; Vigano, Ivan; McLeod, Andy; Ott, Ulrich; Früchtl, Marion; Röckmann, Thomas

    2012-06-01

    Almost a decade after methane was first reported in the atmosphere of Mars there is an intensive discussion about both the reliability of the observations--particularly the suggested seasonal and latitudinal variations--and the sources of methane on Mars. Given that the lifetime of methane in the Martian atmosphere is limited, a process on or below the planet's surface would need to be continuously producing methane. A biological source would provide support for the potential existence of life on Mars, whereas a chemical origin would imply that there are unexpected geological processes. Methane release from carbonaceous meteorites associated with ablation during atmospheric entry is considered negligible. Here we show that methane is produced in much larger quantities from the Murchison meteorite (a type CM2 carbonaceous chondrite) when exposed to ultraviolet radiation under conditions similar to those expected at the Martian surface. Meteorites containing several per cent of intact organic matter reach the Martian surface at high rates, and our experiments suggest that a significant fraction of the organic matter accessible to ultraviolet radiation is converted to methane. Ultraviolet-radiation-induced methane formation from meteorites could explain a substantial fraction of the most recently estimated atmospheric methane mixing ratios. Stable hydrogen isotope analysis unambiguously confirms that the methane released from Murchison is of extraterrestrial origin. The stable carbon isotope composition, in contrast, is similar to that of terrestrial microbial origin; hence, measurements of this signature in future Mars missions may not enable an unambiguous identification of biogenic methane. PMID:22678286

  9. 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.

  10. In Situ Mars Compositions Determined by Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometry (APXS): Overview and Comparison with Martian Meteorite Dataset

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, L. M.; Gellert, R.; Spray, J. G.; Schmidt, M. E.; Izawa, M.; MSL APXS Team

    2016-08-01

    APXS instruments have flown on every rover mission to Mars. This work provides an overview of the diverse in situ chemistry encountered, with emphasis on MSL Curiosity mission results, and compares this with the martian meteorite data set.

  11. The Noble Gas Concentration of the Martian Meteorites GRV 99027 and NWA 7906/NWA 7907 (Paired with NWA 7034)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stephenson, P. C.; Leya, I.

    2016-08-01

    We report the noble gas inventory and cosmic ray exposure (CRE) ages for three martian meteorites: Grove Mountains 99027 (a shergottite), Northwest Africa 7906, and Northwest Africa 7907 (both basaltic breccias paired with NWA 7034).

  12. 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.

  13. 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 Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dalton, J. Brad; Bishop, Janice L.

    2003-01-01

    Imaging spectroscopy is a powerful tool for mineral detection across broad spatial regions. A prototype micro-imaging spectrometer at NASA Ames is tested in this study on a scale of tens to hundreds of microns across rock surfaces. Initial measurements were performed in the visible spectral region on a thin section of martian meteorite ALH 84001.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Chalcophile Elements in Martian Meteorites Indicate a Low Sulfur Content in the Martian Interior

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Z.; Becker, H.

    2016-08-01

    Fractionation of chalcophile elements shows that the parent magmas of SNC meteorites formed and evolved at sulfide undersaturated conditions. The Mars has low sulfur contents in the mantle and the core.

  5. 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.

  6. 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+).

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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 (

  1. 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 (

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. A model composition for Mars derived from the oxygen isotopic ratios of martian/SNC meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delaney, J. S.

    1994-07-01

    Oxygen is the most abundant element in most meteorites, yet the ratios of its isotopes are seldom used to constrain the compositional history of achondrites. The two major achondrite groups have O isotope signatures that differ from any plausible chondritic precursors and lie between the ordinary and carbonaceous chondrite domains. If the assumption is made that the present global sampling of chondritic meteorites reflects the variability of O reservoirs at the time of planetessimal/planet aggregation in the early nebula, then the O in these groups must reflect mixing between known chondritic reservoirs. This approach, in combination with constraints based on Fe-Mn-Mg systematics, has been used previously to model the composition of the basaltic achondrite parent body (BAP) and provides a model precursor composition that is generally consistent with previous eucrite parent body (EPB) estimates. The same approach is applied to Mars exploiting the assumption that the SNC and related meteorites sample the martian lithosphere. Model planet and planetesimal compositions can be derived by mixing of known chondritic components using O isotope ratios as the fundamental compositional constraint. The major- and minor-element composition for Mars derived here and that derived previously for the basaltic achondrite parent body are, in many respects, compatible with model compositions generated using completely independent constraints. The role of volatile elements and alkalis in particular remains a major difficulty in applying such models.

  2. 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].

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Geochronology of the Martian meteorite Zagami revealed by U-Pb ion probe dating of accessory minerals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Qin; Herd, Christopher D. K.; Yin, Qing-Zhu; Li, Xian-Hua; Wu, Fu-Yuan; Li, Qiu-Li; Liu, Yu; Tang, Guo-Qiang; McCoy, Timothy J.

    2013-07-01

    The precise chronology of geological events on Mars is hampered by the lack of absolute ages for the Martian timescale, and the significant uncertainties that result from the extrapolation of the lunar timescale to Mars (Hartmann and Neukum, 2001). Martian meteorites represent the only samples of Mars currently available. Attempts to identify source craters for the meteorites have thus far proven inconclusive (Hamilton et al., 2003; Lang et al., 2009; Mouginis-Mark and Boyce, 2012>), precluding their use in constraining the absolute Martian timescale. The majority of the known Martian meteorites are basalts ("shergottites"); all dated shergottites have mineral separate (Rb-Sr or Sm-Nd) ages of <600 Ma (Borg et al., 2005). Here we report a 238U/206Pb age of 182.7±6.9 Ma by ion microprobe analysis of baddeleyite (ZrO2) grains in the Zagami shergottite. There is no correlation between discordancy and baddeleyite grain location relative to shock metamorphism. Mineral petrography demonstrates that baddeleyite is the result of late-stage igneous crystallization, and Raman spectroscopy shows that baddeleyite has not been transformed by shock into preservable high-pressure polymorphs. Supported by an age of 153±81 Ma for phosphate grains, obtained using the same method, we conclude that Zagami crystallized at ~180 Ma, in agreement with previous results from mineral separate geochronology. Therefore, the shergottites represent igneous rocks preferentially ejected from young terrains on Mars in a small number of ejection events.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Symes, Steven J. K.; Borg, Lars E.; Shearer, Charles K.; Irving, Anthony J.

    2008-03-01

    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 347 ± 13 Ma and an ɛNd143 value of +40.1 ± 0.9. Maskelynite fractions do not lie on the Sm-Nd isochron and appear to contain a martian surface component with low 147Sm/ 144Nd and 143Nd/ 144Nd 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 87Sr/ 86Sr ratio of 0.7016 is estimated by passing a 347 Ma reference line through the maskelynite fraction that is least affected by contamination. The high initial ɛNd143 value and the low initial 87Sr/ 86Sr 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 similar 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 and 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 meteorites is modeled with the MELTS algorithm using the bulk composition of Yamato 980459 as a parent. These

  1. 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.

  2. Shock-Induced Phase Transitions in the Martian Meteorite Tissint: Mechanisms and Constraints on Shock Pressure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, T. G.; Hu, J.; Walton, E. L.

    2013-12-01

    Martian meteorites are important samples for understanding the origin and age of the Martian crust. All of these samples have been shocked to some degree during their ejection from Mars or earlier. Tissint, a picritic shergottite, has many high-pressure phases that have been used to constrain shock conditions and suggest a deep crustal origin [1] and to argue for multiple impact events [2]. Here we investigate the products and mechanisms of various olivine transformation reactions. Olivine in and adjacent to shock-melt veins and pockets is transformed into high-pressure minerals. In the hottest parts of the sample, olivine dissociated into 50-nm crystals of magnesiowüstite intergrown with either a pyroxene-composition glass or with low-Ca clinopyroxene. In both cases, the olivine is inferred to have transformed to silicate perovskite + magnesiowüstite during shock with subsequent breakdown of the perovskite after pressure release. Olivine along the margins of shock veins transformed into ringwoodite. Polycrystalline ringwoodite formed at the olivine-melt interface wheras coherent ringwoodite lamellae formed farther from the melt. These ringwoodite lamellae have the same topotaxial relationship to olivine as seen in static high-pressure experiments [3] and shocked meteorites [4]: (100)Ol || {111}Rw and [011]Ol || <110>Rw. The various olivine reactions can be explained by a single shock to above 24 GPa where only the highest temperatures allowed the dissociation of olivine to silicate-perovskite plus magnesiowüstite. The silicate perovskite in the melt pocket transformed to pyroxene because the melt pocket remained very hot after pressure release. At lower temperatures, the kinetically easier polymorphic transformation of olivine to metastable ringwoodite occurred. At the lowest temperatures, this reaction was facilitated by nucleation of ringwoodite lamellae on stacking faults in olivine. The variation in assemblages that we see are consistent with a single shock

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Constraints on the Martian cratering rate imposed by the SNC meteorites and Vallis Marineris layered deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandenburg, J. E.

    Following two independent lines of evidence -- estimates of the age and formation time of a portion of the Martian geologic column exposed in the layered deposits and the crystallization and ejection ages of the SNC meteorites -- it appears that the Martian cratering rate must be double the lunar rate or even higher. This means models such as NHII or NHIII (Neukum and Hiller models II and III), which estimate the Martian cratering rate as being several times lunar are probably far closer to reality on Mars than lunar rates. The effect of such a shift is profound: Mars is transformed from a rather Moon-like place into a planet with vigorous dynamics, multiple large impacts, erosion, floods, and volcanism throughout its history. A strong shift upward in cratering rates on Mars apparently solves some glaring problems; however, it creates others. The period of time during which Earth-like atmospheric conditions existed, the liquid water era on Mars, persists in NHIII up to only 0.5 b.y. ago. Scenarios of extended Earth-like conditions on Mars have been discounted in the past because they would have removed many of the craters from the early bombardment era found in the south. It does appear that some process of crater removal was quite vigorous in the north during Mars' past. Evidence exists that the northern plains may have been the home of long-lived seas or perhaps even a paleo-ocean, so models exist for highly localized destruction of craters in the north. However, the question of how the ancient crater population could be preserved in the south under a long liquid-water era found in any high-cratering-rate models is a serious question that must be addressed. It does appear to be a higher-order problem because it involves low-energy dynamics acting in localized areas, i.e., erosion of craters in the south of Mars, whereas the two problems with the low-cratering-rate models involve high-energy events acting over large areas: the formation of the Vallis Marineris

  6. A new Martian meteorite from Morocco: the nakhlite North West Africa 817

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sautter, V.; Barrat, J. A.; Jambon, A.; Lorand, J. P.; Gillet, Ph.; Javoy, M.; Joron, J. L.; Lesourd, M.

    2002-02-01

    North West Africa (NWA 817) is a single stone of 104 g found in the Sahara (Morocco) by meteorite hunters in November 2000. The meteorite is an unbrecciated, medium-grained olivine-bearing clinopyroxenite with a cumulate texture. It consists of zoned euhedral subcalcic augite (Wo 42En 38-22Fs 20-36), olivine spanning a wide range of compositions (from Fa 56 in the core to Fa 86) with rare magmatic inclusions and an intercumulus mesostasis made of Fe-bearing albitic plagioclase, Si-rich glass, Ti-magnetite with unusual skeletal growth morphologies containing ilmenite exsolutions, acicular pyroxene, olivine and cristobalite. Trace minerals are sulfide droplets and Cl-apatite. Mineral modes (in vol%) are augite 69%, olivine 10%, mesostasis 20% and Fe-Ti oxides 1%. Pervasive alteration produced a reddish clay mineral (hydrous ferrous silicate) in both olivine crystals and the mesostasis. The major element composition of NWA 817 is very similar to that of the other nakhlites: high FeO, MgO and CaO concentrations reflect the abundance of cumulus augite and olivine. Key element ratios such as FeO/MnO (=37), Na/Al (=0.40), K/La (=449), Ga/Al (=3.9×10 -4) and oxygen isotopic composition (Δ 17O=+0.37‰) are clear evidence for a Martian origin. The incompatible trace element pattern as in Nakhla displays a strong light rare earth element enrichment relative to chondrite (La n/Yb n=4.89). However, when compared to the other nakhlites, NWA 817 has specific features: (1) a higher modal proportion of mesostasis; (2) quench textures of Ti-magnetite and Fe-rich clinopyroxene; (3) more Mg-rich olivine core compositions whereas the augite core composition is identical for all nakhlites; (4) a stronger Fe enrichment toward crystal rims of these cumulus minerals. The intercumulus minerals (Ti-magnetite with skeletal growth morphology, acicular chains of clinopyroxene and Fe 3+-rich feldspar) indicate rapid crystallization in response to a high degree of undercooling at the end of

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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].

  11. 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.).

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gulick, V. C.

    1996-09-01

    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 6x 10(11) m(3) . 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 sub-surfaces 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

  13. A model composition for Mars derived from the oxygen isotopic ratios of martian/SNC meteorites. [Abstract only

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Delaney, J. S.

    1994-01-01

    Oxygen is the most abundant element in most meteorites, yet the ratios of its isotopes are seldom used to constrain the compositional history of achondrites. The two major achondrite groups have O isotope signatures that differ from any plausible chondritic precursors and lie between the ordinary and carbonaceous chondrite domains. If the assumption is made that the present global sampling of chondritic meteorites reflects the variability of O reservoirs at the time of planetessimal/planet aggregation in the early nebula, then the O in these groups must reflect mixing between known chondritic reservoirs. This approach, in combination with constraints based on Fe-Mn-Mg systematics, has been used previously to model the composition of the basaltic achondrite parent body (BAP) and provides a model precursor composition that is generally consistent with previous eucrite parent body (EPB) estimates. The same approach is applied to Mars exploiting the assumption that the SNC and related meteorites sample the martian lithosphere. Model planet and planetesimal compositions can be derived by mixing of known chondritic components using O isotope ratios as the fundamental compositional constraint. The major- and minor-element composition for Mars derived here and that derived previously for the basaltic achondrite parent body are, in many respects, compatible with model compositions generated using completely independent constraints. The role of volatile elements and alkalis in particular remains a major difficulty in applying such models.

  14. Evidence of martian perchlorate, chlorate, and nitrate in Mars meteorite EETA79001: Implications for oxidants and organics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kounaves, Samuel P.; Carrier, Brandi L.; O'Neil, Glen D.; Stroble, Shannon T.; Claire, Mark W.

    2014-02-01

    The results from the Viking mission in the mid 1970s provided evidence that the martian surface contained oxidants responsible for destroying organic compounds. In 2008 the Phoenix Wet Chemistry Lab (WCL) found perchlorate (ClO4-) in three soil samples at concentrations from 0.5 to 0.7 wt%. The detection of chloromethane (CH3Cl) and dichloromethane (CH2Cl2) by the Viking pyrolysis gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) may have been a result of ClO4- at that site oxidizing either terrestrial organic contaminates or, if present, indigenous organics. Recently, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity directly measured the presence of CH3Cl, CH2Cl2 and, along with measurements of HCl and oxygen, indirectly indicate the presence of ClO4-. However, except for Phoenix, no other direct measurement of the ClO4- anion in martian soil or rock has been made. We report here ion chromatographic (IC) and isotopic analyses of a unique sawdust portion of the martian meteorite EETA79001 that show the presence by mass of 0.6 ± 0.1 ppm ClO4-, 1.4 ± 0.1 ppm ClO3-, and 16 ± 0.2 ppm NO3- at a quantity and location within the meteorite that is difficult to reconcile with terrestrial contamination. The sawdust sample consists of basaltic material with a minor salt-rich inclusion in a mass ratio of ∼300:1, thus the salts may be 300 times more concentrated within the inclusion than the whole sample. The molar ratios of NO3-:ClO4- and Cl:ClO4-, are very different for EETA79001 at ∼40:1 and 15:1, respectively, than the Antarctic soils and ice near where the meteorite was recovered at ∼10,000:1 and 5000:1, respectively. In addition, the isotope ratios for EETA79001 with δ15N = -10.48 ± 0.32‰ and δ18O = +51.61 ± 0.74‰ are significantly different from that of the nearby Miller Range blue ice with δ15N = +102.80 ± 0.14‰ and δ18O = +43.11 ± 0.64‰. This difference is notable, because if the meteorite had been

  15. The chlorine isotope composition of Martian meteorites 2. Implications for the early solar system and the formation of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, Zachary; Williams, Jeffrey; Shearer, Charles; Agee, Carl; McKeegan, Kevin

    2016-01-01

    We determined the chlorine isotope composition of 16 Martian meteorites using gas source mass spectrometry on bulk samples and in situ secondary ion microprobe analysis on apatite grains. Measured δ37Cl values range from -3.8 to +8.6‰. The olivine-phyric shergottites are the isotopically lightest samples, with δ37Cl mostly ranging from -4 to -2‰. Samples with evidence for a crustal component have positive δ37Cl values, with an extreme value of 8.6‰. Most of the basaltic shergottites have intermediate δ37Cl values of -1 to 0‰, except for Shergotty, which is similar to the olivine-phyric shergottites. We interpret these data as due to mixing of a two-component system. The first component is the mantle value of -4 to -3‰. This most likely represents the original bulk Martian Cl isotope value. The other endmember is a 37Cl-enriched crustal component. We speculate that preferential loss of 35Cl to space has resulted in a high δ37Cl value for the Martian surface, similar to what is seen in other volatile systems. The basaltic shergottites are a mixture of the other two endmembers. The low δ37Cl value of primitive Mars is different from Earth and most chondrites, both of which are close to 0‰. We are not aware of any parent-body process that could lower the δ37Cl value of the Martian mantle to -4 to -3‰. Instead, we propose that this low δ37Cl value represents the primordial bulk composition of Mars inherited during accretion. The higher δ37Cl values seen in many chondrites are explained by later incorporation of 37Cl-enriched HCl-hydrate.

  16. Water-extractable and exchangeable phosphate in Martian and carbonaceous chondrite meteorites and in planetary soil analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mautner, Michael N.; Sinaj, Sokrat

    2002-09-01

    solutions with high phosphate concentrations can form in the pores of planetary lava ash and basalts and in carbonaceous asteroids and meteorites. These solutions can help prebiotic synthesis and early microbial nutrition. The Martian and carbonaceous chondrite materials contain sufficient phosphate for space-based agriculture.

  17. Ion microprobe measurements of 18O/ 16O ratios of phosphate minerals in the Martian meteorites ALH84001 and Los Angeles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenwood, James P.; Blake, Ruth E.; Coath, Christopher D.

    2003-06-01

    Oxygen isotope ratios of merrillite and chlorapatite in the Martian meteorites ALH84001 and Los Angeles have been measured by ion microprobe in multicollector mode. δ 18O values of phosphate minerals measured in situ range from ˜3 to 6‰, and are similar to Martian meteorite whole-rock values, as well as the δ 18O of igneous phosphate on Earth. These results suggest that the primary, abiotic, igneous phosphate reservoir on Mars is similar in oxygen isotopic composition to the basaltic phosphate reservoir on Earth. This is an important first step in the characterization of Martian phosphate reservoirs for the use of δ 18O of phosphate minerals as a biomarker for life on Mars. Cumulative textural, major-element, and isotopic evidence presented here suggest a primary, igneous origin for the phosphates in Los Angeles and ALH84001; textural and chemical evidence suggests that phosphates in ALH84001 were subsequently shock-melted in a later event.

  18. Reassessing the cooling rate and geologic setting of Martian meteorites MIL 03346 and NWA 817

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richter, Frank; Chaussidon, Marc; Mendybaev, Ruslan; Kite, Edwin

    2016-06-01

    Lithium concentration and isotopic fractionation profiles across augite grains from two Martian meteorites - MIL 03346 and NWA 817 - were used to determine their thermal history and implications for their geologic setting. The iron-magnesium zoning and associated magnesium isotopic fractionation of olivine grains from NWA 817 were also measured and provide a separate estimate of the cooling rate. The observed correlation of concentration with isotopic fractionation provides the essential evidence that the zoning of these grains was in fact due to diffusion and thus can be used as a measure of their cooling rate. The diffusion rate of lithium in augite depends on the oxygen fugacity, which has to be taken into account when determining a cooling rate based on the lithium zoning. The Fe-Mg exchange in olivine is much less sensitive to oxygen fugacity, but it is significantly anisotropic and for this reason we determined the direction relative to crystallographic axes of the line along which the Fe-Mg zoning was measured. We found that the cooling rate of NWA 817 determined from the lithium zoning in augite grains and that based on the Fe-Mg zoning of olivines are in good agreement at an oxygen fugacity close to that of quartz-fayalite-magnetite oxygen buffer. The cooling rate of MIL 03346 was found to be resolvably faster than that of NWA 817 - of the order of 1 °C/h for the former and of the order of 0.2 °C/h for the latter. An important observation regarding the history of MIL 03346 and NWA 817 is that the lithium and Fe-Mg zoning are only observed where the augite or olivine is in contact with the mesostasis, which implies that they were already about 80% crystallized at the time diffusion began. The augite and olivine core compositions while very homogeneous are not in equilibrium with each other, which we interpret to imply that prior to the rapid cooling there must have been a protracted period of the order of years above the solidus, during which the much

  19. Meteorites on Mars as Planetary Research Tools with Special Considerations for Martian Weathering Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashley, James Warren

    2011-09-01

    The occurrence of exogenic, meteoritic materials on the surface of any world presents opportunities to explore a variety of significant problems in the planetary sciences. In the case of Mars, meteorites found on its surface may help to (1) constrain atmospheric conditions during their time of arrival; (2) provide insights into possible variabilities in meteoroid type sampling between Mars and Earth space environments; (3) aid in our understanding of soil, dust, and sedimentary rock chemistry; (4) assist with the calibration of crater-age dating techniques; and (5) provide witness samples for chemical and mechanical weathering processes. The presence of reduced metallic iron in approximately 88 percent of meteorite falls renders the majority of meteorites particularly sensitive to oxidation by H2O interaction. This makes them excellent markers for H2O occurrence. Several large meteorites have been discovered at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs). Significant morphologic characteristics interpretable as weathering features in the Meridiani suite of iron meteorites include a (1) large pit lined with delicate iron protrusions suggestive of inclusion removal by corrosive interaction; (2) differentially eroded kamacite and taenite lamellae on three of the meteorites, providing relative timing through cross-cutting relationships with deposition of (3) an iron oxide-rich dark coating; and (4) regmaglypted surfaces testifying to regions of minimal surface modification; with other regions in the same meteorites exhibiting (5) large-scale, cavernous weathering. Iron meteorites found by Mini-TES at both Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater have prompted laboratory experiments designed to explore elements of reflectivity, dust cover, and potential oxide coatings on their surfaces in the thermal infrared using analog samples. Results show that dust thickness on an iron substrate need be only one tenth as great as that on a silicate rock to

  20. Low-temperature carbonate concretions in the Martian meteorite ALH84001: evidence from stable isotopes and mineralogy.

    PubMed

    Valley, J W; Eiler, J M; Graham, C M; Gibson, E K; Romanek, C S; Stolper, E M

    1997-03-14

    The martian meteorite ALH84001 contains small, disk-shaped concretions of carbonate with concentric chemical and mineralogical zonation. Oxygen isotope compositions of these concretions, measured by ion microprobe, range from delta18O = +9.5 to +20.5 per thousand. Most of the core of one concretion is homogeneous (16.7 +/- 1.2 per thousand) and over 5 per thousand higher in delta18O than a second concretion. Orthopyroxene that hosts the secondary carbonates is isotopically homogeneous (delta18O = 4.6 +/- 1.2 per thousand). Secondary SiO2 has delta18O = 20.4 per thousand. Carbon isotope ratios measured from the core of one concretion average delta13C = 46 +/- 8 per thousand, consistent with formation on Mars. The isotopic variations and mineral compositions offer no evidence for high temperature (>650 degrees C) carbonate precipitation and suggest non-equilibrium processes at low temperatures (< approximately 300 degrees C). PMID:9054355

  1. Isotopic evidence for a terrestrial source of organic compounds found in martian meteorites Allan Hills 84001 and Elephant Moraine 79001.

    PubMed

    Jull, A J; Courtney, C; Jeffrey, D A; Beck, J W

    1998-01-16

    Stepped-heating experiments on martian meteorites Allan Hills 84001 (ALH84001) and Elephant Moraine 79001 (EETA79001) revealed low-temperature (200 to 430 degrees Celsius) fractions with a carbon isotopic composition delta13C between -22 and -33 per mil and a carbon-14 content that is 40 to 60 percent of that of modern terrestrial carbon, consistent with a terrestrial origin for most of the organic material. Intermediate-temperature (400 to 600 degrees Celsius) carbonate-rich fractions of ALH84001 have delta13C of +32 to +40 per mil with a low carbon-14 content, consistent with an extraterrestrial origin, whereas some of the carbonate fraction of EETA79001 is terrestrial. In addition, ALH84001 contains a small preterrestrial carbon component of unknown origin that combusts at intermediate temperatures. This component is likely a residual acid-insoluble carbonate or a more refractory organic phase. PMID:9430584

  2. Low-temperature carbonate concretions in the Martian meteorite ALH84001: evidence from stable isotopes and mineralogy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valley, J. W.; Eiler, J. M.; Graham, C. M.; Gibson, E. K.; Romanek, C. S.; Stolper, E. M.

    1997-01-01

    The martian meteorite ALH84001 contains small, disk-shaped concretions of carbonate with concentric chemical and mineralogical zonation. Oxygen isotope compositions of these concretions, measured by ion microprobe, range from delta18O = +9.5 to +20.5 per thousand. Most of the core of one concretion is homogeneous (16.7 +/- 1.2 per thousand) and over 5 per thousand higher in delta18O than a second concretion. Orthopyroxene that hosts the secondary carbonates is isotopically homogeneous (delta18O = 4.6 +/- 1.2 per thousand). Secondary SiO2 has delta18O = 20.4 per thousand. Carbon isotope ratios measured from the core of one concretion average delta13C = 46 +/- 8 per thousand, consistent with formation on Mars. The isotopic variations and mineral compositions offer no evidence for high temperature (>650 degrees C) carbonate precipitation and suggest non-equilibrium processes at low temperatures (< approximately 300 degrees C).

  3. Formation of Carbonate Minerals in Martian Meteorite ALH 84001 from Cool Water Near the Surface of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    2011-12-01

    Carbonate minerals in the Allan Hills 84001 meteorite are important because they ought to contain information about the chemistry and temperature of the water they formed in. They are also an important part of testing the idea that the meteorite contains evidence of past life on Mars. Hypotheses for the origin of the carbonates are impressively varied. A key test of the ideas is to determine the temperature at which the carbonates formed. Estimates up to now range from a bit below freezing to 700 oC, too big a range to test anything! To address the problem Itay Halevy, Woodward Fischer, and John Eiler (Caltech) used an approach that involves "clumped" isotope thermometry, which makes comparisons among different isotopic compositions of extracted CO2. This allowed the investigators to use the isotopic abundances of both carbon and oxygen. The results indicate that the carbonates formed at 18 ± 4 oC from a shallow subsurface (upper few meters to tens of meters) pool of water that was gradually evaporating. The wet episode did not last long, leading Halevy and his colleagues to conclude that the environment may have been too transient for life to have emerged here from scratch. On the other hand, if life already existed on the Martian surface this wet near-surface environment would have provided a happy home. An impact blasted the Martian home of ALH 84001, causing a transient heating event, perhaps disturbing the isotopic record...or perhaps not because the event was so short. In any case, the clumped isotope thermometry approach seems to have given a good measurement of the temperature at which the carbonate minerals formed.

  4. Stable Isotope Enrichment of Carbonate from the Martian Meteorite ALH84001: Test of a Hypothesis at Wright Valley, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Socki, R. A.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Romanek, C. S.

    1995-09-01

    We report here the stable isotope composition of carbonate measured from a suite of desert soils from the Dry Valleys of Antarctica [1] to determine the 13C enrichments attributed to cryogenic freezing in terrestrial environments. These data are then used to gauge whether cryogenic freezing is a viable aqueous process that can produce extreme 13C enrichments observed in Martian carbonates (e.g., ALH 84001 [2]). Analyses of ALH 84001 have shown that the delta^(13)C of carbonate is the most-positive yet recorded for an SNC meteorite (ca. 42 per mil)[2]. The source of carbon is thought to be Martian atmospheric CO2, which has been recycled through an aqueous medium into the solid phase. The delta^(13)C of the carbonate is consistent with a precipitation temperature below ~300 degrees C [3], assuming the delta^(13)C of Martian CO2 lies somewhere between 26 and 46 per mil [4, 5]. An equilibrium temperature of formation near 0 degrees C is difficult to reconcile if the atmospheric source of carbon is <26 per mil, despite the fact that equilbrium isotope enrichments are large at this temperature (12-14 per mil) [6-8]. Low delta^(13)C for atmospheric CO2 is only compatible with high delta^(13)C for carbonate when non-equilibrium processes are the primary mechanism of isotopic fractionation. An inorganic surficial process known to enrich carbonate by >15 per mil over ambient atmospheric CO2 is cryogenic freezing [9]. Carbonate-bearing soils from Wright Valley, Antarctica were studied as a terrestrial analog to the carbonates in ALH 84001 to characterize isotopic "fingerprints" associated with cryogenic freezing. delta^(13)C and delta^(18)O carbonate values from Prospect Mesa Soil Pit range from +0.89 per mil to -20.46 per mil (PDB) within the "permanently frozen zone" (below 0.4 m), and +4.20 per mil to -11.87 per mil at the surface. The most enriched 13C and 18O tend to occur at the surface where seasonal variations in temperature or precipitation have imposed cyclical

  5. Stable Isotope Enrichment of Carbonate from the Martian Meteorite ALH84001: Test of a Hypothesis at Wright Valley, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Socki, R. A.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Romanek, C. S.

    1995-09-01

    We report here the stable isotope composition of carbonate measured from a suite of desert soils from the Dry Valleys of Antarctica [1] to determine the 13C enrichments attributed to cryogenic freezing in terrestrial environments. These data are then used to gauge whether cryogenic freezing is a viable aqueous process that can produce extreme 13C enrichments observed in Martian carbonates (e.g., ALH 84001 [2]). Analyses of ALH 84001 have shown that the delta^(13)C of carbonate is the most-positive yet recorded for an SNC meteorite (ca. 42 per mil)[2]. The source of carbon is thought to be Martian atmospheric CO2, which has been recycled through an aqueous medium into the solid phase. The delta^(13)C of the carbonate is consistent with a precipitation temperature below ~300 degrees C [3], assuming the delta^(13)C of Martian CO2 lies somewhere between 26 and 46 per mil [4, 5]. An equilibrium temperature of formation near 0 degrees C is difficult to reconcile if the atmospheric source of carbon is <26 per mil, despite the fact that equilbrium isotope enrichments are large at this temperature (12-14 per mil) [6-8]. Low delta^(13)C for atmospheric CO2 is only compatible with high delta^(13)C for carbonate when non-equilibrium processes are the primary mechanism of isotopic fractionation. An inorganic surficial process known to enrich carbonate by >15 per mil over ambient atmospheric CO2 is cryogenic freezing [9]. Carbonate-bearing soils from Wright Valley, Antarctica were studied as a terrestrial analog to the carbonates in ALH 84001 to characterize isotopic "fingerprints" associated with cryogenic freezing. delta^(13)C and delta^(18)O carbonate values from Prospect Mesa Soil Pit range from +0.89 per mil to -20.46 per mil (PDB) within the "permanently frozen zone" (below 0.4 m), and +4.20 per mil to -11.87 per mil at the surface. The most enriched 13C and 18O tend to occur at the surface where seasonal variations in temperature or precipitation have imposed cyclical

  6. Natural thermoluminescence of Antarctic meteorites and related studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benoit, Paul H.; Sears, Derek W. G.

    1998-01-01

    The natural thermoluminescence (TL) laboratory's primary purpose is to provide data on newly recovered Antarctic meteorites that can be included in discovery announcements and to investigate the scientific implications of the data. Natural TL levels of meteorites are indicators of recent thermal history and terrestrial history, and the data can be used to study the orbital/radiation history of groups of meteorites (e.g., H chondrites) or to study the processes leading to the concentration of meteorites at certain sites in Antarctica. An important application of these data is the identification of fragments, or "pairs" of meteorites produced during atmospheric passage or during terrestrial weathering. Thermoluminescence data are particularly useful for pairing within the most common meteorite classes, which typically exhibit very limited petrographic and chemical diversity. Although not originally part of the laboratory's objectives, TL data are also useful in the identification and classification of petrographically or mineralogically unusual meteorites, including unequilibrated ordinary chondrites and some basaltic achondrites. In support of its primary mission, the laboratory also engages in TL studies of modern falls, finds from hot deserts, and terrestrial analogs and conducts detailed studies of the TL properties of certain classes of meteorites. These studies include the measurement of TL profiles in meteorites, the determination of TL levels of finds from the Sahara and the Nullarbor region of Australia, and comparison of TL data to other indicators of irradiation or terrestrial history, such as cosmogenic noble gas and radionuclide abundances. Our current work can be divided into five subcategories, (a) TL survey of Antarctic meteorites, (b) pairing and field relations of Antarctic meteorites, (c) characterization of TL systematics of meteorites, (d) comparison of natural TL and other terrestrial age indicators for Antarctic meteorites, and for meteorites

  7. Development of optically stimulated luminescence dating techniques for application to terrestrial and Martian studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blair, Michael Wayne

    Scope and method of study. Geological processes including aeolian and fluvial activity have shaped the surface of Mars. The temporal timescale on which these events have taken is place is important for understanding the geological history of Mars including time periods in which life may have developed on the planet. However, methods do not currently exist that can be used in-situ on Mars to constrain the recent (younger than 1 million years) geological timescale. It has been suggested that optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, which measures the radiation dose and dose rate minerals are exposed to over time and hence the burial time, can be developed as an in-situ tool for delineating the timing of these recent events. This study attempts to develop some of the necessary techniques for measuring the radiation dose in martian minerals by studying martian soil simulants and meteorites. Findings and conclusions. Most of the luminescent materials that will be encountered on Mars are different from those typically used for OSL dating on Earth. However, the techniques used for absorbed radiation dose determination in terrestrial OSL dating studies can be adapted to martian simulants and meteorites with a few minor but important changes. These changes have to do with the heat treatment of the samples prior to OSL readout as well as the temperature of irradiation and OSL measurement due to the ambient temperature of Mars. While many scientific challenges must still be overcome for this project, this study provides a basis for further study of martian simulants.

  8. Shock Recovery and Heating Experiments on Baddeleyite: Implications for U-Pb Isotopic Systematics of Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Misawa, K.; Niihara, T.; Kaiden, H.; Sekine, T.; Mikouchi, T.

    2009-12-01

    Introduction: Radiometric ages of Martian meteorites, shergottites are generally young (i.e., ~165-475 Ma), and are in the late Amazonian chronostratigraphic unit [1]. Bouvier et al. [2-4] reported ~4.1-4.3 Ga old Pb-Pb ages for shergottites, and suggested that young Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, and Lu-Hf ages so far obtained were affected by alteration of phosphates, interaction with Martian subsurface fluids, or intense shock metamorphism. Baddeleyite (ZrO2) with apparently primary igneous morphology is an important phase in shergottites for U-Pb age determination. In order to investigate shock effects on U-Pb isotopic systematics of baddeleyite, we undertook shock recovery and heating experiments on baddeleyite. Experimental: We used coarse-grained baddeleyite from Phalaborwa for a starting material. The baddeleyite was mixed with a coarse-grained terrestrial basalt with a weight ratio of 1:2. Shock-recovery experiments were performed using a propellant gun at NIMS [5]. The run products were placed in a vertical gas-mixing furnace and heated for 1-3 h at 1000-1300oC under log fO2 of IW+2.5 at 105 Pa. Textures were observed by a scanning electron microprobe and Raman spectra of shocked baddeleyite were obtained. In situ U-Th-Pb isotopic analysis was carried out with the SHRIMP II at NIPR [6]. Results and Discussion: We observed Raman peak shifts of 2-4 cm-1 in the 34-57 GPa samples. Lead loss from baddeleyite was not observed for the experimentally shocked samples. In addition, the U-Pb and Pb-Pb ages of shocked and heated baddeleyites are indistinguishable from those of unshocked baddeleyite within errors except minor lead loss from the baddeleyite shocked at 57 GPa and heated for 1 h at 1300oC. Although duration of peak shock-pressure and grain size of baddeleyite are different from the nature of basaltic shergottites, our experimental results suggest that it is hard to completely reset U-Pb isotopic systematics of baddeleyite in Martian meteorite by shock events below ~60

  9. Water-extractable and exchangeable phosphate in martian and carbonaceus meteorites and planetary soil analogues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinaj, S.; Mautner, M.

    2003-04-01

    Aqueous extraction contributes to the formation and weathering of planetary materials, and renders electrolytes available for biology. In this context, water-extractable phosphate is measured in the Mars meteorites Nakhla, Dar al Gani 476 (DaG 476), Elephant Morraine 79001 (EETA 79001) and terrestrial analogues, and in the Murchison CM2 and Allende CV3 carbonaceous chondrites. The Mars meteorites contain high levels of readily extractable phosphate in H_2O/N_2, up to 15 mg kg-1 in Nakhla and DaG 476 and 38 mg kg-1 in EETA79001, while the terrestrial analogues and the carbonaceous chondrites contain lower levels, 0.5 - 6 mg kg-1. Correspondingly, high phosphate concentrations of 4 to >28mg L-1 are obtained in extracts of the Mars meteorites, exceeding the concentrations of 0.4 - 2.0 mg L-1 in the extracts of the terrestrial analogues. Planetary conditions under N_2 and CO_2 atmospheres, at solid/water ratios of 0.01 to 1.0 kg L-1, extraction times of 1 to 21 days and temperatures of 20 - 121 ^oC affect the amounts of extractable phosphate by factors of 2 - 5 in most materials. Phosphate fixing capacity and long-term extractable phosphate are assessed by the isotopic exchange kinetics (IEK) method, which quantifies the amount of P isotopically exchangeable within 1 minute (E1min), between 1 min and 3 months (E1min-3m) and the amount of P that can not be exchanged within 3 months (E>3m). The IEK results show that the DaG 476 Mars meteorite and terrestrial analogues have low, while the carbonaceous chondrites have high, P fixing capacities. Aqueous weathering under early planetary CO_2 atmospheres has large effects on the available phosphate. For example, the fraction of total P that is exchangeable in 3 months increases from 1.6 to 11% in the DaG 476 Mars meteorite, from 13.0 to 51.6% in Allende and from 43.9 to 90.4% in Murchison. Solutions with high phosphate concentrations can form in pores of planetary lava ash and basalts, and in carbonaceous asteroids and

  10. Signatures in Martian Volatiles and the Magma Sources of NC Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marti, K.; Mathew, K. J.

    2004-01-01

    We report nitrogen and xenon isotopic signatures in Yamato nakhlites and use the data to assess properties of the magma source of NC meteorites in planet Mars. The Chassigny meteorite was investigated by Floran et al, who classified it as a cumulate dunite with hydrous amphibole-bearing melt inclusions with no preferred orientation of the olivines. Their inferred composition of the parent magma, which was based on electron microprobe analyses, has been questioned. The trace and minor elements in minerals were analyzed in nakhlites and in Chassigny and the authors conclude that nakhlites may represent samples from different horizons of the same lithologic unit, but that Chassigny was not co-magmatic with the nakhlites.

  11. Rare-earth-element minerals in martian breccia meteorites NWA 7034 and 7533: Implications for fluid-rock interaction in the martian crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yang; Ma, Chi; Beckett, John R.; Chen, Yang; Guan, Yunbin

    2016-10-01

    Paired martian breccia meteorites, Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and 7533, are the first martian rocks found to contain rare-earth-element (REE) phosphates and silicates. The most common occurrence is as clusters of anhedral monazite-(Ce) inclusions in apatite. Occasionally, zoned, irregular merrillite inclusions are also present in apatite. Monazite-bearing apatite is sometimes associated with alkali-feldspar and Fe-oxide. Apatite near merrillite and monazite generally contains more F and OH (F-rich region) than the main chlorapatite host and forms irregular boundaries with the main host. Locally, the composition of F-rich regions can reach pure fluorapatite. The chlorapatite hosts are similar in composition to isolated apatite without monazite inclusions, and to euhedral apatite in lithic clasts. The U-Th-total Pb ages of monazite in three apatite are 1.0 ± 0.4Ga (2σ), 1.1 ± 0.5Ga (2σ), and 2.8 ± 0.7Ga (2σ), confirming a martian origin. The texture and composition of monazite inclusions are mostly consistent with their formation by the dissolution of apatite and/or merrillite by fluid at elevated temperatures (>100 °C). In NWA 7034, we observed a monazite-chevkinite-perrierite-bearing benmoreite or trachyandesite clast. Anhedral monazite and chevkinite-perrierite grains occur in a matrix of sub-micrometer REE-phases and silicates inside the clast. Monazite-(Ce) and -(Nd) and chevkinite-perrierite-(Ce) and -(Nd) display unusual La and Ce depletion relative to Sm and Nd. In addition, one xenotime-(Y)-bearing pyrite-ilmenite-zircon clast with small amounts of feldspar and augite occurs in NWA 7034. One xenotime crystal was observed at the edge of an altered zircon grain, and a cluster of xenotime crystals resides in a mixture of alteration materials. Pyrite, ilmenite, and zircon in this clast are all highly altered, zircon being the most likely source of Y and HREE now present in xenotime. The association of xenotime with zircon, low U and Th contents, and the

  12. Bacterial mineralization patterns in basaltic aquifers: Implications for possible life in Martian meteorite ALH84001

    SciTech Connect

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

    1998-11-01

    To explore the formation and preservation of biogenic features in igneous rocks, the authors 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 martial meteorite ALH84001.

  13. Carbonates, surfates, phosphates, nitrates, and organic materials: Their association in a Martian meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1993-01-01

    The debate concerning the evolution of CO2 on Mars continues. It would appear that in order to explain the valley networks and other relict fluvial landforms it is necessary to accept that liquid water was once present at the surface of Mars. This in turn requires, at some point in the planet's history, a higher surface temperature than exists today, proposition explained traditionally by an early dense CO2, atmosphere. However, there are a number of problems with this notion: for instance, CO2 alone is not an efficient greenhouse gas because of its tendency to form clouds. Moreover, if there was an early dense CO2 atmosphere, it is necessary to explain where the elemental constituents now reside. There are two possibilities for the latter, namely loss to outer space of atmospheric CO2 or the formation of vast carbonate deposits. While some models of atmospheric loss predict that up to 0.4 bar of CO2 could be removed from the Martian surface, this is still not enough to account for the original atmospheric inventory, usually considered to have been in the range of 1-5 bar. Thus, most models of the evolution of the Martian surface require removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and into carbonate deposits. However, as yet, the evidence for the existence of carbonates on Mars is fairly scant. This is an issue that would have been resolved by results obtained from Mars Observer.

  14. Carbonates, surfates, phosphates, nitrates, and organic materials: Their association in a Martian meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    The debate concerning the evolution of CO2 on Mars continues. It would appear that in order to explain the valley networks and other relict fluvial landforms it is necessary to accept that liquid water was once present at the surface of Mars. This in turn requires, at some point in the planet's history, a higher surface temperature than exists today, proposition explained traditionally by an early dense CO2, atmosphere. However, there are a number of problems with this notion: for instance, CO2 alone is not an efficient greenhouse gas because of its tendency to form clouds. Moreover, if there was an early dense CO2 atmosphere, it is necessary to explain where the elemental constituents now reside. There are two possibilities for the latter, namely loss to outer space of atmospheric CO2 or the formation of vast carbonate deposits. While some models of atmospheric loss predict that up to 0.4 bar of CO2 could be removed from the Martian surface, this is still not enough to account for the original atmospheric inventory, usually considered to have been in the range of 1-5 bar. Thus, most models of the evolution of the Martian surface require removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and into carbonate deposits. However, as yet, the evidence for the existence of carbonates on Mars is fairly scant. This is an issue that would have been resolved by results obtained from Mars Observer.

  15. Low-temperature carbonate concretions in the martian meteorite ALH84001: Evidence from stable isotopes and mineralogy

    SciTech Connect

    Valley, J.W.; Eiler, J.M.; Stolper, E.M.

    1997-03-14

    The martian meteorite ALH84001 contains small, disk-shaped concentrations of carbonate with concentric chemical and mineralogical zonation. Oxygen isotope compositions of these concretions, measured by ion microprobe, range from {delta}{sup 18}O = +9.5 to +20.5{per_thousand}. Most of the core of one concretion is homogeneous (16.7 {+-} 1.2{per_thousand}) and over 5{per_thousand} higher in ({delta}{sup 18}O = 4.6 {+-} 1.2{per_thousand}). Secondary SiO{sub 2} has {delta}{sup 18}O = 20.4{per_thousand}. Carbon isotope ratios measured from the core of one concretion average {delta}{sup 13}C = 46 {+-} 8{per_thousand}, consistent with formation on Mars. The isotopic variations and mineral compositions offer no evidence for high temperature (>650{degrees}C) carbonate precipitation and suggest non-equilibrium processes at low temperatures (<{approximately} 300{degrees}C). 44 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  16. Formation of "Chemically Pure" Magnetite from Mg-Fe-Carbonates Implications for the Exclusively Inorganic Origin of Magnetite and Sulfides in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.; Morris, R. V.; Trieman, A. H.; McKay, G. A.

    2006-01-01

    Magnetite and sulfides in the black rims of carbonate globules in Martian meteorite ALH84001 have been studied extensively because of the claim by McKay et al. that they are biogenic in origin. However, exclusively inorganic (abiotic) processes are able to account for the occurrence of carbonate-sulfide-magnetite assemblages in the meteorite. We have previously precipitated chemically zoned and sulfide-bearing carbonate globules analogous to those in ALH84001 (at less than or equal to 150 C) from multiple fluxes of variable-composition Ca-Mg-Fe-CO2-S-H2O solutions. Brief heating of precipitated globules to approx. 470 C produced magnetite and pyrrhotite within the globules by thermal decomposition of siderite and pyrite, respectively. We have also shown that morphology of magnetite formed by inorganic thermal decomposition of Fe-rich carbonate is similar to the morphology of so-called biogenic magnetite in the carbonate globules of ALH84001. Magnetite crystals in the rims of carbonate globules in ALH84001 are chemically pure [Note: "Chemically pure" is defined here as magnetite with Mg at levels comparable or lower than Mg detected by [8] in ALH84001 magnetite]. A debate continues on whether or not chemically pure magnetite can form by the thermal decomposition of mixed Mg-Fe-carbonates that have formed under abiotic conditions. Thomas-Keprta et al. argue that it is not possible to form Mg-free magnetite from Mg-Fe-carbonate based on thermodynamic data. We previously suggested that chemically pure magnetite could form by the thermal decomposition of relatively pure siderite in the outer rims of the globules. Mg-Fe-carbonates may also thermally decompose under conditions conducive for formation of chemically pure magnetite. In this paper we show through laboratory experiments that chemically pure magnetite can form by an inorganic process from mixed Mg-Fe-carbonates.

  17. Weathering of Martian Evaporites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wentworth, S. J.; Velbel, M. A.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Longazo, T. G.; McKay, D. S.

    2001-01-01

    Evaporites in martian meteorites contain weathering or alteration features that may provide clues about the martian near-surface environment over time. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  18. Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr Isotopic Systematics of a Heavily Shocked Martian Meteorite Tissint and Petrogenesis of Depleted Shergottites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shih, C.-Y.; Nyquist, L. E.; Park, J.; Agee, Carl B.

    2014-01-01

    Tissint is a very fresh Martian meteorite that fell near the town of Tissint in Morocco on July 18, 2011. It contains abundant olivine megacrysts (23%) in a fine-grained matrix of pyroxene (55%), maskelynitized plagioclase (15%), opaques (4%) and melt pockets (3%) and is petrographically similar to lithologies A and C of picritic shergottite EETA 79001 [1,2]. The presence of 2 types of shock-induced glasses and all 7 high-pressure mineral phases that were ever found in melt pockets of Martian meteorites suggests it underwent an intensive shock metamorphism of 25 GPa and 2000 C localized in melt pockets [2]. Mineral textures suggest that olivines, pyroxenes and plagioclases probably did not experience such hightemperature. Earlier determinations of its age yielded 596+/-23 Ma [3] and 616+/-67 Ma [4], respectively, for the Sm-Nd system and 583+/-86 Ma for the Lu-Hf system [4], in agreement with the 575+/-18 Ma age of the oldest olivine-phyric depleted shergottite Dho 019 [5]. However, the exposure ages of Tissint (1 Ma [1, 6, 7]) and Dho 019 (20 Ma [8]) are very different requiring two separate ejection events. These previously determined Sm-Nd and Lu-Hf ages are older than the Ar-Ar maskelynite plateau age of 524+/-15 Ma [9], reversing the pattern usually observed for Martian meteorites. In order to clarify these age issues and place models for Tissint's petrogenesis on a firm basis, we present new Rb-Sr and Sm- Nd isotopic results for Tissint, and discuss (a) the shock effects on them and the Ar-Ar chronometer, (b) correlation of the determined ages with those of other depleted shergottites, and (c) the petrogenesis of depleted shergottites. Since the meteorite is a recent fall, terrestrial contamination is expected to be minimal, but, the strong shock metamorphism might be expected to compromise the equilibrium of the isotopic systems.

  19. The search for terrestrial nanobacteria as possible analogs for purported Martian nanofossils in the Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Wentworth, Susan J.; McKay, David S.; Stevens, Todd O.; Golden, D. C.; Allen, Carlton C.; Gibson, E. K.

    1997-03-01

    Basalts from the Columbia River (CRB) are studied in order to examine the igneous rock types similar to the main lithology of ALH84001. High resolution SEM and TEM are used to examine Columbia River surfaces for microorganisms in situ and those extracted from the basalt surface. Philips XL 40 field emission gun SEM microscope observations show the presence of small, nanometer-scale coccoid (spheroidal) bacteria on DC-06 and DB-11. It is suggested that these forms may be nanobacteria or appendages of bacteria from CRB samples. Another possibility is that they may be dwarf bacteria.

  20. Carbon- and Sulfur-bearing Minerals in the Martian Meteorite ALH 84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Romanek, C. S.; Thomas, K. L.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; McKay, D. S.; Socki, R. A.

    1995-09-01

    Unusual carbonate minerals in ALH 84001 [1] provide insights into surficial processes that may have occurred on Mars, but despite detailed geochemical studies [2-4] carbonate petrogenesis has yet to be fully-characterized. High-resolution TEM and SEM analyses were performed on C- and S-bearing mineral grains to better constrain the nature and timing of carbonate mineralization events. Morphological elements: C- and S-bearing minerals in ALH 84001 commonly occur as spheroidal aggregates or fine-grained vug-filling structures. Spheroids are either orange or black, ~150 micrometers (+/- 50 micrometers) in diameter and highly-flattened (10-30 micrometers thick). Orange spheroids have limpid amber-colored cores and white to translucent mantles which are sometimes bound by thin black rims (< 10 micrometers). When viewed under cathodoluminescence, cores are non-luminescent while mantles luminesce a uniform bright-orange color. Black spheroids are less frequently observed; while they are similar in dimension to the orange spheroids they are chemically more heterogeneous. Black irregular aggregates fill residual pore-space between mineral grains. These structures are comprised of extremely fine-grained (< 2 micrometers) material that occasionally forms lenticular stringers up to 50 micrometers in length. Chemistry and Mineralogy: Small grains (30 micrometers dia.) were removed from C- and S-bearing aggregates, microtomed (~100 nm thick) and examined by TEM for imaging, electron diffraction, and elemental analysis. The orange spheroids have cores composed of Fe-Mg-Ca carbonate, with the centers having the highest concentration of Fe (45 mol%) and Ca (15 mol%). The concentration of Mg increases outward to almost pure MgCO3. TEM results support previous analyses of carbonate chemistry [1-4] and clearly indicate that a wide range of Mg-Fe-Ca solid solution exists in carbonate at a scale of ~10 nm. White mantles of the orange spheroids are composed of nearly pure MgCO3 (<5 mol

  1. Evidence for Differential Comminution/Aeolian Sorting and Chemical Weathering of Martian Soils Preserved in Mars Meteorite EET79001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

    Impact-melt glasses containing Martian atmospheric gases in Mars meteorite EET79001 are formed from Martian soil fines that had undergone meteoroid-comminution and aeolian sorting accompanied by chemical weathering near Mars surface. Using SiO2 and SO3 as proxy for silicates and salts respectively in Mars soils, we find that SiO2 and SO3 correlate negatively with FeO and MgO and positively with Al2O3 and CaO in these glasses, indicating that the mafic and felsic components are depleted and enriched relative to the bulk host (Lith A/B) respectively as in the case of Moon soils. Though the overall pattern of mineral fractionation is similar between the soil fines on Mars and Moon, the magnitudes of the enrichments/depletions differ between these sample-suites because of pervasive aeolian activity on Mars. In addition to this mechanical processing, the Martian soil fines, prior to impact-melting, have undergone acid-sulfate dissolution under oxidizing/reducing conditions. The S03 content in EET79001,507 (Lith B) glass is approx.18% compared to < 2% in EET79001, 506 (Lith A). SiO2 and SO3 negatively correlate with each other in ,507 glasses similar to Pathfinder soils. The positive correlation found between FeO and SO3 in ,507 glasses as well as Pathfinder rocks and soils is consistent with the deposition of ferric-hydroxysulfate on regolith grains in an oxidizing environment. As in the case of Pathfinder soils, the Al 2O3 vs SiO2 positive correlation and FeO VS S102 negative correlation observed in ,507 glasses indicate that SiO2 from the regolith is mobilized as soluble silicic acid at low pH. The large off-set in the end-member FeO abundance ( SO3=0) between Pathfinder soil-free rock and sulfur-free rock in ,507 glass precursors suggests that the soils comprising the ,507 glasses contain much larger proportion of fine-grained Martian soil fraction that registers strong mafic depletion relative to Lith B. This inference is strongly supported by the Al2O3 - SO3

  2. Stable Chlorine Isotopes and Elemental Chlorine by Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry and Ion Chromatography; Martian Meteorites, Carbonaceous Chondrites and Standard Rocks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nakamura, N.; Nyquist, L. E.; Reese, Y.; Shih, C.-Y.; Fujitani, T.; Okano, O.

    2011-01-01

    Recently significantly large mass fractionation of stable chlorine isotopes has been reported for terrestrial and lunar samples [1,2]. In addition, in view of possible early solar system processes [3] and also potential perchlorate-related fluid/microbial activities on the Martian surface [4,5], a large chlorine isotopic fractionation might be expected for some types of planetary materials. Due to analytical difficulties of isotopic and elemental analyses, however, current chlorine analyses for planetary materials are controversial among different laboratories, particularly between IRMS (gas source mass spectrometry) and TIMS (Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry) groups [i.e. 1,6,7] for isotopic analyses, as well as between those doing pyrohydrolysis and other groups [i.e. 6,8]. Additional careful investigations of Cl isotope and elemental abundances are required to confirm real chlorine isotope and elemental variations for planetary materials. We have developed a TIMS technique combined with HF-leaching/ion chromatography at NASA JSC that is applicable to analysis of small amounts of meteoritic and planetary materials. We present here results for several standard rocks and meteorites, including Martian meteorites.

  3. Formation of iddingsite veins in the martian crust by centripetal replacement of olivine: Evidence from the nakhlite meteorite Lafayette

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, M. R.; Tomkinson, T.; Hallis, L. J.; Mark, D. F.

    2015-04-01

    The Lafayette meteorite is an olivine clinopyroxenite that crystallized on Mars ∼1300 million years ago within a lava flow or shallow sill. Liquid water entered this igneous rock ∼700 million years later to produce a suite of secondary minerals, collectively called 'iddingsite', that occur as veins within grains of augite and olivine. The deuterium/hydrogen ratio of water within these secondary minerals shows that the aqueous solutions were sourced from one or more near-surface reservoirs. Several petrographically distinct types of veins can be recognised by differences in their width, shape, and crystallographic orientation. Augite and olivine both contain veins of a very fine grained hydrous Fe- and Mg-rich silicate that are ∼1-2 μm in width and lack any preferred crystallographic orientation. These narrow veins formed by cementation of pore spaces that had been opened by fracturing and probably in response to shock. The subset of olivine-hosted veins whose axes lie parallel to (0 0 1) have serrated walls, and formed by widening of the narrow veins by interface coupled dissolution-precipitation. Widening started by replacement of the walls of the narrow precursor veins by Fe-Mg silicate, and a crystallographic control on the trajectory of the dissolution-precipitation front created micrometre-scale {1 1 1} serrations. The walls of many of the finely serrated veins were subsequently replaced by siderite, and the solutions responsible for carbonation of olivine also partially recrystallized the Fe-Mg silicate. Smectite was the last mineral to form and grew by replacement of siderite. This mineralization sequence shows that Lafayette was exposed to two discrete pulses of aqueous solutions, the first of which formed the Fe-Mg silicate, and the second mediated replacement of vein walls by siderite and smectite. The similarity in size, shape and crystallographic orientation of iddingsite veins in the Lafayette meteorite and in terrestrial basalts demonstrates a

  4. Metamorphism of eucrite meteorites studied quantitatively using induced thermoluminescence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Batchelor, J. David; Sears, Derek W. G.

    1991-01-01

    Induced thermoluminescence studies provide a new and quantitative means of determining relative metamorphic intensities for eucrite meteorites, the simplest and most ancient products of basaltic volcanism. Using this technique, it is shown that the eucrites constitute a continuous metamorphic series and not, as commonly assumed, two groups of metamorphosed and nonmetamorphosed meteorites. It is suggested that the method may have applications to other basalts.

  5. Petrography and composition of Martian regolith breccia meteorite Northwest Africa 7475

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wittmann, Axel; Korotev, Randy L.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; Irving, Anthony J.; Moser, Desmond E.; Barker, Ivan; Rumble, Douglas

    2015-02-01

    The Northwest Africa (NWA) 7475 meteorite is one of the several stones of paired regolith breccias from Mars based on petrography, oxygen isotope, mineral compositions, and bulk rock compositions. Its inventory of lithic clasts is dominated by vitrophyre impact melts that were emplaced while they were still molten. Other clast types include crystallized impact melt rocks, evolved plutonic rocks, possible basalts, contact metamorphosed rocks, and siltstones. Impact spherules and vitrophyre shards record airborne transport, and accreted dust rims were sintered on most clasts, presumably during residence in an ejecta plume. The clast assemblage records at least three impact events, one that formed an impact melt sheet on Mars ≤4.4 Ga ago, a second that assembled NWA 7475 from impactites associated with the impact melt sheet at 1.7-1.4 Ga, and a third that launched NWA 7475 from Mars ~5 Ma ago. Mildly shocked pyroxene and plagioclase constrain shock metamorphic conditions during launch to >5 and <15 GPa. The mild postshock-heating that resulted from these shock pressures would have been insufficient to sterilize this water-bearing lithology during launch. Magnetite, maghemite, and pyrite are likely products of secondary alteration on Mars. Textural relationships suggest that calcium-carbonate and goethite are probably of terrestrial origin, yet trace element chemistry indicates relatively low terrestrial alteration. Comparison of Mars Odyssey gamma-ray spectrometer data with the Fe and Th abundances of NWA 7475 points to a provenance in the ancient southern highlands of Mars. Gratteri crater, with an age of ~5 Ma and an apparent diameter of 6.9 km, marks one possible launch site of NWA 7475.

  6. Submicron magnetite grains and carbon compounds in Martian meteorite ALH84001: inorganic, abiotic formation by shock and thermal metamorphism.

    PubMed

    Treiman, Allan H

    2003-01-01

    Purported biogenic features of the ALH84001 Martian meteorite (the carbonate globules, their submicron magnetite grains, and organic matter) have reasonable inorganic origins, and a comprehensive hypothesis is offered here. The carbonate globules were deposited from hydrothermal water, without biological mediation. Thereafter, ALH84001 was affected by an impact shock event, which raised its temperature nearly instantaneously to 500-700K, and induced iron-rich carbonate in the globules to decompose to magnetite and other minerals. The rapidity of the temperature increase caused magnetite grains to nucleate in abundance; hence individual crystals were very small. Nucleation and growth of magnetite crystals were fastest along edges and faces of the precursor carbonate grains, forcing the magnetite grains to be platy or elongated, including the "truncated hexa-octahedra" shape. ALH84001 had formed at some depth within Mars where the lithostatic pressure was significantly above that of Mars' surface. Also, because the rock was at depth, the impact heat dissipated slowly. During this interval, magnetite crystals approached chemical equilibria with surrounding minerals and gas. Their composition, nearly pure Fe(3)O(4), reflects those of equilibria; elements that substitute into magnetite are either absent from iron-rich carbonate (e.g., Ti, Al, Cr), or partitioned into other minerals during magnetite formation (Mg, Mn). Many microstructural imperfections in the magnetite grains would have annealed out as the rock cooled. In this post-shock thermal regime, carbon-bearing gas from the decomposition of iron carbonates reacted with water in the rock (or from its surroundings) to produce organic matter via Fischer-Tropschlike reactions. Formation of such organic compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons would have been catalyzed by the magnetite (formation of graphite, the thermochemically stable phase, would be kinetically hindered). PMID:14577885

  7. Submicron Magnetite Grains and Carbon Compounds in Martian Meteorite ALH84001: Inorganic, Abiotic Formation by Shock and Thermal Metamorphism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treiman, Allan H.

    2003-06-01

    Purported biogenic features of the ALH84001 Martian meteorite (the carbonate globules, their submicron magnetite grains, and organic matter) have reasonable inorganic origins, and a comprehensive hypothesis is offered here. The carbonate globules were deposited from hydrothermal water, without biological mediation. Thereafter, ALH84001 was affected by an impact shock event, which raised its temperature nearly instantaneously to 500-700K, and induced iron-rich carbonate in the globules to decompose to magnetite and other minerals. The rapidity of the temperature increase caused magnetite grains to nucleate in abundance; hence individual crystals were very small. Nucleation and growth of magnetite crystals were fastest along edges and faces of the precursor carbonate grains, forcing the magnetite grains to be platy or elongated, including the "truncated hexa-octahedra" shape. ALH84001 had formed at some depth within Mars where the lithostatic pressure was significantly above that of Mars' surface. Also, because the rock was at depth, the impact heat dissipated slowly. During this interval, magnetite crystals approached chemical equilibria with surrounding minerals and gas. Their composition, nearly pure Fe3O4, reflects those of equilibria; elements that substitute into magnetite are either absent from iron-rich carbonate (e.g., Ti, Al, Cr), or partitioned into other minerals during magnetite formation (Mg, Mn). Many microstructural imperfections in the magnetite grains would have annealed out as the rock cooled. In this post-shock thermal regime, carbon-bearing gas from the decomposition of iron carbonates reacted with water in the rock (or from its surroundings) to produce organic matter via Fischer-Tropschlike reactions. Formation of such organic compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons would have been catalyzed by the magnetite (formation of graphite, the thermochemically stable phase, would be kinetically hindered).

  8. Olivine in Martian Meteorite Allan Hills 84001: Evidence for a High-Temperature Origin and Implications for Signs of Life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shearer, C. K.; Leshin, L. A.; Adcock, C. T.

    1999-01-01

    Olivine from Martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 occurs as clusters within orthopyroxene adjacent to fractures containing disrupted carbonate globules and feldspathic shock glass. The inclusions are irregular in shape and range in size from approx. 40 microns to submicrometer. Some of the inclusions are elongate and boudinage-like. The olivine grains are in sharp contact with the enclosing orthopyroxene and often contain small inclusions of chromite The olivine exhibits a very limited range of composition from Fo(sub 65) to Fo(sub 66) (n = 25). The delta(sup 18)O values of the olivine and orthopyroxene analyzed by ion microprobe range from +4.3 to +5.3% and are indistinguishable from each other within analytical uncertainty. The mineral chemistries, O-isotopic data, and textural relationships indicate that the olivine inclusions were produced at a temperature greater than 800 C. It is unlikely that the olivines formed during the same event that gave rise to the carbonates in ALH 84001, which have more elevated and variable delta(sup 18)O values, and were probably formed from fluids that were not in isotopic equilibrium with the orthopyroxene or olivine The reactions most likely instrumental in the formation of olivine could be either the dehydration of hydrous silicates that formed during carbonate precipitation or the reduction of orthopyroxene and spinel If the olivine was formed by either reaction during a postcarbonate beating event, the implications are profound with regards to the interpretations of McKay et al. Due to the low diffusion rates in carbonates, this rapid, high-temperature event would have resulted in the preservation of the fine-scale carbonate zoning' while partially devolatilizing select carbonate compositions on a submicrometer scale. This may have resulted in the formation of the minute magnetite grains that McKay et al attributed to biogenic activity.

  9. Submicron magnetite grains and carbon compounds in Martian meteorite ALH84001: inorganic, abiotic formation by shock and thermal metamorphism.

    PubMed

    Treiman, Allan H

    2003-01-01

    Purported biogenic features of the ALH84001 Martian meteorite (the carbonate globules, their submicron magnetite grains, and organic matter) have reasonable inorganic origins, and a comprehensive hypothesis is offered here. The carbonate globules were deposited from hydrothermal water, without biological mediation. Thereafter, ALH84001 was affected by an impact shock event, which raised its temperature nearly instantaneously to 500-700K, and induced iron-rich carbonate in the globules to decompose to magnetite and other minerals. The rapidity of the temperature increase caused magnetite grains to nucleate in abundance; hence individual crystals were very small. Nucleation and growth of magnetite crystals were fastest along edges and faces of the precursor carbonate grains, forcing the magnetite grains to be platy or elongated, including the "truncated hexa-octahedra" shape. ALH84001 had formed at some depth within Mars where the lithostatic pressure was significantly above that of Mars' surface. Also, because the rock was at depth, the impact heat dissipated slowly. During this interval, magnetite crystals approached chemical equilibria with surrounding minerals and gas. Their composition, nearly pure Fe(3)O(4), reflects those of equilibria; elements that substitute into magnetite are either absent from iron-rich carbonate (e.g., Ti, Al, Cr), or partitioned into other minerals during magnetite formation (Mg, Mn). Many microstructural imperfections in the magnetite grains would have annealed out as the rock cooled. In this post-shock thermal regime, carbon-bearing gas from the decomposition of iron carbonates reacted with water in the rock (or from its surroundings) to produce organic matter via Fischer-Tropschlike reactions. Formation of such organic compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons would have been catalyzed by the magnetite (formation of graphite, the thermochemically stable phase, would be kinetically hindered).

  10. Consortium Study of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Righter, K.; Fries, M. D.; Gibson, E. K.; Harrington, R.; Keller, L. P.; McCoy, T. J.; Morris, R. V.; Nagao, K.; Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Niles, P.; Nyquist, L.; Park, J.; Peng, Z. X.; Shih, C.-Y.; Simon, J. I.; Zeigler, R. A.

    2013-01-01

    On February 15, 2013 approximately 17 m asteroid hit Earth, causing shock waves and air blasts over a portion of Russia. A significant amount of material has been recovered from this meteorite fall, officially named Chelyabinsk.

  11. Wind tunnel studies of Martian aeolian processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, R.; Iversen, J. D.; Pollack, J. B.; Udovich, N.; White, B.

    1973-01-01

    Preliminary results are reported of an investigation which involves wind tunnel simulations, geologic field studies, theoretical model studies, and analyses of Mariner 9 imagery. Threshold speed experiments were conducted for particles ranging in specific gravity from 1.3 to 11.35 and diameter from 10.2 micron to 1290 micron to verify and better define Bagnold's (1941) expressions for grain movement, particularly for low particle Reynolds numbers and to study the effects of aerodynamic lift and surface roughness. Wind tunnel simulations were conducted to determine the flow field over raised rim craters and associated zones of deposition and erosion. A horseshoe vortex forms around the crater, resulting in two axial velocity maxima in the lee of the crater which cause a zone of preferential erosion in the wake of the crater. Reverse flow direction occurs on the floor of the crater. The result is a distinct pattern of erosion and deposition which is similar to some martian craters and which indicates that some dark zones around Martian craters are erosional and some light zones are depositional.

  12. Meteorites and the Evolution of Our Solar System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nava, David F.

    1999-01-01

    The study of meteorites has long been of intense interest ever since these objects were discovered to be of extraterrestrial origin. Meteorite research contributes to unraveling the mysteries in understanding the formation and evolution processes of our solar system. Meteorites, of which there are a variety of widely diverse types of chemical and mineralogical compositions, are the most ancient of solar system objects that can be studied in the laboratory. They preserve a unique historical record of the astronomical and astrophysical events of our solar system. This record is being discerned by a host of ever evolving analytical laboratory methods. Recent discoveries of what are believed to be Martian meteorites, lunar meteorites, a meteorite containing indigenous water, and the recovery from the Cretaceous layer of a small meteorite fragment thought to be from the dinosaur-killing asteroid have fueled additional excitement for studying meteorites.

  13. Petrographic studies of refractory inclusions from the Murchison meteorite

    SciTech Connect

    Macpherson, G.J.; Grossman, L.; Hashimoto, A.; Bar-Matthews, M.

    1984-11-15

    Textural and mineral-chemical data on freeze-thaw disaggregated refractory inclusions from the Murchison meteorite are reported. The data were obtained with neutron activation analysis, SEM, and spectroscopy, the study revealed corundum-bearing inclusions, spinel-hibonite aggregates and spherules, and spinel-pyroxene and elivine-pyroxene inclusions. One of the three spinel-, pyroxene-, forsterite-rich inclusions had an amoeba-shaped spinel-pyroxene core, implying vapor-to-solid condensation and therefore crystallization from a melt. It is concluded that the meteorite formation encompassed diverse nebular materials, and that further studies of the meteorite will enhance the data base on the planetary nebular processes.

  14. Petrographic studies of refractory inclusions from the Murchison meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macpherson, G. J.; Grossman, L.; Hashimoto, A.; Bar-Matthews, M.; Tanaka, T.

    1984-01-01

    Textural and mineral-chemical data on freeze-thaw disaggregated refractory inclusions from the Murchison meteorite are reported. The data were obtained with neutron activation analysis, SEM, and spectroscopy, the study revealed corundum-bearing inclusions, spinel-hibonite aggregates and spherules, and spinel-pyroxene and elivine-pyroxene inclusions. One of the three spinel-, pyroxene-, forsterite-rich inclusions had an amoeba-shaped spinel-pyroxene core, implying vapor-to-solid condensation and therefore crystallization from a melt. It is concluded that the meteorite formation encompassed diverse nebular materials, and that further studies of the meteorite will enhance the data base on the planetary nebular processes.

  15. Atmospheric heating of meteorites: Results from nuclear track studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jha, R.

    1984-01-01

    A quantitative model to estimate the degree of annealing of nuclear tracks in mineral grains subjected to a variable temperature history was proposed. This model is applied to study the track annealing records in different meteorites resulting from their atmospheric heating. Scale lengths were measured of complete and partial track annealing, delta X sub 1 and delta X sub 2, respectively. In mineral grain close to fusion crust in about a dozen meteorites. Values of delta X sub 1 and delta X sub 2 depend on extent and duration of heating during atmospheric transit and hence on meteorite entry parameters. To estimate track annealing, the temperature history during atmospheric heating at different distances from the crusted surface of the meteorite is obtained by solving heat conduction equation in conjunction with meteorite entry model, and use of the annealing model to evaluate the degree of annealing of tracks. It is shown that the measured values of delta X sub 1 and delta X sub 2 in three of the meteorites studied are consistent with values using preatmospheric mass, entry velocity and entry angle of these meteorites.

  16. Harvesting meteorites in the Omani desert: implications for astrobiology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, Beda A.; Gnos, Edwin; Al-Kathriri, Ali

    2004-03-01

    Meteorites will remain the most accessible, most diverse and most abundant source of extraterrestrial materials for many years to come. New sources of large numbers of meteorites allow the recovery of rare types particularly relevant for astrobiology, including Martian and Lunar samples. Oman has become an important source of meteorites only since 1999. Conditions for search and recovery are particularly favourable in many areas here because of an abundance of flat, light-colored, sand- and vegetation-free surfaces. During search expeditions carried out in the central deserts of Oman in 2001-2003 large numbers of meteorites, including a Martian and a Lunar sample, were recovered. The mass of recovered meteorites is 1334 kg, corresponding to approximately 150 to 200 fall events. We aim to classify all recovered specimens and study pairing and weathering effects. Our expeditions demonstrate the possibility to recover meteorite samples with astrobiological relevance with modest investments of finances and manpower.

  17. Siderite globules associated with fossil microbiota from cretaceous cavity and fracture fillings in Southern Belgium: second known terrestrial analog for the carbonate in Martian meteorite ALH84001?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baele, Jean-Marc

    2003-02-01

    Recently discovered siderite globules from Upper Cretaceous cavity and fracture fillings in southern Belgium are described and interpreted with emphasis on the still unsolved problem of the carbonates in meteorite ALH84001, which enclose controversal evidence for ancient Martian life. The most interesting aspects of the carbonates described here are 1) their close association with fossil microbiota, 2) their environment, which is 100% sedimentary, subaerial and not hydrothermal and 3) their morphologies, some of which being similar to those in ALH84001. Although the question of the direct biological influence is not critical in this case, the biogenicity for the minerals will be discussed as a strong possibility and is not only inferred from the simple spatial (and temporal) association of the carbonates and the fossil microbiota. Morphological, textural and chemical data will be presented and interpreted as variations in fluid chemistry related to environmental changes. Although they may appear different from those in Martian meteorite and Spitzbergen xenoliths, the Cretaceous globules originated in subsurface environment which left evident traces of life in the form of fossil microbial/fungal mats. They are thus considered as an opportunity to investigate biosignatures in future research using the wide range of available techniques.

  18. The Martian Chronicles. A Sound Filmstrip Program. Study Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Christesen, Barbara

    This filmstrip study guide dramatizes several stories from Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" concerning basic issues of human nature: the need to respect cultural differences and the importance of preserving the environment. A collection of 26 short stories, "The Martian Chronicles" describes the colonization of Mars. The personal and…

  19. Meteoritic basalts. Final report, 1986-1989

    SciTech Connect

    Treiman, A.H.

    1989-10-01

    The objectives were to: explain the abundances of siderophile elements in the SNC meteorite suite, of putative Martian origin; discover the magmatic origins and possibly magma compositions behind the Nakhla meteorite, one of the SNC meteorites; and a re-evaluation of the petrology of Angra dos Reis, a unique meteorite linked to the earliest planetary bodies of the solar nebula. A re-evaluation of its petrography showed that the accepted scenario for its origin, as a cumulate igneous rock, was not consistent with the meteorite's textures (Treiman). More likely is that the meteorite represents a prophyritic igneous rock, originally with magma dominant. Studies of the Nakhla meteorite, of possible Martian origin, although difficult, were successful. It became necessary to reject the basic categorization of Nakhla: that is was a cumulate igneous rock. Detailed studies of the chemical zoning of Nakhlas' minerals, coupled with the failure of experimental studies to yield expected results, forced the conclusion that Nakhla is not a cumulate rock in the usual sense: a rock composed of igneous crystals and intercrystal magma. Study of the siderophile element abundances in the SNC meteorite groups involved trying to find reasonable core formation processes and parameters that would reproduce the observed abundances. Modelling was successful, and delimited a range of models which overlap with those reasonable from geophysical constraints.

  20. Lunar and Meteorite Thin Sections for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, J.; Allen, C.

    2012-12-01

    The Johnson Space Center (JSC) has the unique responsibility to curate NASA's extraterrestrial samples from past and future missions. Curation includes documentation, preservation, preparation, and distribution of samples for research, education, and public outreach. Studies of rock and soil samples from the Moon and meteorites continue to yield useful information about the early history of the Moon, the Earth, and the inner solar system. Petrographic Thin Section Packages containing polished thin sections of samples from either the Lunar or Meteorite collections have been prepared. Each set of twelve sections of Apollo lunar samples or twelve sections of meteorites is available for loan from JSC. The thin sections sets are designed for use in domestic college and university courses in petrology. The loan period is very strict and limited to two weeks. Contact Ms. Mary Luckey, Education Sample Curator. Email address: mary.k.luckey@nasa.gov Each set of slides is accompanied by teaching materials and a sample disk of representative lunar or meteorite samples. It is important to note that the samples in these sets are not exactly the same as the ones listed here. This list represents one set of samples. A key education resource available on the Curation website is Antarctic Meteorite Teaching Collection: Educational Meteorite Thin Sections, originally compiled by Bevan French, Glenn McPherson, and Roy Clarke and revised by Kevin Righter in 2010. Curation Websites College and university staff and students are encouraged to access the Lunar Petrographic Thin Section Set Publication and the Meteorite Petrographic Thin Section Package Resource which feature many thin section images and detailed descriptions of the samples, research results. http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/Education/index.cfm Request research samples: http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/ JSC-CURATION-EDUCATION-DISKS@mail.nasa.govLunar Thin Sections; Meteorite Thin Sections;

  1. U-Pb isotopic systematics of shock-loaded and annealed baddeleyite: Implications for crystallization ages of Martian meteorite shergottites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niihara, Takafumi; Kaiden, Hiroshi; Misawa, Keiji; Sekine, Toshimori; Mikouchi, Takashi

    2012-08-01

    Shock-recovery and annealing experiments on basalt-baddeleyite mixtures were undertaken to evaluate shock effects on U-Pb isotopic systematics of baddeleyite. Shock pressures up to 57 GPa caused fracturing of constituent phases, mosaicism of olivine, maskelynitization of plagioclase, and melting, but the phase transition from monoclinic baddeleyite structure to high-pressure/temperature polymorphs of ZrO2 was not confirmed. The U-Pb isotopic systems of the shock-loaded baddeleyite did not show a large-scale isotopic disturbance. The samples shock-recovered from 47 GPa were then employed for annealing experiments at 1000 or 1300 °C, indicating that the basalt-baddeleyite mixture was almost totally melted except olivine and baddeleyite. Fine-grained euhedral zircon crystallized from the melt was observed around the relict baddeleyite in the sample annealed at 1300 °C for 1 h. The U-Pb isotopic systems of baddeleyite showed isotopic disturbances: many data points for the samples annealed at 1000 °C plotted above the concordia. Both radiogenic lead loss/uranium gain and radiogenic lead gain/uranium loss were observed in the baddeleyite annealed at 1300 °C. Complete radiogenic lead loss due to shock metamorphism and subsequent annealing was not observed in the shock-loaded/annealed baddeleyites studied here. These results confirm that the U-Pb isotopic systematics of baddeleyite are durable for shock metamorphism. Since shergottites still preserve Fe-Mg and/or Ca zonings in major constituent phases (i.e. pyroxene and olivine), the shock effects observed in Martian baddeleyites seem to be less intense compared to that under the present experimental conditions. An implication is that the U-Pb systems of baddeleyite in shergottites will provide crystallization ages of Martian magmatic rocks.

  2. Comparison of Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) on Martian Meteorite NWA 7034 to ChemCam Observations at Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gordon, S.; Newsom, H. E.; Agee, C. B.; Santos, A. R.; Clegg, S. M.; Wiens, R. C.; Lasue, J.; Sautter, V.

    2014-12-01

    The ChemCam instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover uses laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyze rock and soil targets on Mars from up to 7 m away. The Nd:KGW laser can shoot up to 1000 shots at one location and profile up to 1 mm depth into a rock. Identical LIBS instrumentation is located at Los Alamos National Laboratory and was used to analyze martian meteorite NWA 7034, a non-SNC basaltic breccia whose bulk composition matches the martian surface. Initial LIBS analysis of NWA 7034 included observations on two basaltic clasts in the meteorite. Electron microprobe analysis (EPMA) was performed on the two clasts for comparison with elemental compositions measured using LIBS. The two instruments give similar compositions of major oxides within the error of both techniques. EPMA analysis was also completed on three light-toned clasts and a dark-toned clast in the meteorite. The light-toned clasts have Al/Si vs. (Fe+Mg)/Si compositions ranging from felsic to mafic, and the dark-toned clast shows a mafic composition. A Sammon's map was created to compare LIBS data for NWA 7034 and ChemCam targets Stark, Crestaurum, Link, Portage, Jake_M, Mara, Thor_Lake, Coronation, Pearson, and Prebble. This nonlinear statistical mapping technique is used for clustering assessment of LIBS data in two dimensions. The map shows NWA 7034 clustering in its own location, and the closest similar ChemCam rock targets are La_Reine and Ashuamipi, which are both coarse grained targets that have a mafic component consistent with augite. The most similar ChemCam soil targets are the Crestaurum and Portage. Creation of maps with a greater number of targets will show more of the similarities between NWA 7034 and ChemCam target rocks and soils. Further analysis will compare NWA 7034 LIBS data, data from the paired meteorite NWA 7533, and a variety of ChemCam targets that are similar in morphology and texture.

  3. Studies of the Martian Magnetic Field

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Russell, C. T.

    1998-01-01

    This report covers two awards: the first NAGW-2573 was awarded to enable participation in the Mars 94 mission that slipped to become the Mars 96 mission. Upon the unfortunate failure of Mars 96 to achieve its intended trajectory, the second grant was awarded to closeout the Mars 96 activities. Our initial efforts concentrated on assisting our colleagues: W. Riedler, K. Schwingenschuh, K. Gringanz, M. Verigin and Ye. Yeroshenko with advice on the development of the magnetic field portion of the investigation and to help them with test activities. We also worked with them to properly analyze the Phobos magnetic field and plasma data in order to optimize the return from the Mars 94/96 mission. This activity resulted in 18 papers on Mars scientific topics, and two on the instrumentation. One of these latter two papers was the last of the papers written, and speaks to the value of the closeout award. These 20 papers are listed in the attached bibliography. Because we had previously studied Venus and Titan and since it was becoming evident that the magnetic field was very weak, we compared the various properties of the Martian interaction with those of the analogous interactions at Venus and Titan while other papers simply analyzed the properties of the interaction as Phobos 2 observed them. One very interesting observation was the identification of ions picked up in the solar wind, originating in Mars neutral atmosphere. These had been predicted by our earlier observation of cyclotron waves at the proton gyrofrequency in the region upstream from Mars in the solar wind. Of course, the key question we addressed was that of the intrinsic or induced nature of the Martian magnetic field. We found little evidence for the former and much for the latter point of view. We also discussed the instrumentation planned for the Mars balloon and the instrumentation on the orbiter. In all these studies were very rewarding despite the short span of the Phobos data. Although they did not

  4. Evidence from Olivine-Hosted Melt Inclusions that the Martian Mantle has a Chondritic D/H Ratio and that Some Young Basalts have Assimilated Old Crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Usui, Tomohiro; Alexander, O'D.; Wang, J.; Simon, J. I.; Jones, J. H.

    2012-01-01

    Magmatic degassing of volatile elements affects the climate and near-surface environment of Mars. Telescopic and meteorite studies have revealed that the Martian atmosphere and near-surface materials have D/H ratios 5-6 times terrestrial values [e.g., 1, 2]. Such high D/H ratios are interpreted to result from the preferential loss of H relative to heavier D from the Martian atmosphere, assuming that the original Martian water inventory had a D/H ratio similar to terrestrial values and to H in primitive meteorites [e.g., 1, 3]. However, the primordial Martian D/H ratio has, until now, not been well constrained. The uncertainty over the Martian primordial D/H ratio has arisen both from the scarcity of primitive Martian meteorites and as a result of contamination by terrestrial and, perhaps, Martian surface waters that obscure the signature of the Martian mantle. This study reports a comprehensive dataset of magmatic volatiles and D/H ratios in Martian primary magmas based on low-contamination, in situ ion microprobe analyses of olivine-hosted melt inclusions from both depleted [Yamato 980459 (Y98)] and enriched [Larkman Nunatak 06319 (LAR06)] Martian basaltic meteorites. Analyses of these primitive melts provide definitive evidence that the Martian mantle has retained a primordial D/H ratio and that young Martian basalts have assimilated old Martian crust.

  5. Wet inside and out? Constraints on water in the Martian mantle and on outgassed water, based on melt inclusions in SNC meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcsween, H. Y., Jr.; Harvey, R. P.

    1993-01-01

    Constraints on the volatile inventory and outgassing history of Mars are critical to understanding the origin of ancient valley systems and paleoclimates. Planetary accretion models for Mars allow either a volatile-rich or volatile-poor mantle, depending on whether the accreted materials were fully oxidized or whether accretion was homogeneous so that water was lost through reaction with metallic iron. The amount of water that has been outgassed from the interior is likewise a contentious subject, and estimates of globally distributed water based on various geochemical and geological measurements vary from a few meters to more than a thousand meters. New data on SNC meteorites, which are thought to be Martian igneous rocks, provide constraints on both mantle and outgassed water.

  6. Meteorite crater impact study: a new way to study seismology at school with exciting experiments, and an example of meteorite astroblema in France (Rochechouart)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrer, Diane; Berenguer, Jean-Luc; MacMurray, Andrew

    2016-04-01

    The InSIGHT mission to Mars (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) supported by NASA, IPGP and CNES, is a great opportunity for teachers and pupils to study the Red planet, but also to study other fields of geology at school, such as seismology. With our pupils, we are following the InSight mission and we look forward to analyze seismic data registered by the SEIS seismometer , once it will be available (the InSight mission will launch in 2018 from California, and will land to Mars in 2018 or 2019). As this mission needs meteorite impacts to generate seismic waves ( to discover the Martian interior structure) , we've decided to model those meteorite strikes in the classroom. With our pupils, we've modeled meteorite impact craters with different impactors , such as tennis balls, baseballs, or pingpong balls, and used an analogue substratum made by flour and cocoa. Then, we kept on going our geophysical investigation , studying several parameters. For instance, we've studied the link between size of impactor and size of crater , the link between mass of impactor and Crater Formation, and the link between velocity of impactor and crater formation. In this geophysical approach , potential energy and kinetic energy can be introduced in terms of energy transfer as the impactor falls ( calculation of the velocity of impact and plotting that against crater diameter using v = (2gh)1/2). For each crater formation made in class by students, we have registered seismological data thanks to Audacity software, and study the seismic signal propagation. This exemple of hands-on activity with pupils, and its wide range of geophysical calculation shows how we can do simple experiment modeling meteorite crater impact and exploit registered seismological data at school. We've finaly focused our work with the very famous example of the astroblema of Rochechouart in the South-west of France ( crater formation : - 214 My) , in which it's easy to

  7. The mineralogic evolution of the Martian surface through time: Implications from chemical reaction path modeling studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Plumlee, G. S.; Ridley, W. I.; Debraal, J. D.; Reed, M. H.

    1993-01-01

    Chemical reaction path calculations were used to model the minerals that might have formed at or near the Martian surface as a result of volcano or meteorite impact driven hydrothermal systems; weathering at the Martian surface during an early warm, wet climate; and near-zero or sub-zero C brine-regolith reactions in the current cold climate. Although the chemical reaction path calculations carried out do not define the exact mineralogical evolution of the Martian surface over time, they do place valuable geochemical constraints on the types of minerals that formed from an aqueous phase under various surficial and geochemically complex conditions.

  8. Lunar and Meteorite Thin Sections for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, J.; Galindo, C.; Luckey, M.; Reustle, J.; Todd, N.; Allen, C.

    2012-01-01

    The Johnson Space Center (JSC) has the unique responsibility to curate NASA's extraterrestrial samples from past and future missions. Curation includes documentation, preservation, preparation, and distribution of samples for research, education, and public outreach. Between 1969 and 1972 six Apollo missions brought back 382 kilograms of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust from the lunar surface. JSC also curates meteorites collected on US expeditions to Antarctica including rocks from Moon, Mars, and many asteroids including Vesta. Studies of rock and soil samples from the Moon and meteorites continue to yield useful information about the early history of the Moon, the Earth, and the inner solar system.

  9. Combining meteorites and missions to explore Mars.

    PubMed

    McCoy, Timothy J; Corrigan, Catherine M; Herd, Christopher D K

    2011-11-29

    Laboratory studies of meteorites and robotic exploration of Mars reveal scant atmosphere, no evidence of plate tectonics, past evidence for abundant water, and a protracted igneous evolution. Despite indirect hints, direct evidence of a martian origin came with the discovery of trapped atmospheric gases in one meteorite. Since then, the study of martian meteorites and findings from missions have been linked. Although the meteorite source locations are unknown, impact ejection modeling and spectral mapping of Mars suggest derivation from small craters in terrains of Amazonian to Hesperian age. Whereas most martian meteorites are young (< 1.3 Ga), the spread of whole rock isotopic compositions results from crystallization of a magma ocean > 4.5 Ga and formation of enriched and depleted reservoirs. However, the history inferred from martian meteorites conflicts with results from recent Mars missions, calling into doubt whether the igneous histor y inferred from the meteorites is applicable to Mars as a whole. Allan Hills 84001 dates to 4.09 Ga and contains fluid-deposited carbonates. Accompanying debate about the mechanism and temperature of origin of the carbonates came several features suggestive of past microbial life in the carbonates. Although highly disputed, the suggestion spurred interest in habitable extreme environments on Earth and throughout the Solar System. A flotilla of subsequent spacecraft has redefined Mars from a volcanic planet to a hydrologically active planet that may have harbored life. Understanding the history and habitability of Mars depends on understanding the coupling of the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. Sample return that brings back direct evidence from these diverse reservoirs is essential.

  10. Combining meteorites and missions to explore Mars.

    PubMed

    McCoy, Timothy J; Corrigan, Catherine M; Herd, Christopher D K

    2011-11-29

    Laboratory studies of meteorites and robotic exploration of Mars reveal scant atmosphere, no evidence of plate tectonics, past evidence for abundant water, and a protracted igneous evolution. Despite indirect hints, direct evidence of a martian origin came with the discovery of trapped atmospheric gases in one meteorite. Since then, the study of martian meteorites and findings from missions have been linked. Although the meteorite source locations are unknown, impact ejection modeling and spectral mapping of Mars suggest derivation from small craters in terrains of Amazonian to Hesperian age. Whereas most martian meteorites are young (< 1.3 Ga), the spread of whole rock isotopic compositions results from crystallization of a magma ocean > 4.5 Ga and formation of enriched and depleted reservoirs. However, the history inferred from martian meteorites conflicts with results from recent Mars missions, calling into doubt whether the igneous histor y inferred from the meteorites is applicable to Mars as a whole. Allan Hills 84001 dates to 4.09 Ga and contains fluid-deposited carbonates. Accompanying debate about the mechanism and temperature of origin of the carbonates came several features suggestive of past microbial life in the carbonates. Although highly disputed, the suggestion spurred interest in habitable extreme environments on Earth and throughout the Solar System. A flotilla of subsequent spacecraft has redefined Mars from a volcanic planet to a hydrologically active planet that may have harbored life. Understanding the history and habitability of Mars depends on understanding the coupling of the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. Sample return that brings back direct evidence from these diverse reservoirs is essential. PMID:21969535

  11. Combining meteorites and missions to explore Mars

    PubMed Central

    McCoy, Timothy J.; Corrigan, Catherine M.; Herd, Christopher D. K.

    2011-01-01

    Laboratory studies of meteorites and robotic exploration of Mars reveal scant atmosphere, no evidence of plate tectonics, past evidence for abundant water, and a protracted igneous evolution. Despite indirect hints, direct evidence of a martian origin came with the discovery of trapped atmospheric gases in one meteorite. Since then, the study of martian meteorites and findings from missions have been linked. Although the meteorite source locations are unknown, impact ejection modeling and spectral mapping of Mars suggest derivation from small craters in terrains of Amazonian to Hesperian age. Whereas most martian meteorites are young (< 1.3 Ga), the spread of whole rock isotopic compositions results from crystallization of a magma ocean > 4.5 Ga and formation of enriched and depleted reservoirs. However, the history inferred from martian meteorites conflicts with results from recent Mars missions, calling into doubt whether the igneous histor y inferred from the meteorites is applicable to Mars as a whole. Allan Hills 84001 dates to 4.09 Ga and contains fluid-deposited carbonates. Accompanying debate about the mechanism and temperature of origin of the carbonates came several features suggestive of past microbial life in the carbonates. Although highly disputed, the suggestion spurred interest in habitable extreme environments on Earth and throughout the Solar System. A flotilla of subsequent spacecraft has redefined Mars from a volcanic planet to a hydrologically active planet that may have harbored life. Understanding the history and habitability of Mars depends on understanding the coupling of the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. Sample return that brings back direct evidence from these diverse reservoirs is essential. PMID:21969535

  12. Study of the Circumstance of Meteorites "Northwest Africa" Finds Contribution to an Appropriate Renomenclature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ouknine, L.; Kliri, F.; Ibhi, A.

    2016-08-01

    This work tries to respond to solicitations from researchers of the region to highlight the meteorites recovered in Morocco and neighboring countries. The objectives assigned to this study are the contextualization of the finds of meteorites NWA.

  13. Shock Experiments on Basalt - Ferric Sulfate Mixes at 21 GPa & 49 GPa and their Relevance to Martian Meteorite Impact Glasses

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Ross, D. K.; See, T. H.; Nyquist, L. E.; Sutton, S.; Asimow, P.

    2013-01-01

    Large abundance of Martian atmospheric gases and neutron-induced isotopic excesses as well as Rb-Sr isotopic variations determined in some impact glasses in basaltic shergottites (e.g., Shergotty #DBS, Zagami #H1 and EET79001 #27, #8 and #104) provide definitive evidence for the occurrence of a Martian regolith component in their constituent mineral assemblages. Some of these glass-es, known as gas-rich impact-melts (GRIM), contain numerous micron-sized iron sulfide blebs along with minor amounts of iron sulfate particulates. As these GRIM glasses contain a Martian regolith component and as iron sulfates (but not sulfides) are found to occur abundantly on the Mars surface, we suggested that the sulfide blebs in GRIMs were likely generated by shock-reduction of the parental iron sulfate bearing regolith material that had been incorporated into the cavities/crevices of basaltic host rock prior to the impact event on Mars. To test whether the sulfates could be reduced to sulfides by impact shock, we carried out laboratory shock experiments on a basalt plus ferric sulfate mixture at 49 GPa at the Caltech Shock Wave Laboratory and at 21 GPa at Johnson Space Center (JSC) Experimental Impact Laboratory. The experimental details and the preliminary results for the Caltech 49 GPa experiment were presented at LPSC last year. Here, we report the results for the 21 GPa experiment at JSC and compare these results to obtain further insight into the mechanism of the bleb formation in the GRIM glasses.

  14. Dating the Martian meteorite Zagami by the 87Rb-87Sr isochron method with a prototype in situ resonance ionization mass spectrometer

    PubMed Central

    Scott Anderson, F; Levine, Jonathan; Whitaker, Tom J

    2015-01-01

    RATIONALE The geologic history of the Solar System builds on an extensive record of impact flux models, crater counts, and ∼270 kg of lunar samples analyzed in terrestrial laboratories. However, estimates of impactor flux may be biased by the fact that most of the dated Apollo samples were only tenuously connected to an assumed geologic context. Moreover, uncertainties in the modeled cratering rates are significant enough to lead to estimated errors for dates on Mars and the Moon of ∼1 Ga. Given the great cost of sample return missions, combined with the need to sample multiple terrains on multiple planets, we have developed a prototype instrument that can be used for in situ dating to better constrain the age of planetary samples. METHODS We demonstrate the first use of laser ablation resonance ionization mass spectrometry for 87Rb-87Sr isochron dating of geological specimens. The demands of accuracy and precision have required us to meet challenges including regulation of the ambient temperature, measurement of appropriate backgrounds, sufficient ablation laser intensity, avoidance of the defocusing effect of the plasma created by ablation pulses, and shielding of our detector from atoms and ions of other elements. RESULTS To test whether we could meaningfully date planetary materials, we have analyzed a piece of the Martian meteorite Zagami. In each of four separate measurements we obtained 87Rb-87Sr isochron ages for Zagami consistent with its published age, and, in both of two measurements that reached completion, we obtained better than 200 Ma precision. Combining all our data into a single isochron with 581 spot analyses gives an 87Rb-87Sr age for this specimen of 360 ±90 Ma. CONCLUSIONS Our analyses of the Zagami meteorite represent the first successful application of resonance ionization mass spectrometry to isochron geochronology. Furthermore, the technique is miniaturizable for spaceflight and in situ dating on other planetary bodies. © 2014 The

  15. Oxygen Fugacity of the Martian Mantle from Pigeonite/Melt Partitioning of Samarium, Europium and Gadolinium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Musselwhite, D. S.; Jnes, J. H.; Shearer, C.

    2004-01-01

    This study is part of an ongoing effort to calibrate the pyroxene/melt REE oxybarometer for conditions relevant to the martian meteorites. These efforts have been motivated by reports of redox variations among the shergottites . We have conducted experiments on martian composition pigeonite/melt rare earth element partitioning as a function of fO2.

  16. Magnetic Study of Paris Meteorite: a Partially Differentiated Parent Body?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cournède, C.; Gattacceca, J.; Rochette, P.; Zanda, B.

    2011-12-01

    The Paris meteorite is a unique carbonaceous CM chondrite find with almost no traces of terrestrial weathering [1]. Contrary to others CM chondrites, that contain abundant magnetite formed during aqueous alteration on their parent body, Paris is characterized by the coexistence of magnetite and abundant metallic Fe-Ni. We conducted a magnetic study (magnetic properties and paleomagnetism) of several oriented samples of this meteorite, with masses ranging from several mg up to 17 g. Preliminary rock magnetism results confirm that Paris has a magnetic mineralogy that is notably different from that of other CM chondrites, with a dominant FeNi metal, and minor magnetite. This corroborate that Paris suffered less aqueous alteration than other CM chondrites. Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility shows that Paris is also one of the most anisotropic CM chondrite, and that it has a homogeneous fabric at least at the centimeter-scale. The comparison of the remanent magnetization obtained for metal-rich and magnetite-rich samples may have provided constraints on the magnetic fields present before and after accretion respectively. Unfortunately, paleomagnetic data show that the meteorite has been exposed to strong artificial magnetic field (magnet), precluding the study of the possible soft natural magnetization carried by FeNi. However, a high-coercivity magnetization is still preserved in the meteorite. It is homogeneous in direction and intensity at the scale of the meteorite. We interpret it as a pre-terrestrial component acquired on the parent body in a field on 3 ± 1 μT (estimated with the method described in [2]). In view of its coercivity (up to 120 mT) we suppose that this magnetization is carried by fine-grained magnetite (although thermal and chemical demagnetization experiments are needed to confirm this hypothesis). In this case, because crystallization of magnetite likely occurred several Myr after the formation of the solar system [3], i.e. after the possible

  17. Yamato 980459: Crystallization of Martian Magnesian Magma

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koizumi, E.; Mikouchi, T.; McKay, G.; Monkawa, A.; Chokai, J.; Miyamoto, M.

    2004-01-01

    Recently, several basaltic shergottites have been found that include magnesian olivines as a major minerals. These have been called olivinephyric shergottites. Yamato 980459, which is a new martian meteorite recovered from the Antarctica by the Japanese Antarctic expedition, is one of them. This meteorite is different from other olivine-phyric shergottites in several key features and will give us important clues to understand crystallization of martian meteorites and the evolution of Martian magma.

  18. Liquid Water on Mars: The Story from Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    2000-05-01

    Two studies shed light on the nature and timing of alteration by water of rocks from Mars. One is an experimental study of the alteration of a rock similar to Martian meteorites, conducted by Leslie Baker, Deborah Agenbroad, and Scott Wood (University of Idaho). They exposed crushed pieces of terrestrial lava flows to water at 23 C and 75 C and normal atmospheric pressure, and to hot water at 200 C to 400 C and a pressure 1000 times normal atmospheric to see what minerals would form. On the basis of a detailed comparison between the experimental products and the Martian meteorites Baker and colleagues conclude that the rocks from which Martian meteorites derived were intermittently exposed to water or water vapor; they were not exposed for a long time to large volumes of water. In an independent study, a team led by Tim Swindle (University of Arizona) tried to determine the time of formation of a reddish-brown alteration product in the Martian meteorite Lafayette. This meteorite appears to have formed from magma 1.3 billion years ago, but the rusty-looking weathering product, a mixture of clay minerals, iron oxide, and iron hydride, formed long after the original rock had crystallized. Although the precise time is not pinned down, their measurements indicate formation during the past 650 million years. Taken together, these studies suggest that water flowed intermittently on the surface of Mars during the past 650 million years.

  19. Carbonates in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 formed at 18 ± 4 °C in a near-surface aqueous environment

    PubMed Central

    Halevy, Itay; Fischer, Woodward W.; Eiler, John M.

    2011-01-01

    Despite evidence for liquid water at the surface of Mars during the Noachian epoch, the temperature of early aqueous environments has been impossible to establish, raising questions of whether the surface of Mars was ever warmer than today. We address this problem by determining the precipitation temperature of secondary carbonate minerals preserved in the oldest known sample of Mars’ crust—the approximately 4.1 billion-year-old meteorite Allan Hills 84001 (ALH84001). The formation environment of these carbonates, which are constrained to be slightly younger than the crystallization age of the rock (i.e., 3.9 to 4.0 billion years), has been poorly understood, hindering insight into the hydrologic and carbon cycles of earliest Mars. Using “clumped” isotope thermometry we find that the carbonates in ALH84001 precipitated at a temperature of approximately 18 °C, with water and carbon dioxide derived from the ancient Martian atmosphere. Furthermore, covarying carbonate carbon and oxygen isotope ratios are constrained to have formed at constant, low temperatures, pointing to deposition from a gradually evaporating, subsurface water body—likely a shallow aquifer (meters to tens of meters below the surface). Despite the mild temperatures, the apparently ephemeral nature of water in this environment leaves open the question of its habitability. PMID:21969543

  20. Carbonates in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 formed at 18 +/- 4 degrees C in a near-surface aqueous environment.

    PubMed

    Halevy, Itay; Fischer, Woodward W; Eiler, John M

    2011-10-11

    Despite evidence for liquid water at the surface of Mars during the Noachian epoch, the temperature of early aqueous environments has been impossible to establish, raising questions of whether the surface of Mars was ever warmer than today. We address this problem by determining the precipitation temperature of secondary carbonate minerals preserved in the oldest known sample of Mars' crust--the approximately 4.1 billion-year-old meteorite Allan Hills 84001 (ALH84001). The formation environment of these carbonates, which are constrained to be slightly younger than the crystallization age of the rock (i.e., 3.9 to 4.0 billion years), has been poorly understood, hindering insight into the hydrologic and carbon cycles of earliest Mars. Using "clumped" isotope thermometry we find that the carbonates in ALH84001 precipitated at a temperature of approximately 18 °C, with water and carbon dioxide derived from the ancient Martian atmosphere. Furthermore, covarying carbonate carbon and oxygen isotope ratios are constrained to have formed at constant, low temperatures, pointing to deposition from a gradually evaporating, subsurface water body--likely a shallow aquifer (meters to tens of meters below the surface). Despite the mild temperatures, the apparently ephemeral nature of water in this environment leaves open the question of its habitability. PMID:21969543

  1. Carbonates in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 formed at 18 +/- 4 degrees C in a near-surface aqueous environment.

    PubMed

    Halevy, Itay; Fischer, Woodward W; Eiler, John M

    2011-10-11

    Despite evidence for liquid water at the surface of Mars during the Noachian epoch, the temperature of early aqueous environments has been impossible to establish, raising questions of whether the surface of Mars was ever warmer than today. We address this problem by determining the precipitation temperature of secondary carbonate minerals preserved in the oldest known sample of Mars' crust--the approximately 4.1 billion-year-old meteorite Allan Hills 84001 (ALH84001). The formation environment of these carbonates, which are constrained to be slightly younger than the crystallization age of the rock (i.e., 3.9 to 4.0 billion years), has been poorly understood, hindering insight into the hydrologic and carbon cycles of earliest Mars. Using "clumped" isotope thermometry we find that the carbonates in ALH84001 precipitated at a temperature of approximately 18 °C, with water and carbon dioxide derived from the ancient Martian atmosphere. Furthermore, covarying carbonate carbon and oxygen isotope ratios are constrained to have formed at constant, low temperatures, pointing to deposition from a gradually evaporating, subsurface water body--likely a shallow aquifer (meters to tens of meters below the surface). Despite the mild temperatures, the apparently ephemeral nature of water in this environment leaves open the question of its habitability.

  2. Natural dissociation of olivine to (Mg,Fe)SiO3 perovskite and magnesiowüstite in a shocked Martian meteorite

    PubMed Central

    Miyahara, Masaaki; Ohtani, Eiji; Ozawa, Shin; Kimura, Makoto; El Goresy, Ahmed; Sakai, Takeshi; Nagase, Toshiro; Hiraga, Kenji; Hirao, Naohisa; Ohishi, Yasuo

    2011-01-01

    We report evidence for the natural dissociation of olivine in a shergottite at high-pressure and high-temperature conditions induced by a dynamic event on Mars. Olivine (Fa34-41) adjacent to or entrained in the shock melt vein and melt pockets of Martian meteorite olivine-phyric shergottite Dar al Gani 735 dissociated into (Mg,Fe)SiO3 perovskite (Pv)+magnesiowüstite (Mw), whereby perovskite partially vitrified during decompression. Transmission electron microscopy observations reveal that microtexture of olivine dissociation products evolves from lamellar to equigranular with increasing temperature at the same pressure condition. This is in accord with the observations of synthetic samples recovered from high-pressure and high-temperature experiments. Equigranular (Mg,Fe)SiO3 Pv and Mw have 50–100 nm in diameter, and lamellar (Mg,Fe)SiO3 Pv and Mw have approximately 20 and approximately 10 nm in thickness, respectively. Partitioning coefficient, KPv/Mw = [FeO/MgO]/[FeO/MgO]Mw, between (Mg,Fe)SiO3 Pv and Mw in equigranular and lamellar textures are approximately 0.15 and approximately 0.78, respectively. The dissociation of olivine implies that the pressure and temperature conditions recorded in the shock melt vein and melt pockets during the dynamic event were approximately 25 GPa but 700 °C at least. PMID:21444781

  3. Microbiological study of the Murchison CM2 meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pikuta, Elena V.; Hoover, Richard B.

    2012-10-01

    In 1864, Louis Pasteur attempted to cultivate living microorganisms from pristine samples of the Orgueil CI1 carbonaceous meteorite. His results were negative and never published, but recorded it in his laboratory notebooks. At that time, only aerobic liquid or agar-based organic reach media were used, as his research on anaerobes had just started. In our laboratory the Murchison CM2 carbonaceous meteorite was selected to expand on these studies for microbiological study by cultivation on anaerobic mineral media. Since the surface could have been more easily contaminated, interior fragments of a sample of the Murchison meteorite were extracted and crushed under sterile conditions. The resulting powder was then mixed in anoxic medium and injected into Hungate tubes containing anaerobic media with various growth substrates at different pH and salinity and incubated at different temperatures. The goal of the experiments was to determine if living cells would grow from the material of freshly fractured interior fragments of the stone. If any growth occurred, work could then be carried out to assess the nature of the environmental contamination by observations of the culture growth (rates of speed and biodiversity); live/dead fluorescent staining to determine contamination level and DNA analysis to establish the microbial species present. In this paper we report the results of that study.

  4. Noble gases in 18 Martian meteorites and angrite Northwest Africa 7812—Exposure ages, trapped gases, and a re-evaluation of the evidence for solar cosmic ray-produced neon in shergottites and other achondrites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieler, R.; Huber, L.; Busemann, H.; Seiler, S.; Leya, I.; Maden, C.; Masarik, J.; Meier, M. M. M.; Nagao, K.; Trappitsch, R.; Irving, A. J.

    2016-02-01

    We present noble gas data for 16 shergottites, 2 nakhlites (NWA 5790, NWA 10153), and 1 angrite (NWA 7812). Noble gas exposure ages of the shergottites fall in the 1-6 Ma range found in previous studies. Three depleted olivine-phyric shergottites (Tissint, NWA 6162, NWA 7635) have exposure ages of ~1 Ma, in agreement with published data for similar specimens. The exposure age of NWA 10153 (~12.2 Ma) falls in the range of 9-13 Ma reported for other nakhlites. Our preferred age of ~7.3 Ma for NWA 5790 is lower than this range, and it is possible that NWA 5790 represents a distinct ejection event. A Tissint glass sample contains Xe from the Martian atmosphere. Several samples show a remarkably low (21Ne/22Ne)cos ratio < 0.80, as previously observed in a many shergottites and in various other rare achondrites. This was explained by solar cosmic ray-produced Ne (SCR Ne) in addition to the commonly found galactic cosmic ray-produced Ne, implying very low preatmospheric shielding and ablation loss. We revisit this by comparing measured (21Ne/22Ne)cos ratios with predictions by cosmogenic nuclide production models. Indeed, several shergottites, acalpulcoites/lodranites, angrites (including NWA 7812), and the Brachina-like meteorite LEW 88763 likely contain SCR Ne, as previously postulated for many of them. The SCR contribution may influence the calculation of exposure ages. One likely reason that SCR nuclides are predominantly detected in meteorites from rare classes is because they usually are analyzed for cosmogenic nuclides even if they had a very small (preatmospheric) mass and hence low ablation loss.

  5. Mineralogic and petrologic studies of lunar samples and meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, J. A.

    1980-01-01

    Experimental and thermodynamic research on the pressure temperature limits of the stability of the mineral assemblages found in pristine, spinel bearing lunar highland lithologies demonstrated the likelihood that the minerals originated in the lower stratigraphic levels of the primordial crust. The phase equilibrium in silicate solid/liquid systems of planetary importance were thermochemically interpreted in order to model the early formation of the crusts and maneles of Earth and Moon sized planets. The petrography and chemical composition of coarse grained gabbro, the chemical analysis and age dating of clasts from Apollo 16 breccia, the analysis of glass particles from Apollo 16 soil samples, the study of Allende and Mokoia meteorites as a source of information about events in the solar nebula, and the hydrothermal alteration of amorphous materials were also investigated. The capabilities of a model for addressing the problem of the origin of the Earth's moon by the disruptive capture mechanism are examined as well as models of the thermal evolution of hypothetical meteorite bodies. Progress in determining the composition of stony meteorite specimens collected at the Allan Hills site during the Antarctic field exploration is reported.

  6. A High Resolution Microprobe Study of EETA79001 Lithology C

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2010-01-01

    Antarctic meteorite EETA79001 has received substantial attention for possibly containing a component of Martian soil in its impact glass (Lithology C) [1]. The composition of Martian soil can illuminate near-surface processes such as impact gardening [2] and hydrothermal and volcanic activity [3,4]. Impact melts in meteorites represent our most direct samples of Martian regolith. We present the initial findings from a high-resolution electron microprobe study of Lithology C from Martian meteorite EETA79001. As this study develops we aim to extract details of a potential soil composition and to examine Martian surface processes using elemental ratios and correlations.

  7. Timeline of Martian Volcanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martel, L. M. V.

    2011-05-01

    A recent study of Martian volcanism presents a timeline of the last major eruptions from 20 large volcanoes, based on the relative ages of caldera surfaces determined by crater counting. Stuart Robbins, Gaetano Di Achille, and Brian Hynek (University of Colorado) counted craters on high-resolution images from the the Context Camera (CTX) on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to date individual calderas, or terraces within calderas, on the 20 major Martian volcanoes. Based on their timeline and mapping, rates and durations of eruptions and transitions from explosive to effusive activity varied from volcano to volcano. The work confirms previous findings by others that volcanism was continuous throughout Martian geologic history until about one to two hundred million years ago, the final volcanic events were not synchronous across the planet, and the latest large-scale caldera activity ended about 150 million years ago in the Tharsis province. This timing correlates well with the crystallization ages (~165-170 million years) determined for the youngest basaltic Martian meteorites.

  8. Indigenous Carbonaceous Matter in the Nakhla Mars Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2016-01-01

    Detailed microanalysis of the Martian meteorite Nakhla has shown there are morphologically distinct carbonaceous features spatially associated with low-T aqueous alteration phases including salts and id-dingsite. A comprehensive suite of analytical instrumentation including optical microscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), two-step laser mass spectrometry (mu-L(sup 2)MS), laser mu-Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) are being used to characterize the carbonaceous matter and host mineralogy. The search for carbonaceous matter on Mars has proved challenging. Viking Landers failed to unambiguously detect simple organics at either of the two landing sites although the Martian surface is estimated to have acquired at least 10(exp15) kg of C as a consequence of meteoritic accretion over the last several Ga. The dearth of organics at the Martian surface has been attributed to various oxidative processes including UV photolysis and peroxide activity. Consequently, investigations of Martian organics need to be focused on the sub-surface regolith where such surface processes are either severely attenuated or absent. Fortuitously since Martian meteorites are derived from buried regolith materials they provide a unique opportunity to study Martian organic geochemistry.

  9. A new approach to cosmogenic corrections in 40Ar/39Ar chronometry: Implications for the ages of Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassata, W. S.; Borg, L. E.

    2016-08-01

    Anomalously old 40Ar/39Ar ages are commonly obtained from Shergottites and are generally attributed to uncertainties regarding the isotopic composition of the trapped component and/or the presence of excess 40Ar. Old ages can also be obtained if inaccurate corrections for cosmogenic 36Ar are applied. Current methods for making the cosmogenic correction require simplifying assumptions regarding the spatial homogeneity of target elements for cosmogenic production and the distribution of cosmogenic nuclides relative to trapped and reactor-derived Ar isotopes. To mitigate uncertainties arising from these assumptions, a new cosmogenic correction approach utilizing the exposure age determined on an un-irradiated aliquot and step-wise production rate estimates that account for spatial variations in Ca and K is described. Data obtained from NWA 4468 and an unofficial pairing of NWA 2975, which yield anomalously old ages when corrected for cosmogenic 36Ar using conventional techniques, are used to illustrate the efficacy of this new approach. For these samples, anomalous age determinations are rectified solely by the improved cosmogenic correction technique described herein. Ages of 188 ± 17 and 184 ± 17 Ma are obtained for NWA 4468 and NWA 2975, respectively, both of which are indistinguishable from ages obtained by other radioisotopic systems. For other Shergottites that have multiple trapped components, have experienced diffusive loss of Ar, or contain excess Ar, more accurate cosmogenic corrections may aid in the interpretation of anomalous ages. The trapped 40Ar/36Ar ratios inferred from inverse isochron diagrams obtained from NWA 4468 and NWA 2975 are significantly lower than the Martian atmospheric value, and may represent upper mantle or crustal components.

  10. Lunar Mare Basalts as Analogues for Martian Volcanic Compositions: Evidence from Visible, Near-IR, and Thermal Emission Spectroscopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graff, T. G.; Morris, R. V.; Christensen, P. R.

    2003-01-01

    The lunar mare basalts potentially provide a unique sample suite for understanding the nature of basalts on the martian surface. Our current knowledge of the mineralogical and chemical composition of the basaltic material on Mars comes from studies of the basaltic martian meteorites and from orbital and surface remote sensing observations. Petrographic observations of basaltic martian meteorites (e.g., Shergotty, Zagami, and EETA79001) show that the dominant phases are pyroxene (primarily pigeonite and augite), maskelynite (a diaplectic glass formed from plagioclase by shock), and olivine [1,2]. Pigeonite, a low calcium pyroxene, is generally not found in abundance in terrestrial basalts, but does often occur on the Moon [3]. Lunar samples thus provide a means to examine a variety of pigeonite-rich basalts that also have bulk elemental compositions (particularly low-Ti Apollo 15 mare basalts) that are comparable to basaltic SNC meteorites [4,5]. Furthermore, lunar basalts may be mineralogically better suited as analogues of the martian surface basalts than the basaltic martian meteorites because the plagioclase feldspar in the basaltic Martian meteorites, but not in the lunar surface basalts, is largely present as maskelynite [1,2]. Analysis of lunar mare basalts my also lead to additional endmember spectra for spectral libraries. This is particularly important analysis of martian thermal emission spectra, because the spectral library apparently contains a single pigeonite spectrum derived from a synthetic sample [6].

  11. An abiotic origin for hydrocarbons in the Allan Hills 84001 martian meteorite through cooling of magmatic and impact-generated gases

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shock, E. L.

    2000-01-01

    Thermodynamic calculations of metastable equilibria were used to evaluate the potential for abiotic synthesis of aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001. The calculations show that PAHs and normal alkanes could form metastably from CO, CO2, and H2 below approximately 250-300 degrees C during rapid cooling of trapped magmatic or impact-generated gases. Depending on temperature, bulk composition, and oxidation-reduction conditions, PAHs and normal alkanes can form simultaneously or separately. Moreover, PAHs can form at lower H/C ratios, higher CO/CO2 ratios, and higher temperatures than normal alkanes. Dry conditions with H/C ratios less than approximately 0.01-0.001 together with high CO/CO2 ratios also favor the formation of unalkylated PAHs. The observed abundance of PAHs, their low alkylation, and a variable but high aromatic to aliphatic ratio in ALH 84001 all correspond to low H/C and high CO/CO2 ratios in magmatic and impact gases and can be used to deduce spatial variations of these ratios. Some hydrocarbons could have been formed from trapped magmatic gases, especially if the cooling was fast enough to prevent reequilibration. We propose that subsequent impact heating(s) in ALH 84001 could have led to dissociation of ferrous carbonates to yield fine-grain magnetite, formation of a CO-rich local gas phase, reduction of water vapor to H2, reequilibration of the trapped magmatic gases, aromatization of hydrocarbons formed previously, and overprinting of the synthesis from magmatic gases, if any. Rapid cooling and high-temperature quenching of CO-, H2-rich impact gases could have led to magnetite-catalyzed hydrocarbon synthesis.

  12. Experimental studies of oblique impact. [of meteorites on planetary surfaces

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gault, D. E.; Wedekind, J. A.

    1978-01-01

    Meteoritic materials most probably impact planetary bodies along oblique trajectories inclined less than 45 deg above their surfaces. Laboratory studies of hypervelocity impacts against rock and particulate media are presented that indicate important effects of obliquity on crater size, shape, and ejecta distribution. The effects are particularly important to crater size-frequency analyses and geologic interpretations of crater formations. Impacts at shallow incidence, which are not uncommon, lead to ricochet of the impacting object accompanied with some entrained excavated materials at velocities only slightly reduced from the pre-impact value.

  13. Experimental Studies of Phase Equilibria of Meteorites and Planetary Bodies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stolper, Edward M.

    2005-01-01

    The primary theme of this project was the application of experimental petrology and geochemistry to a variety of problems in meteoritics and planetary geology. The studies were designed to help develop constraints on the histories of primitive meteorites and their components, the environments in which they formed and evolved, and to understand quantitatively the processes involved in the evolution of igneous rocks on the earth and other planetary bodies. We undertook several projects relating to the origin of CAIs and chondrules. Systematics in the thermodynamic properties of CAI-like liquids were investigated and used to elucidate speciation of multi-valent cations and sulfide capacity of silicate melts and to constrain redox conditions and the vapor pressures of volatile species over molten chondrules. We experimentally determined vanadium speciation in meteoritic pyroxenes and in pyroxenes crystallized from CAI-like melts under very reducing conditions. We also found that bulk oxygen isotope compositions of chondrules in the moderately unequilibrated LL chondrites are related to the relative timing of plagioclase crystallization. We completed an experimental study on the vaporization of beta-SiC and SiO2 (glass or cristobalite) in reducing gases and established the conditions under which these presolar grains could have survived in the solar nebula. We expanded our technique for determining the thermodynamic properties of minerals and liquids to iron-bearing systems. We determined activity-composition relationships in Pt-Fe, Pt-Cr and Pt-Fe-Cr alloys. Results were used to determine the thermodynamic properties of chromite-picrochromite spinels including the free energy of formation of end-member FeCr2O4. We also established a new approach for evaluating Pt-Fe saturation experiments. We calculated the T-fO2 relationships in equilibrated ordinary chondrites and thereby constrained the conditions of metamorphism in their parent bodies.

  14. Durham, North Carolina, Students Study Martian Volcanism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This image of the wall of a graben a depressed block of land between two parellel faults in Tyrrhena Terra, in Mars' ancient southern highlands, was taken by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) at 0914 UTC (4:14 a.m. EST) on February 6, 2008, near 17.3 degrees south latitude, 95.5 degrees east longitude. CRISM's image was taken in 544 colors covering 0.36-3.92 micrometers, and shows features as small as 35 meters (115 feet) across. The region covered is just over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide at its narrowest point.

    This image was part of an investigation planned by students in four high schools in Durham, North Carolina. The students are working with the CRISM science team in a project called the Mars Exploration Student Data Teams (MESDT), which is part of NASA's Mars Public Engagement Program and Arizona State University's Mars Education Program. Starting with a medium-resolution map of the area, taken as part of CRISM's 'multispectral survey' campaign to map Mars in 72 colors at 200 meters (660 feet) per pixel, the students identified a key rock outcrop to test their hypothesis that the irregular depression was formed by Martian volcanism. They provided the coordinates of the target to CRISM's operations team, who took a high-resolution image of the site. The Context Imager (CTX) accompanied CRISM with a 6 meter (20 feet) per pixel, high-resolution image to sharpen the relationship of spectral variations to the underlying surface structures. The Durham students worked with a mentor on the CRISM team to analyze the data, and presented their results at the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held in League City, Texas, on March 10-14, 2008.

    The upper panel of the image shows the location of the CRISM data and the surrounding, larger CTX image, overlain on an image mosaic taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on Mars Odyssey. The mosaic has been color-coded for elevation using data from the Mars

  15. New electron microscopy techniques of the study of meteoritic metal.

    SciTech Connect

    Michael, Joseph Richard; Goldstein, Joseph I.; Kotula, Paul Gabriel; Jones, R. H.

    2005-02-01

    Metallic Phases in extraterrestrial materials are composed of Fe-Ni with minor amounts of Co, P, Si, Cr, etc. Electron microscopy techniques (SEM, TEM, EPMA, AEM) have been used for almost 50 years to study micron and submicron microscopic features in the metal phases (Fig. 1) such as clear taenite, cloudy zone, plessite, etc [1,2]. However lack of instrumentation to prepare TEM thin foils in specific sample locations and to obtain micro-scale crystallographic data have limited these investigations. New techniques such as the focused ion beam (FIB) and the electron backscatter electron diffraction (EBSD) techniques have overcome these limitations. The application of the FIB instrument has allowed us to prepare {approx}10 um long by {approx} 5um deep TEM thin sections of metal phases from specific regions of metal particles, in chondrites, irons and stony iron meteorites, identified by optical and SEM observation. Using a FEI dual beam FIB we were able to study very small metal particles in samples of CH chondrites [3] and zoneless plessite (ZP) in ordinary chondrites. Fig. 2 shows a SEM photomicrograph of a {approx}40 um ZP particle in Kernouve, a H6 chondrite. Fig. 3a,b shows a TEM photograph of a section of the FIB prepared TEM foil of the ZP particle and a Ni trace through a tetrataenite/kamacite region of the particle. It has been proposed that the Widmanstatten pattern in low P iron meteorites forms by martensite decomposition, via the reaction {gamma} {yields} {alpha}{sub 2} + {gamma} {yields} {alpha} + {gamma} in which {alpha}{sub 2}, martensite, decomposes to the equilibrium {alpha} and {gamma} phases during the cooling process [4]. In order to show if this mechanism for Widmanstatten pattern formation is correct, crystallographic information is needed from the {gamma} or taenite phases throughout a given meteorite. The EBSD technique was employed in this study to obtain the orientation of the taenite surrounding the initial martensite phase and the

  16. Numerical Model Studies of the Martian Mesoscale Circulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Segal, M.; Arritt, R. W.

    1996-01-01

    Studies concerning mesoscale topographical effects on Martian flows examined low-level jets in the near equatorial latitudes and the dynamical intensification of flow by steep terrain. Continuation of work from previous years included evaluating the dissipation of cold air mass outbreaks due to enhanced sensible heat flux, further sensitivity and scaling evaluations for generalization of the characteristics of Martian mesoscale circulation caused by horizontal sensible heat-flux gradients, and evaluations of the significance that non-uniform surface would have on enhancing the polar CO2 ice sublimation during the spring. The sensitivity of maximum and minimum atmospheric temperatures to changes in wind speed, surface albedo, and deep soil temperature was investigated.

  17. Craters of the Moon National Monument as a Terrestrial Mars Analog: Examination of Mars Analog Phosphate Minerals, Phosphate Mineral Shock-Recovery Experiments, and Phosphate Minerals in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adcock, C. T.; Hausrath, E.; Tschauner, O. D.; Udry, A.

    2015-12-01

    Martian analogs, meteorites, and data from unmanned missions have greatly advanced our understanding of martian surface and near-surface processes. In particular, terrestrial analogs allow us to investigate Mars-relevant geomorphic, geochemical, petrogenetic, and hydrologic processes, as well as potential habitability. Craters of the Moon National Monument (COTM), located on the Snake River Plain of Idaho in the United States, represents a valuable phosphate-rich Mars analog, allowing us to examine phosphate minerals, important as volatile indicators and potential nutrient providers, under Mars-relevant conditions. COTM is in an arid to semi-arid environment with sub-freezing lows much of the year. Though wetter than present day Mars (24 - 38 cm MAP) [1], COTM may be analogous to a warmer and wetter past Mars. The area is also the locale of numerous lava flows, a number of which have been dated (2,000 to >18,000 y.b.p.) [2]. The flows have experienced weathering over time and thus represent a chronosequence with application to weathering on Mars. The flows have unusual chemistries, including high average phosphate contents (P2O5 1.75 wt% n=23 flows) [2], close to those in rocks analyzed at Gusev Crater, Mars (P2O5 1.79 wt% n=18 rocks) [3]. The Mars-like high phosphorus contents indicate a potential petrogenetic link and are also of astrobiological interest. Further, current samples of Mars phosphate minerals are limited to meteorites which have been heavily shocked - COTM represents a potential pre-shock and geochemical analog to Mars. We investigated weathering on COTM basalts and shock effects on Mars-relevant phosphate minerals. We used scanning electron microscopy, backscattered electron imagery, and X-Ray analysis/mapping to investigate COTM thin sections. Synchrotron diffraction was used to investigate martian meteorites and laboratory shocked Mars/COTM-relevant minerals for comparison. Results of our investigations indicate porosity development correlates

  18. The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 101

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruzicka, Alex; Grossman, Jeffrey; Bouvier, Audrey; Herd, Christopher D. K.; Agee, Carl B.

    2015-09-01

    Meteoritical Bulletin 101 contains 2639 meteorites accepted by the Nomenclature Committee in 2012, including 1 fall (Battle Mountain), with 2308 ordinary chondrites, 156 carbonaceous chondrites, 63 HED achondrites, 17 relict meteorites, 16 Rumuruti chondrites, 15 enstatite chondrites, 15 ureilites, 10 iron meteorites, 9 lunar meteorites, 9 primitive achondrites, 8 ungrouped achondrites, 7 mesosiderites, 4 Martian meteorites, and 2 Pallasites, and with 1812 from Antarctica, 437 from Asia, 301 from Africa, 43 from South America, 21 from Europe (including Russia), 21 from North America, 3 from Oceania, and 1 from unknown. Information about approved meteorites can be obtained from the Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MBD) available on line at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/.

  19. Engine system assessment study using Martian propellants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelaccio, D.; Jacobs, M.; Collins, J.; Scheil, C.; Meyer, M.

    1992-07-01

    A feasibility study was performed that identified and characterized promising chemical propulsion system designs that utilize two or more of the propellant combinations: LOX/H2, LOX/CH4 and LOX/CO. The engine systems examined focused on the usage of common subsystem/component hardware where feasible. From the evaluation baseline employed, tripropellant MTV LOX cooled and bipropellant LEV and MEV engine systems are identified.

  20. Engine system assessment study using Martian propellants

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pelaccio, Dennis; Jacobs, Mark; Scheil, Christine; Collins, John

    1992-01-01

    A top-level feasibility study was conducted that identified and characterized promising chemical propulsion system designs which use two or more of the following propellant combinations: LOX/H2, LOX/CH4, and LOX/CO. The engine systems examined emphasized the usage of common subsystem/component hardware where possible. In support of this study, numerous mission scenarios were characterized that used various combinations of Earth, lunar, and Mars propellants to establish engine system requirements to assess the promising engine system design concept examined, and to determine overall exploration leverage of such systems compared to state-of-the-art cryogenic (LOX/H2) propulsion systems. Initially in the study, critical propulsion system technologies were assessed. Candidate expander and gas generator cycle LOX/H2/CO, LOX/H2/CH4, and LOX/CO/CH4 engine system designs were parametrically evaluated. From this evaluation baseline, tripropellant Mars Transfer Vehicle (MTV) LOX cooled and bipropellant Lunar Excursion Vehicle (LEV) and Mars Excursion Vehicle (MEV) engine systems were identified. Representative tankage designs for a MTV were also investigated. Re-evaluation of the missions using the baseline engine design showed that in general the slightly lower performance, smaller, lower weight gas generator cycle-based engines required less overall mission Mars and in situ propellant production (ISPP) infrastructure support compared to the larger, heavier, higher performing expander cycle engine systems.

  1. Engine system assessment study using Martian propellants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelaccio, Dennis; Jacobs, Mark; Scheil, Christine; Collins, John

    1992-06-01

    A top-level feasibility study was conducted that identified and characterized promising chemical propulsion system designs which use two or more of the following propellant combinations: LOX/H2, LOX/CH4, and LOX/CO. The engine systems examined emphasized the usage of common subsystem/component hardware where possible. In support of this study, numerous mission scenarios were characterized that used various combinations of Earth, lunar, and Mars propellants to establish engine system requirements to assess the promising engine system design concept examined, and to determine overall exploration leverage of such systems compared to state-of-the-art cryogenic (LOX/H2) propulsion systems. Initially in the study, critical propulsion system technologies were assessed. Candidate expander and gas generator cycle LOX/H2/CO, LOX/H2/CH4, and LOX/CO/CH4 engine system designs were parametrically evaluated. From this evaluation baseline, tripropellant Mars Transfer Vehicle (MTV) LOX cooled and bipropellant Lunar Excursion Vehicle (LEV) and Mars Excursion Vehicle (MEV) engine systems were identified. Representative tankage designs for a MTV were also investigated. Re-evaluation of the missions using the baseline engine design showed that in general the slightly lower performance, smaller, lower weight gas generator cycle-based engines required less overall mission Mars and in situ propellant production (ISPP) infrastructure support compared to the larger, heavier, higher performing expander cycle engine systems.

  2. Moessbauer and Electron Microprobe Studies of Density Separates of Martian Nakhlite Mil03346: Implications for Interpretation of Moessbauer Spectra Acquired by the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, R. V.; McKay, G. A.; Agresti, D. G.; Li, Loan

    2008-01-01

    Martian meteorite MIL03346 is described as an augite-rich cumulate rock with approx.80%, approx.3%, and approx.21% modal phase proportions of augite (CPX), olivine and glassy mesostasis, respectively, and is classified as a nakhlite [1]. The Mossbauer spectrum for whole rock (WR) MIL 03346 is unusual for Martian meteorites in that it has a distinct magnetite subspectrum (7% subspectral area) [2]. The meteorite also has products of pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration ("iddingsite") that is associated primarily with the basaltic glass and olivine. The Mossbauer spectrometers on the Mars Exploration Rovers have measured the Fe oxidation state and the Fe mineralogical composition of rocks and soils on the planet s surface since their landing in Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum in January, 2004 [3,4]. The MIL 03346 meteorite provides an opportunity to "ground truth" or refine Fe phase identifications. This is particularly the case for the so-called "nanophase ferric oxide" (npOx) component. NpOx is a generic name for a ferric rich product of oxidative alteration. On Earth, where we can take samples apart and study individual phases, examples of npOx include ferrihydrite, schwertmannite, akagaaneite, and superparamagnetic (small particle) goethite and hematite. It is also possible for ferric iron to be associated to some unknown extent with igneous phases like pyroxene. We report here an electron microprobe (EMPA) and Moessbauer (MB) study of density separates of MIL 03346. The same separates were used for isotopic studies by [5]. Experimental techniques are described by [6,7].

  3. The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 102

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruzicka, Alex; Grossman, Jeffrey; Bouvier, Audrey; Herd, Christopher D. K.; Agee, Carl B.

    2015-09-01

    Meteoritical Bulletin 102 contains 3141 meteorites including 12 falls (Boumdeid (2003), Boumdeid (2011), Braunschweig, Chelyabinsk, Dongyang, Draveil, Heyetang, Indian Butte, Katol, Ladkee, Ouadangou, Xining), with 2611 ordinary chondrites, 264 HED achondrites, 124 carbonaceous chondrites, 30 ureilites, 20 Martian meteorites, 16 primitive achondrites, 16 Rumuruti chondrites, 15 mesosiderites, 12 iron meteorites, 10 lunar meteorites, 9 enstatite chondrites, 4 enstatite achondrites, 4 Pallasites, 4 ungrouped achondrites, and 2 angrites, and with 1708 from Antarctica, 956 from Africa, 294 from South America, 126 from Asia, 47 from North America, 6 from Europe (including Russia), and 4 from Oceania. Information about approved meteorites can be obtained from the Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MBD) available on line at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/.

  4. Lunar and Meteorite Thin Sections for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, J.; Galindo, C.; Luckey, M.; Reustle, J.; Todd, N.; Allen, C.

    2012-03-01

    Lunar and meteorite thin sections sets are available from JSC Curation for loans to domestic university petrology classes. See the new website for information http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/Education/index.cfm.

  5. Graphitic carbon in the Allende meteorite: a microstructural study

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, P.P.K.; Buseck, P.R.

    1981-04-17

    High-resolution transmission electron microscopy shows that carbon in the Allende carbonaceous chondrite meteorite is predominantly a poorly crystalline graphite. Such material is of interest as an important carrier of the isotopically anomalous noble gases found in carbonaceous chondrites.

  6. Graphitic carbon in the Allende meteorite: a microstructural study.

    PubMed

    Smith, P P; Buseck, P R

    1981-04-17

    High-resolution transmission electron microscopy, shows that carbon in the Allende carbonaceous chondrite meteorite is predominantly a poorly crystalline graphite. Such material is of interest as an important carrier of the isotopically anomalous noble gases found in carbonaceous chondrites.

  7. Allende meteorite: a high-voltage electron petrographic study.

    PubMed

    Green, H W; Radcliffe, S V; Heuer, A H

    1971-05-28

    Electron-transparent sections of the Allende meteorite, a carbonaceous chondrite, have been prepared by ion-thinning and examined by high-voltage (800-kilovolt) transmission electron microscopy. The matrix crystals, mainly olivine, range in size from approximately 5 to approximately 0.01 micrometers; carbon is present as intergranular films of poorly crystalline graphite. The chondrules exhibit extensive radiation damage, a feature lacking in the matrix. In addition, both chondrules and matrix are undeformed and contain negative crystals; submicroscopic exsolution lamellae are present in pyroxenes. Comparison of the substructure in the Allende meteorite with that in the Parnallee meteorite and in lunar and selected terrestrial rocks leads to the conclusion that chondrule irradiation preceded cold accretion during formation of the solar system and that the meteorite has since been undisturbed.

  8. Thermoluminescence and the shock and reheating history of meteorites. II - Annealing studies of the Kernouve meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sears, D. W. G.; Bakhtiar, N.; Keck, B. D.; Weeks, K. S.

    1984-01-01

    Samples of the unshocked, equilibrated chondrite, Kernouve (H6), have been annealed for 1-100 hours at 500-1200 C, their thermoluminescence sensitivity measured and Na, K, Mn, Ca, and Sc determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis. The TL sensitivity decreased with temperature until by 1000 C it had fallen by 40 percent. The process responsible has an activation energy of 8 kcal/mole and probably involves diffusion. Samples annealed 1000-1200 C had TL sensitivities 0.01 times the unannealed values, most of the decrease occurring at 1100 C. This process has an activation energy of 100 kcal/mole and is probably related to the melting of the TL phosphor, feldspar, with some decomposition and loss of Cs, Na and K. Meteorites whose petrography indicates heating above 1100 C by natural shock heating events (shock facies d-f), have TL sensitivities similar to samples annealed above 1100 C.

  9. Calorimetric thermometry of meteoritic troilite: A feasibility study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allton, J. H.; Gooding, J. L.

    1993-01-01

    Two solid-state phase transitions in troilite (FeS) can be readily measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) on samples of only a few milligrams. Troilite from the Mundrabilla iron meteorite displays a DSC fingerprint which is distinct from that of terrestrial troilite from Del Norte Co., California; their response to subsequent heating also differ significantly. Further work may establish whether troilite thermometry of meteorites is possible using DSC.

  10. Recent documented meteorite falls, a review of meteorite - asteroid links

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenniskens, P.

    2014-07-01

    Since the previous Meteoroids 2010 meeting, 25 confirmed meteorite falls have been reported, and one additional meteorite was linked tentatively to an observed fireball. All but two of those are classified as ordinary chondrites. Sutter's Mill is a rare carbonaceous chondrite, while Martian meteorite Tissint is a Shergotite. For 18 of these falls the associated fireball was observed, but only four provided a pre-atmospheric orbit derived from video and photographic records. Results were published for Sutter's Mill, Novato, and Chelyabinsk, providing insight into the asteroid belt source regions for CM2, L and LL type chondrites, respectively. Proposed meteorite-asteroid links are discussed.

  11. SNC Meteorites and Martian Reservoirs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.

    2002-01-01

    Jones first suggested that the inverse covariation of initial epsilon (Nd-143) and Sr-87/Sr-86 of the shergottites could be explained by interaction between mantle-derived magmas with another isotopic reservoir(s) (i.e., assimilation or contamination). In that model, magmas were generated in a source region that was isotopically similar to the Nakhla source and the second reservoir(s) was presumed to be crust. The text also permitted the second reservoir to be another type of mantle, but I can confirm that a second mantle reservoir was never seriously considered by that author. Other features of this model were that (i) it occurred at a particular time, 180 m.y. ago, and (ii) the interacting reservoirs had been separated at approximately 4.5 b.y. In a later paper Jones explored this mixing model more quantitatively and concluded that magmas from a Nakhla-like source region at 180 m.y. would fall on or near an isotopic Nd-Sr-Pb hyperplane defined by the shergottites. This criterion was a necessary prerequisite for the parent magma(s) of the shergottites to have initially been Nakhla-like isotopically. At this juncture, it is perhaps worthwhile to note that this mixing model was not presented to explain geochemical variations but as a justification for a 180 m.y. crystallization age for the shergottites and a 1.3 b.y. crystallization age for the nakhlites. In the mid-1980's crystallization ages estimated for Nakhla ranged from approximately 1.3 b.y to 4.5 b.y. Similarly, preferred crystallization ages for the shergottites ranged from 360 m.y., to 1.3 b.y., to 4.5 b.y. In all these models, the 180 m.y. event seen in the shergottites was deemed to be metamorphic. The fit between the Nakhla-like source region and the shergottite hyperplane was a validation both of the 1.3 b.y. igneous age of Nakhla and the 180 m.y. igneous age of the shergottites.

  12. Two Distinct Secondary Carbonate Species in OC Meteorites from Antarctica are Possible Analogs for Mars Carbonates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Evans, M. E.; Niles, P. B.; Locke, D. R.; Chapman, P.

    2016-01-01

    Meteorites falling in Antarctica are captured in ice and stored until the glacial flow transports them to the surface where they can be collected. Prior to collection, they are altered during interactions between the rock, the cryosphere, and the hydrosphere. The purpose of this study is to characterize the stable isotope values of terrestrial, secondary carbonate minerals from Ordinary Chondrite (OC) meteorites collected in Antarctica. This facilitates better understanding of terrestrial weathering in martian meteorites as well as mechanisms for weathering in cold, arid environments as an analog to Mars. OC samples were selected for analysis based upon size and collection proximity to known martian meteorites. They were also selected based on petrologic type (3+) such that they were likely to be carbonate-free before falling to Earth.

  13. A multi-instrument Exomars study of meteoroid effects on the Martian environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christou, A. A.; Griffiths, A. D.; McAuliffe, J. P.; Koschny, D.; Paetzold, M.; Oberst, J.; Trigo-Rodriguez, J. M.; Vaubaillon, J.; Withers, P.; Chappelow, J. E.; Patel, M. R.

    2008-09-01

    Mars, like the Earth, encounters meteoroids of various sizes, composition and origin during its orbital trek around the Sun. Those meteoroids' mass and kinetic energy are incorporated into the Martian environment through: atmospheric ablation and deposition of meteoroid constituents in the upper atmosphere; efficient atmospheric braking leading to a meteorite on the surface; and hard impact, resulting in luminous flares (and/or plumes), seismic shaking and crater excavation [1]. These effects have been modelled theoretically but in situ measurements needed to test these models have hitherto been lacking. The Exomars instrument suite presents an excellent opportunity to carry out such observations and compare with similar processes detected at the Earth and Moon. The following investigations that we advocate promote synergism between the different instruments, require no hardware modification or space qualification of "soft" mission resources such as inflight software and provide maximum science for the effort. Meteor activity at Mars would be punctuated by annually recurring showers and occasional outbursts with pronounced effects on the Martian atmosphere and surface [2, 3, 4, 5]. These, mostly cometary, meteoroids, have been delivering prebiotic material to Mars for the past 4.5 Gyr. As the present Martian atmosphere has similarities with that of the early Earth, the astrobiological relevance of meteor showers as exogenous sources of organics and water for both Earth and Mars is obvious. These events can now be predicted with sufficient reliability both at Mars [4] and the Earth (eg [6, 7]) to justify targeted observational campaigns. Relevant measurements include: dual-eye panoramic camera detection of visible meteors in the Martian sky using existing flight-qualified change-detection software to minimise data volume [8]; radio occultation height profiles of ionospheric electron density during the orbital phase of the mission [9] and of the total electron

  14. A Hypothesis for the Abiotic and Non-Martian Origins of Putative Signs of Ancient Martian Life in ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H.

    2001-01-01

    Putative evidence of martian life in ALH84001 can be explained by abiotic and non-martian processes consistent with the meteorite's geological history. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  15. Numerical Model Studies of the Martian Mesoscale Circulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Segal, Moti; Arritt, Raymond W.

    1997-01-01

    The study objectives were to evaluate by numerical modeling various possible mesoscale circulation on Mars and related atmospheric boundary layer processes. The study was in collaboration with J. Tillman of the University of Washington (who supported the study observationally). Interaction has been made with J. Prusa of Iowa State University in numerical modeling investigation of dynamical effects of topographically-influenced flow. Modeling simulations included evaluations of surface physical characteristics on: (i) the Martian atmospheric boundary layer and (ii) their impact on thermally and dynamically forced mesoscale flows. Special model evaluations were made in support of selection of the Pathfinder landing sites. J. Tillman's finding of VL-2 inter-annual temperature difference was followed by model simulations attempting to point out the forcing for this feature. Publication of the results in the reviewed literature in pending upon completion of the manuscripts in preparation as indicated later.

  16. An attempt to comprehend Martian weathering conditions through the analysis of terrestrial palagonite samples

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Douglas, C.; Wright, I. P.; Bell, J. B.; Morris, R. V.; Golden, D. C.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1993-01-01

    Spectroscopic observations of the Martian surface in the invisible to near infrared (0.4-1.0 micron), coupled with measurements made by Viking, have shown that the surface is composed of a mixture of fine-grained weathered and nonweathered minerals. The majority of the weathered components are thought to be materials like smectite clays, scapolite, or palagonite. Until materials are returned for analysis there are two possible ways of proceeding with an investigation of Martian surface processes: (1) the study of weathering products in meteorites that have a Martian origin (SNC's), and (2) the analysis of certain terrestrial weathering products as analogs to the material found in SNC's, or predicted to be present on the Martian surface. We describe some preliminary measurements of the carbon chemistry of terrestrial palagonite samples that exhibit spectroscopic similarities with the Martian surface. The data should aid the understanding of weathering in SNC's and comparisons between terrestrial palagonites and the Martian surface.

  17. Study of Visually Different Areas in the Cheder IID Iron Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muftakhetdinova, R. F.; Grokhovsky, V. I.; Minin, M. G.

    2016-08-01

    In the present work we’ve studied visually different areas of the Cheder meteorite saw-cut fragment. The nature of the differences it was established research structure and the definition of the mechanical properties.

  18. Anhydrous Liquid Line of Descent of Yamato 980459 and Evolution of Martian Parental Magmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rapp, J. F.; Draper, David S.; Mercer, C. M.

    2013-01-01

    Martian basalts represented by the shergottite meteorites reflect derivation from highly depleted mantle sources (high Nd, strong LREE depletions, low fO2)[1-3], with evidence of mixing with a much more enriched and oxidized reservoir, most likely a late-stage product of crystallization of an initial martian magma ocean [3-6]. The martian basaltic meteorites Yamato 980459 (Y98) and QUE 94201 (QUE) have bulk compositions that appear to represent bonafide liquids, rather than products of protracted crystallization. These two meteorites also represent the most primitive and evolved examples of the depleted basaltic shergottite suite. Magmatic liquids serve as effective probes of their source regions, and thus studying the potential relationship between magmas represented by Y98 and QUE can yield important information on the formation and evolution of martian basalts. Although the ages of these meteorites preclude that they are petrogenetically related to each other, they represent the best existing candidates for genuine liquids (other meteorites are suggested to represent liquid compositions, including LAR 06319 [7] and NWA 5789 [8], but only Y98 and QUE have been verified experimentally). They span much of the bulk-compositional range of martian basaltic meteorites, and represent end-member liquid compositions likely to arise from partial melting of the martian mantle. Recent efforts to model Y98-like parent liquid evolution by fractional crystallization using MELTS [6] produced a derivative liquid composition that closely matches QUE bulk composition, although it required a some-what unusual crystallization sequence. Experimental endeavours to verify this result at 1 bar have, however, been inconclusive [9].

  19. Characterizing Asteroid Thermal Properties through the Laboratory Study of Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macke, Robert J.; Consolmagno, Guy J.; Opeil, Cyril P.; Britt, Daniel T.

    2015-11-01

    Asteroid thermal diffusivity is critical to understanding its thermal evolution, and thermal inertia determines its behavior under Yarkovsky effects. These properties are both functions of thermal conductivity, heat capacity, and density. Thermal conductivity and heat capacity both vary with temperature, while thermal conductivity and density are strongly influenced by microporosity. Our survey of low-temperature (175K) heat capacities includes more than 130 meteorites, supplemented by precision temperature-sensitive heat capacities for 6 individual samples. Heat capacities (175K) range from 350 J/kgK for unweathered iron meteorites to 530 J/kgK, with most chondrites between 480 and 520 J/kgK. Heat capacities for unweathered ordinary chondrite falls are within 5% of theoretical models, and as a function of temperature fit a theoretical curve of Cp=A+BT+CT(-2)+DT(-0.5) between 77 and 300 K, and are consistent with mineral data between 20 and 300 K. (Values for A,B,C,D vary by meteorite type.)Thermal conductivities are strong functions of porosity and, below 90 K, strong functions of temperature. Laboratory measurements of several meteorites indicate that between 90 and 300 K, most thermal conductivities vary little with temperature. Below 90 K, thermal conductivity drops off strongly as temperature decreases. Above 2% porosity and 90 K, thermal conductivities correlate linearly with the inverse of porosity. Pore geometry and orientation also affects thermal conductivity; thermal conductivity differs noticeably for the same meteorite sample depending on the direction of heat flow.Given these relations and meteorite data, thermal diffusivity and thermal inertia can be derived over a range of porosities and temperatures for most asteroids. We see that porosity greatly influences both thermal diffusivity and thermal inertia. Even as little as 20% porosity can reduce thermal diffusivity by two orders of magnitude from the nonporous case.

  20. Martian Chlorine Chemistry: A Study of Perchlorate on the Martian Surface, Evidence of an Ongoing Formation Mechanism and Implications of a Complex Chlorine Cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrier, Brandi L.

    2015-10-01

    The research presented herein addresses the detection of perchlorate on Mars, evidence of perchlorate in Mars meteorite EETA 79001, determination of the perchlorate parent salts at the Phoenix landing site, and the ongoing formation of perchlorate from chloride minerals as well as from other oxychlorine species. The detection of perchlorate in three samples by the Phoenix Wet Chemistry Laboratory and the implication of these results are discussed. The further detection of perchlorate in Mars meteorite EETA 79001 by ion chromatography and the determination of the parent salts of the perchlorate detected at the Phoenix landing site by electrochemical analyses and ion chromatography are detailed and the implications of the identity of the parent salts are discussed. The possible formation pathways for martian perchlorate are then explored and a possible mechanism for ongoing perchlorate formation on the martian surface is detailed. Perchlorate is shown to be formed upon exposure of chloride minerals, as well as of chlorite and chlorate salts, to current Mars relevant conditions including temperature, pressure, ultraviolet radiation and atmospheric composition. The implications of this ongoing perchlorate formation for the survival and detection of organics, the oxidizing nature of the soil, formation of liquid brines and recurring slope lineae are discussed. Further preliminary experiments have been conducted to investigate the effects of perchlorate formation on the survival and degradation of organic compounds.

  1. Microdiamonds from Different Meteorite Types: N and Noble Gas Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murty, S. V. S.; Sahijpal, S.; Fisenko, A. V.; Semjonova, L. P.; Shukolyukov, Yu. A.; Goswami, J. N.

    1993-07-01

    Microdiamonds isolated from CV3 and ordinary chondrites have been found to differ from those in CM2 meteorites in their N contents and low-temperature Xe-component (Xe-P3), even though the amounts of Xe-HL and the delta ^15N are similar [1,2]. We undertook a simultaneous study of N and noble gases in diamond-rich separates of Murchison (CM2), Efremovka (CV3), and Krymka (LL3.0) meteorites to identify the association of N and noble gas components in them and to characterize possible differences. Gases are extracted by combustion in 3 torr oxygen at low temperatures (up to 700 degrees C) and by pyrolysis at higher temperatures. Murchison: There are two peak releases. About 60-90% of all gases are released in the 550 degrees C step, which is characterized by the presence of Ne-A2, Xe-HL, and delta ^15N = -330 per mil. The second peak at 1200 degrees C gave delta ^15N = -567 per mil and showed a clear admixture of Ne-E and Xe-S (measured 20/22 = 4.2, 21/22 = 0.018, 130/132 = 0.309), indicating the presence of SiC. The low-temperature steps (400 degrees and 450 degrees C) gave Xe-P3 with an admixture of Xe-HL. These results are in agreement with our earlier analysis of another aliquot of Murchison C delta [3]. Efremovka (DE-4): There is a broad release in the 550 degrees C and 600 degrees C steps and a second peak at 1200 degrees C. We estimate that about 60% and 40% respectively of the sample are combusted at the two low- temperature steps. Although the 550 degrees C and 600 degrees C steps have similar gas amounts (except for Xe), other gases show significant differences in their isotopic compositions. The minimum delta ^15N of -290 per mil (600 degrees C) is much heavier than the typical C delta value of -330 per mil [1]. Xenon in both fractions is pure Xe-HL, while Kr is different [86/82 = 1.67 (550 degrees C) and 1.91 (600 degrees C)]. The 1200 degrees C fraction shows the presence of a small admixture of Ne-E, Xe-S, and Kr-S, but the delta ^15N (-127 per mil ) is

  2. Fall, Searching and First Study of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanova, M. A.; Badyukov, D. D.; Ryazantsev, K. M.; Lorenz, C. A.; Demidova, S. I.; Sadilenko, D. A.; Artemieva, N.; Korochantsev, A. V.; Skripnik, A. Ya.; Ivanov, A. V.; Nazarov, M. A.

    2013-09-01

    On the territory of Russian Federation the Chelyabinsk event was the biggest and the most dramatic observed LL5 chondrite meteorite fall since the Tunguska event. For a moment 99% of the main mass was not found and probably presents atmospheric loss.

  3. Iron Meteorite on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found an iron meteorite on Mars, the first meteorite of any type ever identified on another planet. The pitted, basketball-size object is mostly made of iron and nickel. Readings from spectrometers on the rover determined that composition. Opportunity used its panoramic camera to take the images used in this approximately true-color composite on the rover's 339th martian day, or sol (Jan. 6, 2005). This composite combines images taken through the panoramic camera's 600-nanometer (red), 530-nanometer (green), and 480-nanometer (blue) filters.

  4. On the isotopic composition of magmatic carbon in SNC meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1992-01-01

    SNC meteorites are thought, from many lines of evidence, to come from Mars. A line of investigation which has been pursued in our laboratory over the years involves measurement of the stable isotopic composition of carbon, in its various forms, in SNC meteorites. In order to establish a firm basis for studying the isotopic systematics of carbon in the martian surface environment, it is first necessary to try and constrain the delta C-13 of bulk Mars. Taking all of the available information, it would seem that the delta C-13 of the Earth's mantle lies somewhere in the range of -5 to -7 percent. Preliminary assessment of magnetic carbon in SNC meteorites, would tend to suggest a delta C-13 of 20 to 30 percent, which is conspicuously different from that of the terrestrial mantle. It is not obvious why there should be such a difference between the two planets, although many explanations are possible. One of these possibilities, that previous delta C-13 measurements for magnetic carbon in SNC meteorites are in error to some degree, is being actively investigated. The most recent results seem to constrain the theta C-13 of the magnetic carbon in SNC meteorites to about -20 percent, which is not at odds with previous estimates. As such, it is considered that a detailed investigation of the carbon isotopic systematics of martian surface materials does have the necessary information with which to proceed.

  5. The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 88, 2004 July

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Russell, S.S.; Folco, L.; Grady, M.M.; Zolensky, M.E.; Jones, R.; Righter, K.; Zipfel, J.; Grossman, J.N.

    2004-01-01

    The Meteoritical Bulletin No. 88 lists information for 1610 newly classified meteorites, comprising 753 from Antarctica, 302 from Africa, 505 from Asia (495 of which are from Oman), 40 from North America, 5 from South America, 4 from Europe, and 1 of unknown origin. Information is provided for 9 falls (Alby sur Che??ran, Al Zarnkh, Devgaon, Kamioka, Kendrapara, Maromandia, New Orleans, Sivas, and Villalbeto de la Pen??a). Noteworthy specimens include a eucrite fall (Alby sur Che??ran), 6 martian meteorites, 13 lunar meteorites, and 12 irons including one weighing 3 metric ions (Dronino). ?? Meteoritical Society, 2004.

  6. Martian Igneous Geochemistry: The Nature of the Martian Mantle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Peng, Z. X.; Herrin, J. S.

    2012-01-01

    Mafic igneous rocks probe the interiors of their parent objects, reflecting the compositions and mineralogies of their source regions, and the magmatic processes that engendered them. Incompatible trace element contents of mafic igneous rocks are widely used to constrain the petrologic evolution of planets. We focus on incompatible element ratios of martian meteorites to constrain the petrologic evolution of Mars in the context of magma ocean/cumulate overturn models [1]. Most martian meteorites contain some cumulus grains, but regardless, their incompatible element ratios are close to those of their parent magmas. Martian meteorites form two main petrologic/ age groupings; a 1.3 Ga group composed of clinopyroxenites (nakhlites) and dunites (chassignites), and a <1 Ga group composed of basalts and lherzolites (shergottites).

  7. JSC Mars-1 Martian Soil Simulant: Melting Experiments and Electron Microprobe Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carpenter, P.; Sebille, L.; Boles, W.; Chadwell, M.; Schwarz, L.

    2003-01-01

    JSC Mars-1 has been developed as a Martian regolith simulant, and is the <1 mm size fraction of a palagonitic tephra (a glassy volcanic ash altered at low temperatures) from Pu'u Nene cinder cone on the Island of Hawaii. The Mars-1 simulant forms the basis for numerous terrestrial studies which aim to evaluate the suitability of Martian soil for materials processing. Martian soil may be sintered to form building materials for construction, and also melted or reacted to extract metals for various uses, as well as oxygen for life support.

  8. The Meteoritical Bulletin, no. 85, 2001 September

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grossman, J.N.; Zipfel, J.

    2001-01-01

    Meteoritical Bulletin No. 85 lists information for 1376 newly classified meteorites, comprising 658 from Antarctica, 409 from Africa, 265 from Asia (262 of which are from Oman), 31 from North America, 7 from South America, 3 from Australia, and 3 from Europe. Information is provided for 11 falls (Dergaon, Dunbogan, Gujba, Independence, Itqiy, Mora??vka, Oued el Hadjar, Sayama, Sologne, Valera, and Worden). Noteworthy non-Antarctic specimens include 5 martian meteorites (Dar al Gani 876, Northwest Africa 480 and 817, and Sayh al Uhaymir 051 and 094); 6 lunar meteorites (Dhofar 081, 280, and 287, and Northwest Africa 479, 482, and 773); an ungrouped enstatite-rich meteorite (Itqiy); a Bencubbin-like meteorite (Gujba); 9 iron meteorites; and a wide variety of other interesting stony meteorites, including CH, CK, CM, CO, CR, CV, R, enstatite, and unequilibrated ordinary chondrites, primitive achondrites, HED achondrites, and ureilites.

  9. [Pros and cons for Martian life: scientific debate on ALH84001].

    PubMed

    Yamashita, M

    1997-03-01

    Scientific debate related to possible martian life is summarized in this article. Even there is no firm conclusion yet to convince the existence of life on Mars, intensive studies on the meteorite ALH84001 have invoked many valuable findings. PMID:11540351

  10. Mineralogic and petrologic studies of meteorites and lunar samples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, J. A.

    1984-03-01

    During a 13 year period beginning in 1971, the Extraterrestrial Petrology Group examined lunar soils from all 6 Apollo missions and those returned by the Soviet Luna 16, Luna 20, and Luna 24 missions. In addition, the properties and apparent origin of the carbonaceous chondrites were examined. Chondrules, calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAI) and the fine grained matrix materials that accompany chondrules and CAI's in primitive meteorites were investigated. The effects of planetary hydrothermal alteration of matrix materials in the C1 chondrite was also investigated. Full length papers and extended abstracts published during the grant are listed chronologically.

  11. Synchrotron-based Infrared Microspectroscopy as a Useful Tool to Study Hydration States of Meteorite Constituents

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moroz, L. V.; Schmidt, M.; Schade, U.; Hiroi, T.; Ivanova, M. A.

    2005-01-01

    The meteorites Dho 225 and Dho 735 were recently found in Oman. Studies of their mineralogical and chemical composition suggest that these unusual meteorites are thermally metamorphosed CM2 chondrites [1,2,3]. Similar to Antarctic metamorphosed carbonaceous chondrites, the Dho 225 and Dho 735 are enriched in heavy oxygen compared to normal CMs [1,2]. However, IR studies indicating dehydration of matrix phyllosilicates are needed to confirm that the two new meteorites from Oman are thermally metamorphosed [4]. Synchrotron-based IR microspectroscopy is a new promising technique which allows the acquisition of IR spectra from extremely small samples. Here we demonstrate that this non-destructive technique is a useful tool to study hydration states of carbonaceous chondrites in situ. In addition, we acquired reflectance spectra of bulk powders of the Dho 225 and Dho 735 in the range of 0.3-50 microns.

  12. Albedo Study of the Depositional Fans Associated with Martian Gullies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Craig, J.; Sears, D. W. G.

    2005-03-01

    This work is a two-part investigation of the albedo of the depositional aprons or fans associated with Martian gully features. Using Adobe Systems Photoshop 5.0 software we analyzed numerous Mars Global Surveyor MOC and Mars Odyssey THEMIS images.

  13. Meteorites, Microfossils and Exobiology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoover, Richard B.

    1997-01-01

    The discovery of evidence for biogenic activity and possible microfossils in a Martian meteorite may have initiated a paradigm shift regarding the existence of extraterrestrial microbial life. Terrestrial extremophiles that live in deep granite and hydrothermal vents and nanofossils in volcanic tuffs have altered the premise that microbial life and microfossils are inconsistent with volcanic activity and igneous rocks. Evidence for biogenic activity and microfossils in meteorites can no longer be dismissed solely because the meteoritic rock matrix is not sedimentary. Meteorite impact-ejection and comets provide mechanisms for planetary cross-contamination of biogenic chemicals, microfossils, and living microorganisms. Hence, previously dismissed evidence for complex indigenous biochemicals and possible microfossils in carbonaceous chondrites must be re-examined. Many similar, unidentifiable, biological-like microstructures have been found in different carbonaceous chondrites and the prevailing terrestrial contaminant model is considered suspect. This paper reports the discovery of microfossils indigenous to the Murchison meteorite. These forms were found in-situ in freshly broken, interior surfaces of the meteorite. Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) and optical microscopy images indicate that a population of different biological-like forms are represented. Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy reveals these forms have high carbon content overlaying an elemental distribution similar to the matrix. Efforts at identification with terrestrial microfossils and microorganisms were negative. Some forms strongly resemble bodies previously isolated in the Orgueil meteorite and considered microfossils by prior researchers. The Murchison forms are interpreted to represent an indigenous population of the preserved and altered carbonized remains (microfossils) of microorganisms that lived in the parent body of this meteorite at diverse times during the past 4.5 billion

  14. A Search for Titanium Stable Isotopic Variations in Meteorites and the Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deng, Z. B.; Moynier, F.; van Zuilen, K.; Pringle, E. A.; Chaussidon, M.

    2016-08-01

    We measure Ti stable isotopic composition of reference materials and 27 meteorite samples. All the chondrite groups are undistinguishable from terrestrial igneous rocks, martian meteorites and angrites in Ti stable isotopic composition.

  15. Neon isotope studies of Fayetteville and Kapoeta meteorites and clues to ancient solar activity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Padia, J. T.; Rao, M. N.

    1989-01-01

    Under the assumption that the solar-flare bombardment of the irradiated grains of gas-rich meteorites occurred about 4.5 b.y. ago on the parent body regoliths at 3 A.U., an estimate of the solar cosmic ray-produced Ne-21 is made by studying etched pyroxene minera separates from both light and dark portions of the gas-rich meteorites Fayetteville and Kapoeta. Excesses of solar cosmic ray Ne-21 were observed in dark portions of these meteorites, after accounting for their galactic cosmic ray Ne-21 production and solar flare Ne-21. In order to produce the estimated solar cosmic ray Ne-21 in the present samples, highly enhanced solar cosmic ray proton fluxes from the ancient sun are required.

  16. Laser-microprobe studies of rare gas isotopes in meteorites

    SciTech Connect

    Kirschbaum, C.L.

    1986-01-01

    A new rare gas mass spectrometer of high sensitivity coupled to a laser microprobe extraction system (constructed by the author) is described. The laser microprobe is applied to a long standing problem in cosmochemistry - determining the minerals which carry /sup 129/Xe from the decay of the extinct radioactive isotope /sup 129/I (this /sup 129/Xe is referred to as /sup 129/Xe/sub r/). The /sup 129/Xe/sub r//sup 127/I ratios and the inferred relative formation times of these minerals are also determined. In the Allende meteorite, sodalite (Na/sub 8/(Al/sub 6/Si/sub 6/O/sub 24/)Cl/sub 2/) has been verified to be the major carrier for /sup 129/Xe/sub r/ in fine-grained inclusions. Although the exact mineral phase responsible has not been identified a carrier other than sodalite is also present in matrix from Allende. The /sup 129/Xe/sub r/ of this carrier is physically correlated with trapped xenon in the matrix and has a chlorine/iodine ratio which is lower than the ratio in the fine-grained inclusions. The /sup 129/Xe/sub r///sup 127/I ratios for sodalite from the fine-grained inclusions, and matrix are similar - between 1.25 and 1.35 x 10/sup -4/. This implies an age for these samples within 2 million years of the Bjurbole meteorite (Bjurbole is commonly used as a standard for meteorite formation intervals). The /sup 129/Xe/sub r///sup 127/I ratio of the sample of the fine-grained inclusion in which sodalite was thermally decomposed by laboratory preheating, is 2.4 x 10/sup -4/ or 16 million years before Bjurbole. The alteration-product-free coarse-grained inclusion on the other hand showed a ratio of 3.15 x 10/sup -5/ or 35 million years after Bjurbole. These relative formation intervals are much longer than expected for nebular processes and hence are either due to parent body processes or heterogeneity of the /sup 129/I//sup 127/I ratio in the early solar system.

  17. An Experimental Study of Eu/Gd Partitioning Between a Shergottite Melt and Pigeonite: Implications for the Oxygen Fugacity of the Martian Interior

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McCanta, M. C.; Rutherford, M. J.; Jones, J. H.

    2002-01-01

    We experimentally investigated the partitioning behavior of Eu/Gd between a synthetic shergottite melt and pigeonite as a function of oxygen fugacity. This has implications for the oxidation state of the source region of the martian meteorites. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  18. Ion Microprobe Measurements of Carbon Isotopes in Martian Phosphates: Insights into the Martian Mantle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goreva, J. S.; Leshin, L. A.; Guan, Y.

    2003-03-01

    In-situ measurements of C in the phosphates from meteorites Los Angeles, Zagami, QUE94201 and ALH84001 predict isotopically light martian magmatic C, heavier than previous estimates yet significantly lighter than the terrestrial value.

  19. A comparative study of the hydroxy acids from the Murchison, GRA 95229 and LAP 02342 meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pizzarello, Sandra; Wang, Yi; Chaban, Galina M.

    2010-11-01

    The hydroxy acid suites extracted from the Murchison (MN), GRA 95229 (GRA) and LAP 02342 (LAP) meteorites have been investigated for their molecular, chiral and isotopic composition. Substantial amounts of the compounds have been detected in all three meteorites, with a total abundance that is lower than that of the amino acids in the same stones. Overall, their molecular distributions mirror closely that of the corresponding amino acids and most evidently so for the LAP meteorite. A surprising L-lactic acid enantiomeric excess was found present in all three stones, which cannot be easily accounted by terrestrial contamination; all other compounds of the three hydroxy acid suites were found racemic. The branched-chain five carbon and the diastereomer six-carbon hydroxy acids were also studied vis-a-vis the corresponding amino acids and calculated ab initio thermodynamic data, with the comparison allowing the suggestion that meteoritic hydroxyacid at these chain lengths formed under thermodynamic control and, possibly, at a later stage than the corresponding amino acids. 13C and D isotopic enrichments were detected for many of the meteoritic hydroxy acids and found to vary between molecular species with trends that also appear to correlate to those of amino acids; the highest δD value (+3450‰) was displayed by GRA 2-OH-2-methylbutyric acid. The data suggest that, while the amino- and hydroxy acids likely relate to common presolar precursor, their final distribution in meteorites was determined to large extent by the overall composition of the environments that saw their formation, with ammonia being the determining factor in their final abundance ratios.

  20. Vigie Ciel a collaborative project to study fireballs and organise meteorite recoveries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colas, F.; Zanda, B.; Bouley, S.; Lewin, E.; Vaubaillon, J.; Marmo, C.; Rotaru, M.; Labenne, L.; Julien, J. F.; Linares, M.; Steinhausser, A.; Rault, J. L.; Vernazza, P.

    2015-10-01

    Research on fireballs and meteorites has always been of interest to the public, due to the beauty of shooting stars in the night sky and to the extraterrestrial origin of meteorites. A fireball observation network called FRIPON [1] (Colas et al, 2015) is currently being setup, funded by ANR (Agence Nationale pour la Recherche). It will cover France with 100 cameras and is expected to be operational for the end of 2015. FRIPON will detect fireballs and hence allow us to define meteorite strewn fields within 24h, so that meteorite searches can be launched very early on. Because of the need to search all over France, including in private land, it is important that the general public be aware of our project and be willing to help or participate. Indeed, as the main goal of FRIPON is to recover fresh meteorites (within a few days), our aim is to be able to organize a search with at least 50 persons to scan an area of a few km2 within a week. Help from the public would hence be most helpful but it is also important to have an operational and trained research team. This project thus appears as a unique occasion to involve the public in a scientific project while promoting informal scientific education. This prompted us to set up Vigie-Ciel, a citizen science network centered on meteorite recovery. FRIPON is an open network based on open-source software, it will accept citizenrun cameras. In addition to fireballs, it will allow scientists and Vigie-Ciel participants to study anything that can be observed by all-sky cameras: bird migrations, bats, clouds, lightning, etc. The data will be freely available to all.

  1. Studies of Martian polar regions. [using CO2 flow

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, C. I.; Clark, B. R.; Eschman, D. F.

    1974-01-01

    The flow law determined experimentally for solid CO2 establishes that an hypothesis of glacial flow of CO2 at the Martian poles is not physically unrealistic. Compression experiments carried out under 1 atmosphere pressure and constant strain rate conditions demonstrate that the strength of CO2 near its sublimation point is considerably less than the strength of water ice near its melting point. A plausible glacial model for the Martian polar caps was constructed. The CO2 deposited near the pole would have flowed outward laterally to relieve high internal shear stresses. The topography of the polar caps, and the uniform layering and general extent of the layered deposits were explained using this model.

  2. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Meteorites to and from the Moon and Mars: My Planet or Yours?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The titles in this section include: 1) Meteorites from Mars - Constraints from Numerical Modeling; 2) Iron Oxidation Products in Martian Ordinary Chondrite Finds as Possible Indicators of Liquid Water Exposure at Mars Exploration Rover Landings Sites; 3) Meteorites on Mars; 4) Sulfide Stability of Planetary Basalts; 5) Exposure and Terrestrial Histories of New Lunar and Martian Meteorites.

  3. The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 100, 2014 June

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruzicka, Alex; Grossman, Jeffrey N.; Garvie, Laurence

    2014-08-01

    Meteoritical Bulletin 100 contains 1943 meteorites including 8 falls (Boumdeid [2011], Huaxi, Košice, Silistra, Sołtmany, Sutter's Mill, Thika, Tissint), with 1575 ordinary chondrites, 139 carbonaceous chondrites, 96 HED achondrites, 25 ureilites, 18 primitive achondrites, 17 iron meteorites, 15 enstatite chondrites, 11 lunar meteorites, 10 mesosiderites, 10 ungrouped achondrites, 8 pallasites, 8 Martian meteorites, 6 Rumuruti chondrites, 3 enstatite achondrites, and 2 angrites, and with 937 from Antarctica, 592 from Africa, 230 from Asia, 95 from South America, 44 from North America, 36 from Oceania, 6 from Europe, and 1 from an unknown location. This will be the last Bulletin published in the current format. Information about approved meteorites can be obtained from the Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MBD) available online at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/

  4. A TEM Investigation of the Fine-Grained Matrix of the Martian Basaltic Breccia NWA 7034

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Muttik, N.; Keller, L. P.; Agee, C. B.; McCubbin, F. M.; Santos, A. R.; Rahman, Z.

    2014-01-01

    The martian basaltic breccia NWA 7034 is characterized by fine-grained groundmass containing several different types of mineral grains and lithologic clasts. The matrix composition closely resembles Martian crustal rock and soil composition measured by recent rover and orbiter missions. The first results of NWA 7034 suggest that the brecciation of this martian meteorite may have formed due to eruptive volcanic processes; however, impact related brecciation processes have been proposed for paired meteorites NWA 7533 and NWA 7475]. Due to the very fine grain size of matrix, its textural details are difficult to resolve by optical and microprobe observations. In order to examine the potential nature of brecciation, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies combined with focused ion-beam technique (FIB) has been undertaken. Here we present the preliminary observations of fine-grained groundmass of NWA 7034 from different matrix areas by describing its textural and mineralogical variations and micro-structural characteristics.

  5. Oxygen Fugacity of the Martian Mantle from Pigeonite/Melt Partitioning of Samarium, Europium and Gadolinium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Musselwhite, S.; Jones, J. H.; Shearer, C.

    2004-01-01

    This study is part of an ongoing effort to calibrate the pyroxene/melt Eu oxybarometer for conditions relevant to the martian meteorites. There is fairly good agreement between a determinations using equilibria between Fe-Ti oxides and the estimates from Eu anomalies in shergottite augites in tenns of which meteorites are more or less oxidized. The Eu calibration was for angrite composition pyroxenes which are rather extreme. However, application of a calibration for martian composition augites 113 does not significantly reduce the discrepancy between the two methods. One possible reason for this discrepancy is that augites are non-liquidus. The use of pigeonite rather than augite as the oxy-barometer phase is considered. We have conducted experiments on martian composition pigeonite/melt REE partitioning as a function of fO2.

  6. Mid-infrared study of stones from the Sutter's Mill meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuevo, Michel; Sandford, Scott A.; Flynn, George J.; Wirick, Susan

    2014-11-01

    The Sutter's Mill meteorite fell in northern California on April 22, 2012. Several fragments of the meteorite were recovered, some of them shortly after the fall, others several days later after a heavy rainstorm. In this work, we analyzed several samples of four fragments―SM2, SM12, SM20, and SM30―from the Sutter's Mill meteorite with two infrared (IR) microscopes operating in the 4000-650 cm-1 (2.5-15.4 μm) range. Spectra show absorption features associated with minerals such as olivines, phyllosilicates, carbonates, and possibly pyroxenes, as well as organics. Spectra of specific minerals vary from one particle to another within a given stone, and even within a single particle, indicating a nonuniform mineral composition. Infrared features associated with aliphatic CH2 and CH3 groups associated with organics are also seen in several spectra. However, the presence of organics in the samples studied is not clear because these features overlap with carbonate overtone bands. Finally, other samples collected within days after the rainstorm show evidence for bacterial terrestrial contamination, which indicates how quickly meteorites can be contaminated on such small scales.

  7. Electrochemical studies of iron meteorites: phosphorus redox chemistry on the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bryant, David E.; Greenfield, David; Walshaw, Richard D.; Evans, Suzanne M.; Nimmo, Alexander E.; Smith, Caroline L.; Wang, Liming; Pasek, Matthew A.; Kee, Terence P.

    2009-01-01

    The mineral schreibersite, (Fe,Ni)3P, a ubiquitous component of iron meteorites, is known to undergo anoxic hydrolytic modification to afford a range of phosphorus oxyacids. H-phosphonic acid (H3PO3) is the principal hydrolytic product under hydrothermal conditions, as confirmed here by 31P-NMR spectroscopic studies on shavings of the Seymchan pallasite (Magadan, Russia, 1967), but in the presence of photochemical irradiation a more reduced derivative, H-phosphinic (H3PO2) acid, dominates. The significance of such lower oxidation state oxyacids of phosphorus to prebiotic chemistry upon the early Earth lies with the facts that such forms of phosphorus are considerably more soluble and chemically reactive than orthophosphate, the commonly found form of phosphorus on Earth, thus allowing nature a mechanism to circumvent the so-called Phosphate Problem. This paper describes the Galvanic corrosion of Fe3P, a hydrolytic modification pathway for schreibersite, leading again to H-phosphinic acid as the key P-containing product. We envisage this pathway to be highly significant within a meteoritic context as iron meteorites are polymetallic composites in which dissimilar metals, with different electrochemical potentials, are connected by an electrically conducting matrix. In the presence of a suitable electrolyte medium, i.e., salt water, galvanic corrosion can take place. In addition to model electrochemical studies, we also report the first application of the Kelvin technique to map surface potentials of a meteorite sample that allows the electrochemical differentiation of schreibersite inclusions within an Fe:Ni matrix. Such experiments, coupled with thermodynamic calculations, may allow us to better understand the chemical redox behaviour of meteoritic components with early Earth environments.

  8. An ion microprobe study of CAIs from CO3 meteorites. [Abstract only

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Russell, S. S.; Greenwood, R. C.; Fahey, A. J.; Huss, G. R.; Wasserburg, G. J.

    1994-01-01

    When attempting to interpret the history of Ca, Al-rich inclusions (CAIs) it is often difficult to distinguish between primary features inherited from the nebula and those produced during secondary processing on the parent body. We have undertaken a systematic study of CAIs from 10 CO chondrites, believed to represent a metamorphic sequence with the goal of distinguishing primary and secondary features. ALHA 77307 (3.0), Colony (3.0), Kainsaz (3.1), Felix (3.2), ALH 82101 (3.3), Ornans (3.3), Lance (3.4), ALHA 77003 (3.5), Warrenton (3.6), and Isna (3.7) were examined by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and optical microscopy. We have identified 141 CAIs within these samples, and studied in detail the petrology of 34 inclusions. The primary phases in the lower petrologic types are spinel, melilite, and hibonite. Perovskite, FeS, ilmenite, anorthite, kirschsteinite, and metallic Fe are present as minor phases. Melilite becomes less abundant in higher petrologic types and was not detected in chondrites of type 3.5 and above, confirming previous reports that this mineral easily breaks down during heating. Iron, an element that would not be expected to condense at high temperatures, has a lower abundance in spinel from low-petrologic-type meteorites than those of higher grade, and CaTiO3 is replaced by FeTiO3 in meteorites of higher petrologic type. The abundance of CAIs is similar in each meteorite. Eight inclusions have been analyzed by ion probe. The results are summarized. The results obtained to date show that CAIs in CO meteorites, like those from other meteorite classes, contain Mg* and that Mg in some inclusions has been redistributed.

  9. Iron Redox Systematics of Shergottites and Martian Magmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Righter, Kevin; Danielson, L. R.; Martin, A. M.; Newville, M.; Choi, Y.

    2010-01-01

    Martian meteorites record a range of oxygen fugacities from near the IW buffer to above FMQ buffer [1]. In terrestrial magmas, Fe(3+)/ SigmaFe for this fO2 range are between 0 and 0.25 [2]. Such variation will affect the stability of oxides, pyroxenes, and how the melt equilibrates with volatile species. An understanding of the variation of Fe(3+)/SigmaFe for martian magmas is lacking, and previous work has been on FeO-poor and Al2O3-rich terrestrial basalts. We have initiated a study of the iron redox systematics of martian magmas to better understand FeO and Fe2O3 stability, the stability of magnetite, and the low Ca/high Ca pyroxene [3] ratios observed at the surface.

  10. Meteoric Magnesium Ions in the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pesnell, William Dean; Grebowsky, Joseph

    1999-01-01

    From a thorough modeling of the altitude profile of meteoritic ionization in the Martian atmosphere we deduce that a persistent layer of magnesium ions should exist around an altitude of 70 km. Based on current estimates of the meteoroid mass flux density, a peak ion density of about 10(exp 4) ions/cm is predicted. Allowing for the uncertainties in all of the model parameters, this value is probably within an order of magnitude of the correct density. Of these parameters, the peak density is most sensitive to the meteoroid mass flux density which directly determines the ablated line density into a source function for Mg. Unlike the terrestrial case, where the metallic ion production is dominated by charge-exchange of the deposited neutral Mg with the ambient ions, Mg+ in the Martian atmosphere is produced predominantly by photoionization. The low ultraviolet absorption of the Martian atmosphere makes Mars an excellent laboratory in which to study meteoric ablation. Resonance lines not seen in the spectra of terrestrial meteors may be visible to a surface observatory in the Martian highlands.

  11. Labile trace elements in basaltic achondrites: Can they distinguish between meteorites from the Moon, Mars, and V-type asteroids?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolf, Stephen F.; Wang, Ming-Sheng; Lipschutz, Michael E.

    2009-06-01

    We report data for 14 mainly labile trace elements (Ag, Au, Bi, Cd, Cs, Ga, In, Rb, Sb, Se, Te, Tl, U, and Zn) in eight whole-rock lunar meteorites (Asuka [A-] 881757, Dar al Gani [DaG] 262, Elephant Moraine [EET] 87521, Queen Alexandra Range [QUE] 93069, QUE 94269, QUE 94281, Yamato [Y-] 793169, and Y-981031), and Martian meteorite (DaG 476) and incorporate these into a comparative study of basaltic meteorites from the Moon, Mars, and V-type asteroids. Multivariate cluster analysis of data for these elements in 14 lunar, 13 Martian, and 34 howardite, eucrite, and diogenite (HED) meteorites demonstrate that materials from these three parents are distinguishable using these markers of late, low-temperature episodes. This distinguishability is essentially as complete as that based on markers of high-temperature igneous processes. Concentrations of these elements in 14 lunar meteorites are essentially lognormally distributed and generally more homogeneous than in Martian and HED meteorites. Mean siderophile and labile element concentrations in the 14 lunar meteorites indicate the presence of a CI-equivalent micrometeorite admixture of 2.6% When only feldspathic samples are considered, our data show a slightly higher value of 3.4% consistent with an increasing micrometeorite content in regolith samples of higher maturity. Concentrations of labile elements in the 8 feldspathic samples hint at the presence of a fractionated highly labile element component, possibly volcanic in origin, at a level comparable to the micrometeorite component. Apparently, the process(es) that contributed to establishing lunar meteorite siderophile and labile trace element contents occurred in a system open to highly labile element transport.

  12. Magnetite in Martian Meteorite Mil 03346 and Gusev Adirondack Class Basalt: Mossbauer Evidence for Variability in the Oxidation State of Adirondack Lavas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, R. V.; McKay, G. A.; Ming, D. W.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Schroeder, C.; Rodionov, D.; Yen, A.

    2006-01-01

    The Moessbauer spectrometers on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit (Gusev crater) and Opportunity (Meridiani Planum) have returned information on the oxidation state of iron, the mineralogical composition of Fe-bearing phases, and the distribution of Fe among oxidation states and phases [1,2,3]. To date, approx.100 and approx.85 surface targets have been analyzed by the Spirit and Opportunity spectrometers, respectively. Twelve component subspectra (8 doublets and 4 sextets) have been identified and most have been assigned to mineralogical compositions [4]. Two sextet subspectra result from the opaque and strongly magnetic mineral magnetite (Fe3O4 for the stoichiometric composition), one each for the crystallographic sites occupied by tetrahedrally-coordinated Fe3+ and by octahedrally-coordinated Fe3+ and Fe2+. At Gusev crater, the percentage of total Fe associated with magnetite for rocks ranges from 0 to approx. 35% (Fig. 1) [3]. The range for soils (approx.5 to approx.12% of total Fe from Mt, with one exception) is narrower. The ubiquitous presence of Mt in soil firmly establishes the phase as the strongly magnetic component in martian soil [4,5].

  13. Magnetite in Martian Meteorite Mil 03346 and Gusev Adirondack Class Basalt: Moessbauer Evidence for Variability in the Oxidation State of Adirondack Lavas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, R. V.; McKay, G. A.; Ming, D. W.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Schroeder, C.; Rodionov, D.; Yen, A.

    2006-01-01

    The Moessbauer spectrometers on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit (Gusev crater) and Opportunity (Meridiani Planum) have returned information on the oxidation state of iron, the mineralogical composition of Fe-bearing phases, and the distribution of Fe among oxidation states and phases [1,2,3]. To date, 100 and 85 surface targets have been analyzed by the Spirit and Opportunity spectrometers, respectively. Twelve component subspectra (8 doublets and 4 sextets) have been identified and most have been assigned to mineralogical compositions [4]. Two sextet subspectra result from the opaque and strongly magnetic mineral magnetite (Fe3O4 for the stoichiometric composition), one each for the crystallographic sites occupied by tetrahedrally-coordinated Fe3+ and by octahedrally-coordinated Fe3+ and Fe2+. At Gusev crater, the percentage of total Fe associated with magnetite for rocks ranges from 0 to 35% (Fig. 1) [3]. The range for soils (5 to 12% of total Fe from Mt, with one exception) is narrower. The ubiquitous presence of Mt in soil firmly establishes the phase as the strongly magnetic component in martian soil

  14. M-DLS - a multichannel diode laser spectrometer for Martian studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinogradov, Imant; Rodin, Alexander V.; Klimchuk, Artem

    A concept of Martian atmosphere and soil volatiles study was developed on the basis of diode laser spectroscopy by collaboration of IKI RAS, MIPT, GPI RAS, University of Reims (France), University of Cologne (Germany), and University of Edinburgh (Great Britain). An experiment, named as M-DLS, has been proposed for the stationery Landing Platform scientific payload of the ExoMars-2018 mission. The M-DLS instrument is targeted to long-term studies of: chemical and isotopic composition of atmosphere near the Martian surface, and its diurnal and seasonal variations; Martian soil volatiles at the location of the Landing Platform; integral chemical and isotopic composition of Martian atmosphere at low scales of altitude at the Landing Platform area, and its variations in respect to local time at the day-light; thermal and dynamic structure of the Martian atmosphere. The M-DLS studies are based on regular measurements of molecular absorption spectra in the IR range along several optical path trajectories, including: a suite of ICOS optical cells of up to 1 km effective optical path, which are directly linked to the ambient atmosphere; a capillary closed-volume optical cell, which is linked to pyrolytic output of a proposed MGAS instrument (Martian Gas Analytic Suite); direct Solar observation open atmosphere path of heterodyne measurements, which is co-directional with the open path line of sight of a proposed FAST instrument (Fourier spectrometer for Atmospheric Components and Temperature). The M-DLS measurements will be carried out in series of narrow-band 2 cm (-1) wide intervals with spectral resolution of 3 MHz ( 0.0001 cm (-1) ), providing for fine recording of molecular absorption line contours. By measurement of H _{2}O and CO _{2} molecules diurnal and seasonal variations and their isotope ratios D/H, (18) O/ (17) O/ (16) O, (13) C/ (12) C, of soil volatiles H _{2}S, NH _{3}, C _{2}H _{2} and others, we expect to receive data for specifying of physical and

  15. Magnetism in meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herndon, J. M.; Rowe, M. W.

    1974-01-01

    An overview is presented of magnetism in meteorites. A glossary of magnetism terminology followed by discussion of the various techniques used for magnetism studies in meteorites are included. The generalized results from use of these techniques by workers in the field are described. A brief critical analysis is offered.

  16. The relict magnetism of meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cisowski, S. M.; Hood, L. L.

    1991-01-01

    Meteorite paleomagnetic studies are reviewed and evaluated. Possible mechanisms for producing early solar system magnetic fields that could have been responsible for the magnetization of some or all meteorite classes are explored. A detailed review of paleointensity results derived from the various classes of meteorites is given, and the likelihood that the results might related to solar or nebulawide magnetic fields is considered. The implications of meteorite magnetism for early solar system evolution are discussed.

  17. Record of fluid-rock interactions on Mars from the meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Romanek, C S; Grady, M M; Wright, I P; Mittlefehldt, D W; Socki, R A; Pillinger, C T; Gibson, E K

    1994-12-15

    Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 is the most recently recognized member of a suite of meteorites--the SNCs--that almost certainly originated on Mars. Several factors distinguish ALH84001 from the other SNC meteorites. Preliminary studies suggest that it may be older than other martian meteorites. Moreover, it contains abundant, zoned domains of calcium-iron-magnesium carbonate that are indigenous to the sample and thus may hold important clues regarding near-surface processes on Mars and the evolution of the martian atmosphere. We report here analyses of the carbon and oxygen stable-isotope compositions of the carbonates that place constraints on their formation conditions. Our results imply the presence of at least two chemically distinct carbonates--one Ca,Fe-rich, the other Mg-rich--that are enriched in 13C relative to terrestrial carbonates (delta 13C approximately +41/1000), consistent with martian atmospheric CO2 as the carbon source. The oxygen isotope compositions of the carbonates indicate that they precipitated from a low-temperature fluid in the martian crust. Combined with textural and bulk geochemical considerations, the isotope data suggest that carbonate deposition took place in an open-system environment in which the ambient temperature fluctuated. PMID:7990956

  18. Tissintite, (Ca, Na, □)AlSi2O6, a highly-defective, shock-induced, high-pressure clinopyroxene in the Tissint martian meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Chi; Tschauner, Oliver; Beckett, John R.; Liu, Yang; Rossman, George R.; Zhuravlev, Kirill; Prakapenka, Vitali; Dera, Przemyslaw; Taylor, Lawrence A.

    2015-07-01

    Tissintite is a new vacancy-rich, high-pressure clinopyroxene, with a composition essentially equivalent to plagioclase. It was discovered in maskelynite (shocked plagioclase) and is commonly observed included within, or in contact with, shock-melt pockets in the Tissint meteorite, a depleted olivine-phyric shergottite fall from Mars. The simple composition of tissintite (An58-69) and its precursor plagioclase (An59-69) together with the limited occurrence, both spatially (only in maskelynite less than ˜25 μm of a shock melt pocket) and in terms of bulk composition, make tissintite a "goldilocks" phase. It formed during a shock event severe enough to allow nucleation and growth of vacancy-rich clinopyroxene from a melt of not too calcic and not too sodic plagioclase composition that was neither too hot nor too cold. With experimental calibration, these limitations on occurrence can be used to place strong constraints on the thermal history of a shock event. The kinetics for nucleation and growth of tissintite are probably slower for more-sodic plagioclase precursors, so tissintite is most likely to occur in depleted olivine-phyric shergottites like Tissint and other highly shocked meteorites and lunar and terrestrial rocks that consistently contained calcic plagioclase precursors in the appropriate compositional range for a shock of given intensity. Tissintite, (Ca0.45Na0.31□0.24) (Al0.97Fe0.03Mg0.01) (Si1.80Al0.20)O6, is a C 2 / c clinopyroxene, containing 42-60 mol% of the Ca-Eskola component, by far the highest known. The cell parameters are a = 9.21 (17) Å, b = 9.09 (4) Å, c = 5.20 (2) Å, β = 109.6 (9)°, V = 410 (8) Å3, Z = 4. The density is 3.32 g/cm3 and we estimate a cell volume for the Ca-Eskola end-member pyroxene of 411 ± 13 Å3, which is consistent with a previous estimate and, therefore, supports the importance of this component in clinopyroxenes from ultra-high pressure metamorphic rocks from the Earth's upper mantle. At least in C 2 / c

  19. A comparison of the iddingsite alteration products in two terrestrial basalts and the Allan Hills 77005 martian meteorite using Raman spectroscopy and electron microprobe analyses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuebler, Karla E.

    2013-04-01

    We document the secondary mineral assemblages in two occurrences of terrestrial iddingsite, Lunar Crater, Nevada (LC) and Mauna Kea, Hawaii (MK), and compare these with the iddingsite in Allan Hills (ALHA) 77005. Short Raman spectroscopic traverses across olivine alteration fronts provide information about changes in mineralogy with alteration. Data from the Raman traverses are combined with electron microprobe (EMP) traverses at the same locations which provide information regarding element mobility and confirm mineral identifications made by Raman spectroscopy. This information is used with petrographic observations to argue for the martian origin of the iddingsite and jarosite, infer the sequence of alteration, and deliberate on the conditions and settings of alteration. Raman spectra indicate the presence of different iron oxides/oxyhydroxides in each sample (goethite in LC, maghemite in MK, and akaganéite in ALHA), and the terrestrial samples show different element mobility trends (loss of MgO and SiO2, retention of FeO) than ALHA (loss of MgO and FeO, influx of SiO2), whose trends reflect the deposition of jarosite. Altered olivine occur throughout the LC samples but only in the exteriors of the MK samples. The LC and MK alteration products formed by surface alteration, but ALHA 77005 is a lherzolite, and the olivine hosting the iddingsite are enclosed by orthopyroxene (appear to be restricted to the light lithology), suggesting that it formed at depth during magma consolidation. The ALHA iddingsite is an example of "deuteric alteration" (reaction with fluids that separated from the magma as crystallization progressed towards completion).

  20. A Petrologic Study of the IAB Iron Meteorites: Constraints on the Formation of the IAB-Winonaite Parent Body

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benedix, G. K.; McCoy, T. J.; Keil, K.; Love, S. G.

    1998-01-01

    We have studied IAB iron meteorites and their silicate-bearing inclusions to elucidate the origin of their parent body. We have divided IAB irons into five categories which best describe the inclusions and other properties of the irons.

  1. Weathering of Dronino Iron Meteorite and Ferric Hydrous Oxides Transfer in Clay Sand Studied Using Mössbauer Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yakovlev, G. A.; Oshtrakh, M. I.; Semionkin, V. A.

    2016-08-01

    The Dronino meteorite fragments found in clay sand demonstrated heavily weathering. Several concretions formed in this place were also found. These weathering products were subject for the study using Mössbauer spectroscopy.

  2. Foundations of Forensic Meteoritics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treiman, A. H.

    1992-07-01

    , soil) adhering to a meteorite are samples of the actual physical environment in which the meteorite rested. Adhesion may derive from chemical cementation (incl. rust from the meteorite), biologic activity (incl. desert varnish?), or impact processes [2]. Given the wide diversity of geological materials and processes on the Earth, adhering geological materials may be useful forensic tools. For instance, fall in a volcanic terrane may be inconsistent with adhering sediments of clean quartz sand. Biologic matter on meteorites includes animal and vegetable matter mixed with the adhering geological materials, lichens and other plants growing in place, and purposefully attached animal matter (e.g. insect eggs). The most useful biological data may be provided by pollen, which can often be referred unambiguously to genera and species of plants. For example, sediments adhering to meteorites from the central Nullabor Plain (W. Australia) are different from sediments from the Plain's margin in S. Australia. Sediment on meteorites from the central Nullabor (e.g. Mundrabilla) lacks quartz sand and consists almost entirely of clay-sized particles, consistent with derivation from the local saprolitic soil. Sediment on meteorites from the eastern Nullabor (e.g. Hughes and Cook, S.A.) contains a significant fraction of quartz sand, 1/4- to 1/2-mm grains, probably blown from the Great Victoria Desert to the north and northwest. However, sedimentologic data alone may be misleading. For instance, sediments adhering to Nuevo Mercurio stones (H5; Zacatecas, Mexico) are clay-sized and lack coarser material. But sediment on Nuevo Mercurio (b), a ureilite found in the Nuevo Mercurio strewn field, consists of quartz sand and clay pellets, 1/4 to 1/2 mm diameter. Clearly, local environments may affect the character of sediment adhering to a meteorite, and careful detailed study may be required to determine whether a meteorite has been transported. I am grateful to R. Farrell and D. New for

  3. Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd isotopic and REE studies of igneous components in the bulk matrix domain of Martian breccia Northwest Africa 7034

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nyquist, Laurence E.; Shih, Chi-Yu; McCubbin, Francis M.; Santos, Alison R.; Shearer, Charles K.; Peng, Zhan X.; Burger, Paul V.; Agee, Carl B.

    2016-03-01

    The bulk matrix domain of the Martian breccia NWA 7034 was examined petrographically and isotopically to better understand the provenance and age of the source material that make up the breccia. Both 147Sm-143Nd and 146Sm-142Nd age results for mineral separates from the bulk matrix portion of breccia NWA 7034 suggest that various lithological components in the breccia probably formed contemporaneously ~4.44 Ga ago. This old age is in excellent agreement with the upper intersection ages (4.35-4.45 Ga) for U-Pb discordia and also concordia defined by zircon and baddeleyite grains in matrix and igneous-textured clasts. Consequently, we confirm an ancient age for the igneous components that make up the NWA 7034 breccia. Substantial disturbance in the Rb-Sr system was detected, and no age significance could be gleaned from our Rb-Sr data. The disturbance to the Rb-Sr system may be due to a thermal event recorded by bulk-rock K-Ar ages of 1.56 Ga and U-Pb ages of phosphates at about 1.35-1.5 Ga, which suggest partial resetting from an unknown thermal event(s), possibly accompanying breccia formation. The NWA 7034 bulk rock is LREE enriched and similar to KREEP-rich lunar rocks, which indicates that the earliest Martian crust was geochemically enriched. This enrichment supports the idea that the crust is one of the enriched geochemical reservoirs on Mars that have been detected in studies of other Martian meteorites.

  4. The 45th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, P. (Compiler); Turner, L. (Compiler)

    1982-01-01

    Impact craters and shock effects, chondrite formation and evolution, meteorites, chondrules, irons, nebular processes and meteorite parent bodies, regoliths and breccias, antarctic meteorite curation, isotopic studies of meteorites and lunar samples, organics and terrestrial weathering, refractory inclusions, cosmic dust, particle irradiations before and after compaction, and mineralogic studies and analytical techniques are discussed.

  5. Annealing studies of the thermoluminescence of meteorites and implications for their metamorphic history

    SciTech Connect

    Guimon, R.K.

    1986-01-01

    The application of thermoluminescence to study metamorphism in the type 3 ordinary chondrites and five CAI from the Allende meteorite is explored. It has been found that the changes in the shape of the TL curve provide insight into the thermal history of the meteorites and meteoritic components. It is also shown that for ordinary chondrites, the TL sensitivity depends on the amount of feldspar present which, in turn, is governed by the intensity of metamorphism experienced. A type 3.4 ordinary chondrite shows changes in the peak temperature and width occurred upon annealing. These parameters showed a discontinuous increase after annealing at 800/sup 0/C; the peak temperature jumped from 130 to 200/sup 0/C and peak width increased from 90 to 150/sup 0/C. These changes in the TL emission characteristics suggest that type 3.3-3.5 ordinary chondrites have a low-feldspar as the dominant TL phosphor and > 3.5 have high feldspar as the phosphor. Thermoluminescence therefore provides a means of paleothermometry. In addition, experiments were performed aimed at causing the crystallization of feldspar in mesostasis glass in an attempt to reproduce the trends of increasing TL sensitivity with metamorphism. At high temperatures and longer annealing times, increases in TL sensitivity by factors of up to 40 were observed.

  6. Siderophile and chalcophile element abundances in shergottites: Implications for Martian core formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Shuying; Humayun, Munir; Righter, Kevin; Jefferson, Gwendolyn; Fields, Dana; Irving, Anthony J.

    2015-04-01

    Elemental abundances for volatile siderophile and chalcophile elements for Mars inform us about processes of accretion and core formation. Such data are few for Martian meteorites, and are often lacking in the growing number of desert finds. In this study, we employed laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to analyze polished slabs of 15 Martian meteorites for the abundances of about 70 elements. This technique has high sensitivity, excellent precision, and is generally accurate as determined by comparisons of elements for which literature abundances are known. However, in some meteorites, the analyzed surface is not representative of the bulk composition due to the over- or underrepresentation of a key host mineral, e.g., phosphate for rare earth elements (REE). For other meteorites, the range of variation in bulk rastered analyses of REE is within the range of variation reported among bulk REE analyses in the literature. An unexpected benefit has been the determination of the abundances of Ir and Os with a precision and accuracy comparable to the isotope dilution technique. Overall, the speed and small sample consumption afforded by this technique makes it an important tool widely applicable to small or rare meteorites for which a polished sample was prepared. The new volatile siderophile and chalcophile element abundances have been employed to determine Ge and Sb abundances, and revise Zn, As, and Bi abundances for the Martian mantle. The new estimates of Martian mantle composition support core formation at intermediate pressures (14 ± 3 GPa) in a magma ocean on Mars.

  7. Anhydrous liquid line of descent of Yamato-980459 and evolution of Martian parental magmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rapp, Jennifer F.; Draper, David S.; Mercer, Cameron M.

    2013-10-01

    We report the results of nominally anhydrous equilibrium and fractional crystallization experiments on a synthetic Yamato-980459 (Y98) bulk composition at 0.5 GPa. These experiments allow us to test a suggested fractional crystallization model, calculated using MELTS by Symes et al. (), in which a Y98-like initial liquid yielded a magma closely resembling the bulk composition of QUE 94201. Although the two meteorites cannot be cogenetic owing to their age difference, they are thought to represent bona fide magmatic liquids rather than products of crystal accumulation, as are most Martian basaltic meteorites. Hence, understanding possible petrogenetic links between these types of liquids could be revealing about processes of melting and crystallization that formed the range of Martian basalts. We find that Y98 can, in fact, generate a residual liquid closely resembling QUE, but only after a very different crystallization process, and different degree of crystallization, than that modeled using MELTS. In addition, both the identity and sequence of crystallizing phases are very different between model and experiments. Our fractional crystallization experiments do not produce a QUE-like liquid, and the crystallizing phases are an even poorer match to the MELTS-calculated compositions than in the equilibrium runs. However, residual liquids from our experiments define a liquid line of descent that encompasses bulk compositions of parental melts calculated for several Martian basaltic meteorites, suggesting that the known Martian basaltic meteorites had their ultimate origin from the same or very similar source lithologies. These are, in turn, similar to source rocks modeled by previous studies as products of extensive crystallization of an initial Martian magma ocean.

  8. Laser Argon-40-Argon-39 Age Studies of Dar Al Gani 262 Lunar Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandes, V. A.; Burgess, R.; Turner, G.

    1999-01-01

    The lunar meteorite Dar al Gani 262 (DAG 262) was found in the Sahara Desert in Libya on March 23,1997. This was the first lunar meteorite found in a desert and is the thirteenth lunar meteorite discovered. DAG 262 is a polymict anorthositic lunar highland breccia. The Ar-40-Ar-39 dating technique has been applied to DAG 262 in an attempt to determine the crystallization age and shock events experienced by this meteorite. Previous studies have indicated that this meteorite may have suffered up to four shock events. Due to the brecciated nature of the rock and the likelihood of multiple shock events, a laser-probe technique has been used to analyze individual components (minerals and clasts) of the meteorite. The sample supplied to us ( about 1.5 g) shows two distinct clast types (1) feldspathic and (2) basaltic, the latter not having been previously described. Plagioclases show fractures and undulatory extinction as the result of shock events. The feldspathic clast has small, round low-Ca pyroxenes distributed within it. Electron-microprobe analyses of feldspar and pyroxene are given. The bulk composition as determined by suggests that the source of this clast is the ferroan-anorthositic suite. The basaltic clast shows a very fine intergranular texture with some larger plagioclase grains. The two clasts are separated by a melt-glass matrix that contains plagioclase with the same chemical composition as those plagioclases within the feldspathic clast. A devitrified mafic-glass spherule of - 150 mm diameter was identified within the matrix as well as other small fragments of possible glass spheres. Some dendritic veins can be observed on the outer part of the section, which formed after breccia lithification. Two laser Ar-40-Ar-39 experiments are being carried out: (1) infrared laser-stepped heating of feldspathic fragments that have been separated from the meteorite; and (2) ultraviolet laser spot fusion (50 micron) of a slice of meteorite (about 1.0 x 0.5 cm

  9. Correlated petrographic, electron microprobe, and ion microprobe studies of selected primitive and processed phase assemblages in meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Albee, Arden L.

    1993-01-01

    During the past three years we have received support to continue our research in elucidating the formation and alteration histories of selected meteoritic materials by a combination of petrographic, trace element, and isotopic analyses employing optical and scanning electron microscopes and electron and ion microprobes. The awarded research funds enabled the P.I. to attend the annual LPSC, the co-I to devote approximately 15 percent of his time to the research proposed in the grant, and partial support for a visiting summer post-doctoral fellow to conduct electron microprobe analyses of meteoritic samples in our laboratory. The research funds, along with support from the NASA Education Initiative awarded to P.I. G. Wasserburg, enabled the co-I to continue a mentoring program with inner-city minority youth. The support enabled us to achieve significant results in the five projects that we proposed (in addition to the Education Initiative), namely: studies of the accretional and post-accretional alteration and thermal histories in CV meteorites, characterization of periclase-bearing Fremdlinge in CV meteorites, characterization of Ni-Pt-Ge-Te-rich Fremdlinge in CV meteorites in an attempt to determine the constraints they place on the petrogenetic and thermal histories of their host CAI's, correlated electron and ion microprobe studies of silicate and phosphate inclusions in the Colomera meteorite in an attempt to determine the petrogenesis of the IE iron meteorites, and development of improved instrumental and correction procedures for improved accuracy of analysis of meteoritic materials with the electron microprobe. This grant supported, in part or whole, 18 publications so far by our research team, with at least three more papers anticipated. The list of these publications is included. The details of the research results are briefly summarized.

  10. Heterogeneous distribution of H2O in the Martian interior: Implications for the abundance of H2O in depleted and enriched mantle sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCubbin, Francis M.; Boyce, Jeremy W.; Srinivasan, Poorna; Santos, Alison R.; Elardo, Stephen M.; Filiberto, Justin; Steele, Andrew; Shearer, Charles K.

    2016-04-01

    We conducted a petrologic study of apatite within 12 Martian meteorites, including 11 shergottites and one basaltic regolith breccia. These data were combined with previously published data to gain a better understanding of the abundance and distribution of volatiles in the Martian interior. Apatites in individual Martian meteorites span a wide range of compositions, indicating they did not form by equilibrium crystallization. In fact, the intrasample variation in apatite is best described by either fractional crystallization or crustal contamination with a Cl-rich crustal component. We determined that most Martian meteorites investigated here have been affected by crustal contamination and hence cannot be used to estimate volatile abundances of the Martian mantle. Using the subset of samples that did not exhibit crustal contamination, we determined that the enriched shergottite source has 36-73 ppm H2O and the depleted source has 14-23 ppm H2O. This result is consistent with other observed geochemical differences between enriched and depleted shergottites and supports the idea that there are at least two geochemically distinct reservoirs in the Martian mantle. We also estimated the H2O, Cl, and F content of the Martian crust using known crust-mantle distributions for incompatible lithophile elements. We determined that the bulk Martian crust has ~1410 ppm H2O, 450 ppm Cl, and 106 ppm F, and Cl and H2O are preferentially distributed toward the Martian surface. The estimate of crustal H2O results in a global equivalent surface layer (GEL) of ~229 m, which can account for at least some of the surface features on Mars attributed to flowing water and may be sufficient to support the past presence of a shallow sea on Mars' surface.

  11. Huge waves of meteorite origin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelinovsky, Efim; Kozelkov, Andrey; Kurkin, Andrey

    2016-04-01

    Asteroid and meteorite risk is now actively investigated in various aspects. If the meteorite falls in the ocean it can generate huge waves with heights exceeded 10 m. For whole history about 10-20 events related with entry of meteorite in water are known. The last event occurred on February 15, 2013 when the meteorite exploded in sky of Chelyabinsk (Russia) and its big piece entered in the Chebarkul Lake. Very often, huge waves of meteorite origin are computed using the conception of equivalent (parametrical) source, whose parameters are determined through meteorite characteristics. Recently, direct methods based on numerical simulations of the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS) have been applied to study wave processes generated by the entry of meteorite. These approaches and their applications to the historic events are discussed in paper.

  12. Mineralogy of Meteorite Groups

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rubin, Alan E.

    1997-01-01

    Approximately 275 mineral species have been identified in meteorites, reflecting diverse redox environments, and, in some cases, unusual nebular formation conditions. Anhydrous ordinary, carbonaceous and R chondrites contain major olivine, pyroxene and plagioclase; major opaque phases include metallic Fe-Ni, troilite and chromite. Primitive achondrites are mineralogically similar. The highly reduced enstatite chondrites and achondrites contain major enstatite, plagioclase, free silica and kamacite as well as nitrides, a silicide and Ca-, Mg-, Mn-, Na-, Cr-, K- and Ti-rich sulfides. Aqueously altered carbonaceous chondrites contain major amounts of hydrous phyllosilicates, complex organic compounds, magnetite, various sulfates and sulfides, and carbonates. In addition to kamacite and taenite, iron meteorites contain carbides, elemental C, nitrides, phosphates, phosphides, chromite and sulfides. Silicate inclusions in IAB/IIICD and lIE iron meteorites consist of mafic silicates, plagioclase and various sulfides, oxides and phosphates. Eucrites, howardites and diogenites have basaltic to orthopyroxenitic compositions and consist of major pyroxene and calcic plagioclase and several accessory oxides. Ureilttes .are made up mainly of calcic, chromian olivine and low-Ca clinopyroxene embedded in a carbonaceous matrix; accessory phases include the C polymorphs graphite, diamond, lonsdaleite and chaoite as well as metallic Fe-Ni, troilite and halides. Angrites are achondrites rich in fassaitic pyroxene (i.e. , AI-Ti diopside); minor olivine with included magnesian kirschsteinite is also present. Martian meteorites comprise basalts, Iherzolites, a dunite and an orthopyroxenite. Major phases include various pyroxenes and olivine; minor to accessory phases include various sulfides, magnetite, chromite and Ca-phosphates. Lunar meteorites comprise mare basalts with major augite and calcic plagioclase and anorthositic breccias with major calcic plagioclase. Several meteoritic

  13. Magnetism and the putative early Martian life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rochette, P.

    2001-08-01

    A short critical review is provided on three questions linking magnetism and the putative early Mars life. Was there a large internal Martian magnetic field, during which period, and is it a requisite for life? What is the origin of the paleomagnetic signal of Martian meteorites, including ALH84001? What is the present credibility of the case for fossil bacterial magnetite grains in ALH84001?

  14. Study of the dynamics of meteoroids through the Earth's atmosphere and retrieval of meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guadalupe Cordero Tercero, Maria; Farah-Simon, Alejandro; Velázquez-Villegas, Fernando

    2016-07-01

    When a comet , asteroid or meteoroid impact with a planet several things can happen depending on the mass, velocity and composition of the impactor, if the planet or moon has an atmosphere or not, and the angle of impact. On bodies without an atmosphere like Mercury or the Moon, every object that strikes their surfaces produces impact craters with sizes ranging from centimeters to hundreds and even thousands of kilometers across. On bodies with an atmosphere, this encounter can produce impact craters, meteorites, meteors and fragmentation. Each and every one of these phenomena is interesting because they provide information about the surfaces and the geological evolution of solar system bodies. Meteors (shooting stars) are luminous wakes on the sky due to the interaction between the meteoroid and the Earth's atmosphere. A meteoroid is asteroidal or cometary material ranging in size from 2 mm to a few tens of meters. The smallest tend to evaporate at heights between 80 and 120 km. Objects of less than 2 mm are called micrometeorites. If the meteor brightness exceeds the brightness of Venus, the phenomenon is called a bolide or fireball. If a meteoroid, or a fragment of it, survives atmospheric ablation and it can be recovered on the ground, that piece is called a meteorite. Most meteoroids 2 meters long fragment suddenly into the atmosphere, it produces a shock wave that can affect humans and their environment like the Chelyabinsk event occurred on February 15, 2013 an two less energetic events in Mexico in 2010 and 2011. To understand the whole phenomenon, we proposed a video camera network for observing meteors. The objectives of this network are to: a) contribute to the study of the fragmentation of meteoroids in the Earth's atmosphere, b) determine values of important physical parameters; c ) study seismic waves produced by atmospheric shock waves, d) study the dynamics of meteoroids and f ) recover and study meteorites. During this meeting, the academic

  15. Martian regolith geochemistry and sampling techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, B. C.

    1988-01-01

    Laboratory study of samples of the intermediate and fine-grained regolith, including duricrust peds, is a fundamental prerequisite for understanding the types of physical and chemical weathering processes on Mars. The extraordinary importance of such samples is their relevance to understanding past changes in climate, availability (and possible physical state) of water, eolian forces, the thermal and chemical influences of volcanic and impact processes, and the inventory and fates of Martian volatiles. Fortunately, this regolith material appears to be ubiquitous over the Martian surface, and should be available at many different landing sites. Viking data has been interpreted to indicate a smectite-rich regolith material, implying extensive weathering involving aqueous activity and geochemical alteration. An all-igneous source of the Martian fines has also been proposed. The X-ray fluorescence measurement data set can now be fully explained in terms of a simple two-component model. The first component is silicate, having strong geochemical similarities with Shergottites, but not other SNC meteorites. The second component is salt. Variations in these components could produce silicate and salt-rich beds, the latter being of high potential importance for microenvironments in which liquid water (brines) could exist. It therefore would be desirable to scan the surface of the regolith for such prospects.

  16. Where to search for martian biota?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tasch, Paul

    1997-07-01

    Martian Salt. Terrestrial halite containing negative crystals which entrapped drops of viscous fluid yielded viable bacteria. The fluid has a Br/Mg ratio which chemist W.T. Holser characterized as a `Permian bittern.' All relevant salt on Mars should be inspected for negative crystals and possible ancient bacterial tenants. Martian Water. Moist soil in the regolith, cooled hydrothermal fluids, sediments of recurrent oceanic water, and related to inferred strand lines, even limited water in future SNC-type meteorites, upper atmosphere liquid water or water vapor, and North Polar liquid water or ice--all liquid water in any form, wherever, should be collected for microbiological analysis. Vent Fauna. Living or fossil thermophiles as trace fossils, or fauna metallicized in relation to sulphide ores. Iron Bacteria. Limonitized magnetite ore (USSR) in thin section showed structures attributed to iron bacteria. Biogenic magnetite, produced by both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and its significance. Carbonaceous chondrites (non martian) (Ivuna and Orgueil) yielded apparent life forms that could not be attributed to contamination during the given study. Are they extraterrestrial?

  17. Martian Habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, F.

    2012-09-01

    Due to the reported Mars surface environmental conditions (Klein, 1978) (oxidative stress, high UV radiation levels, etc.) the possibility for life development in the surface of the red planet is very small. The identification of water-ice on the subsurface on Mars by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer onboard of the Mars Odyssey (Kieffer and Titus, 2001) and from the High Energy Neutron Detector (Litvak, et al., 2006) has important astrobiological connotations, because in addition to be a potential source for water, these locations are shielding habitats against the harsh conditions existing on the planet, like UV radiation (Gomez, et al., 2007; Gomez, et al., 2012). Martian habitability potential could change in particular located micro-niches. Salt deliquescence and hard environmental parameters modification could be relevant for life under protected niches. An example could be endolithic niches inside salt deposits used by phototrophs for taking advantage of sheltering particular light wavelengths. Similar acidic salts deposits are located in Río Tinto extreme environment with shelter life forms which are difficult to localize by eye. Techniques for its localization and study during space missions are needed to develop. Extreme environments are good scenarios where to test and train those techniques and where hypothetical Astrobiological space missions could be simulated for increasing possibilities of micro niches identification. Here we will report some experiments of bacteria exposition to Martian surface conditions in Mars Simulation chamber. Bacteria were shelter and exposed included in simulated salty endolithic micro niches. High percentage of bacteria resistance and adaptation to harsh extreme those conditions was reported (Gómez, F. et al., 2010). These results were used to develop and implement a Habitability Index to study Martian habitability during the next MSL mission to Mars landed on August 2012 on the surface of the red planet.

  18. Formations of Bacteria-like Textures by dynamic reactions in Meteorite and Syntheses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miura, Y.

    2009-05-01

    1. Introduction Spherule texture can be formed in dynamic reaction during meteoritic impact in air. However, there are no reports on nano-bacteria-like (i.e. spherule-chained) textures with iron (and Nickel) oxides (with chlorine) in composition and micro-texture with 100nm order [1] in meteorite and synthetic experiment. The purpose of the present study is to elucidate spherule-chained texture with micro-texture of 100nm in order found in the Kuga iron meteorite, Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan, and its first artificial synthesis in laboratory. 2. Two textures in the Kuga meteorite: The Kuga iron meteorite found in Kuga, Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan reveals spherule-chained texture with Fe, Ni-rich composition with 10μm in size, where each spherule contained "long micro-texture in 100nm in size"[1,2]. The complex texture of flow and chained shapes can be found only in the fusion crust of the meteorite formed by quenched and random processes with vapor-melting process in air of the Earth. The FE-ASEM with EDX analyses by an in-situ observation indicate that the matrix of the spherule-chained texture with Fe, Ni, O-rich (with minor Cl) composition is carbon-rich composition formed by impact reactions in air. 3. Comparison with Martian meteorite Remnant of life in ocean can be found by mineralized fossil, which can be found in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 as bacteria-like chained texture of magnetite in composition (in 100nm order) around carbonate spherules [3]. Similarity of bacteria-like texture of the ALH84001 compared with the Kuga meteorites in this study are composition of Fe-rich, C-bearing, and chained texture of small size replaced by Fe and O-rich composition in air. Major difference of these textures is no carbonates minerals in the Kuga meteorite at dynamic reaction in air [1, 2, 3]. 4. First synthesis of bacteria- like akaganeite: A bacteria-like texture with Fe oxides (with minor chlorine as akaganeite-like compositions) is synthesized by chlorine and water

  19. Minerologic and Petrologic Studies of Meteorites and Lunar Samples

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, John

    2000-01-01

    In the past year this group continued essentially full time research on extraterrestrial materials, and the question of the origin of the solar system. The continuing scientific staff consists of the P.I. and Visiting Scientist Michael Petaev. Vitae for Wood and Petaev appear in Sec. 6. We benefit from the part time services of a Project Administrator (Judith Terry) and a Secretary (Muazzez Lohmiller). In January 1999 the P.I. assumed the Chairmanship of COMPLEX, the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration of the Space Studies Board, National Research Council. Wood and Petaev were authors or coauthors of 21 publications, new manuscripts, and abstracts in the last year. These are listed above, and referenced by number [n] in the discussion below. Other references to the literature made in this Section are listed in Sec. 3.

  20. Testing the Hypothesis of Young Martian Volcanism: Studies of the Tharsis Volcanoes and Adjacent Lava Plains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grier, Jennifer A.

    2005-01-01

    We experienced much success in reaching our stated goals in our original MDAP proposal. Our work made substantial contributions towards an integrated understanding of the counting and calibration of crater data on Mars, and changing nature of the Martian surface influenced by craters, water, and wind, and their general relationship to Martian geothermal history. We accomplished this while being to responsive to the rapid changes in the field brought about by several key NASA missions that returned data during the life of the grant. Our integrated effort included three stages: The first major area of research (Crater Count Research) was conducted by Jennifer Grier (P.I.), Lazslo Keszthelyi (Collaborator), William Hartmann (Collaborator), with assistance from Dan Berman (Graduate student) and concerned the mapping and the collection of crater count data on various Martian terrains. The second major area of study (Absolute Age Calibration) was conducted by William Bottke (Co-I) at SWRI, and concerned constraining the nature of the Moon and Mars impactor populations to create better absolute age calibrations for counted areas. The third major area of study was the integration and leverage of this effort with ongoing related Mars crater work at PSI (Integrated and Continuing Studies - Older Volcanoes), headed by David Crown (PSI Scientist), assisted by Les Bleamaster (PSI Scientist) and Dan Berman (Graduate Student).

  1. Spectroscopic analyses of Fe and water in clays: A Martian surface weathering study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, Carle M.; Edwards, J. O.; Coyne, L. M.; Chang, S.

    1991-01-01

    Martian surface morphology suggests the presence of liquid H2O on Mars in the past. Reflectance spectra of the Martian surface include features which correspond to the crystal field transitions of iron, as well as features supporting the presence of ice and minerals containing structural OH and surface water. Researchers initiated further spectroscopic studies of surface iron and water and structural OH in clays in order to determine what remotely obtained spectra can indicate about the presence of clays on Mars based on a clearer understanding of the factors influencing the spectral features. Current technology allows researchers to better correlate the low frequency fundamental stretching and bending vibrations of O-H bonds with the diagnostic near infrared overtone and combination bands used in mineral characterization and identification.

  2. On the weathering of Martian igneous rocks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dreibus, G.; Waenke, H.

    1992-01-01

    Besides the young crystallization age, one of the first arguments for the martian origin of shergottite, nakhlite, and chassignite (SNC) meteorites came from the chemical similarity of the meteorite Shergotty and the martian soil as measured by Viking XRF analyses. In the meantime, the discovery of trapped rare gas and nitrogen components with element and isotope ratios closely matching the highly characteristic ratios of the Mars atmosphere in the shock glasses of shergottite EETA79001 was further striking evidence that the SNC's are martian surface rocks. The martian soil composition as derived from the Viking mission, with its extremely high S and Cl concentrations, was interpreted as weathering products of mafic igneous rocks. The low SiO2 content and the low abundance of K and other trace elements in the martian soils point to a mafic crust with a considerably smaller degree of fractionation compared to the terrestrial crust. However, the chemical evolution of the martian regolith and soil in respect to surface reaction with the planetary atmosphere or hydrosphere is poorly understood. A critical point in this respect is that the geochemical evidence as derived from the SNC meteorites suggests that Mars is a very dry planet that should have lost almost all its initially large water inventory during its accretion.

  3. A reduced organic carbon component in martian basalts.

    PubMed

    Steele, A; McCubbin, F M; Fries, M; Kater, L; Boctor, N Z; Fogel, M L; Conrad, P G; Glamoclija, M; Spencer, M; Morrow, A L; Hammond, M R; Zare, R N; Vicenzi, E P; Siljeström, S; Bowden, R; Herd, C D K; Mysen, B O; Shirey, S B; Amundsen, H E F; Treiman, A H; Bullock, E S; Jull, A J T

    2012-07-13

    The source and nature of carbon on Mars have been a subject of intense speculation. We report the results of confocal Raman imaging spectroscopy on 11 martian meteorites, spanning about 4.2 billion years of martian history. Ten of the meteorites contain abiotic macromolecular carbon (MMC) phases detected in association with small oxide grains included within high-temperature minerals. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were detected along with MMC phases in Dar al Gani 476. The association of organic carbon within magmatic minerals indicates that martian magmas favored precipitation of reduced carbon species during crystallization. The ubiquitous distribution of abiotic organic carbon in martian igneous rocks is important for understanding the martian carbon cycle and has implications for future missions to detect possible past martian life. PMID:22628557

  4. A reduced organic carbon component in martian basalts.

    PubMed

    Steele, A; McCubbin, F M; Fries, M; Kater, L; Boctor, N Z; Fogel, M L; Conrad, P G; Glamoclija, M; Spencer, M; Morrow, A L; Hammond, M R; Zare, R N; Vicenzi, E P; Siljeström, S; Bowden, R; Herd, C D K; Mysen, B O; Shirey, S B; Amundsen, H E F; Treiman, A H; Bullock, E S; Jull, A J T

    2012-07-13

    The source and nature of carbon on Mars have been a subject of intense speculation. We report the results of confocal Raman imaging spectroscopy on 11 martian meteorites, spanning about 4.2 billion years of martian history. Ten of the meteorites contain abiotic macromolecular carbon (MMC) phases detected in association with small oxide grains included within high-temperature minerals. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were detected along with MMC phases in Dar al Gani 476. The association of organic carbon within magmatic minerals indicates that martian magmas favored precipitation of reduced carbon species during crystallization. The ubiquitous distribution of abiotic organic carbon in martian igneous rocks is important for understanding the martian carbon cycle and has implications for future missions to detect possible past martian life.

  5. Papers Presented to the Workshop on the Evolution of the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1992-01-01

    This volume contains papers that have been accepted for the Workshop on the Evolution of the Martian Atmosphere. The abstracts presented in the paper cover such topics as: modeling of the mars atmosphere from early development to present including specific conditions affecting development; studies of various atmospheric gases such as O2, SO2, CO2, NH3, and nitrogen; meteorite impacts and their effects on the atmosphere; and water inventories and cycles.

  6. The Martian Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, Jim

    2008-06-01

    Dedication; Acknowledgements; Foreword; Part I. Introduction and Historical Perspective: 1. Exploration of the Martian surface: 1992-2007; 2. Historical context: the pre-MGS view of Mars' surface composition; Part II. Elemental Composition: Orbital and In Situ Surface Measurements: Part II. A. Results and Interpretations from New In Situ APXS Measurements: 3. Martian surface chemistry: APXS results from the Pathfinder landing site; 4. Mars exploration rovers - chemical composition by the APXS; Part II. B. Results and Interpretations from New Orbital Elemental Measurements: 5. Elemental abundances determined via the Mars Odyssey GRS; 6. Volatiles on Mars: scientific results from the Mars Odyssey Neutron Spectrometer; Part III. Mineralogy and Remote Sensing of Rocks, Soil, Dust, and Ices: Part III. A. Visible to Near-IR Telescopic and Orbital Measurements: 7. Mineralogy of the Martian surface from Mars Express OMEGA Observations; 8. Visible to near-IR multispectral orbital observations; Part III. B. Mid-IR and Magnetic Orbital Measurements: 9. Global mineralogy mapped from the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer; 10. The compositional diversity and physical properties mapped from the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System; 11. Mars' crustal magnetization: a window into the past; Part III. C. Observations from Surface Landers/Rovers: 12. Multispectral imaging from Mars Pathfinder; 13. Mars Exploration Rover Pancam multispectral imaging of rocks, soil, and dust at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum ; 14. The mineralogy of Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum derived from the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometers on the Spirit and Opportunity Rovers; 15. Iron mineralogy and aqueous alteration on Mars from the MER Mössbauer Spectrometers; 16. Magnetic properties results from surface landers and rovers; Part III. D: 17. Martian meteorites as crustal samples; Part IV. Physical Properties of Surface Materials: 18. The thermal inertia of the surface of

  7. Meteorite Seymchan structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hontsova, S. S.; Petrova, E. V.; Muftahetdinova, R. F.; Chulanova, V. N.; Grokhovsky, V. I.

    2016-09-01

    The meteorite Seymchan specimen was studied using optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Olivine grains have roundish shapes, which was formed during matter cooling. Different features of the metal structure such as plessite structure and Neimann bands were observed. The oxide edges were observed in the boundaries between phases. The oxides were formed in the terrestrial conditions. The boundary regions between metal and olivine in the meteorite contain grains of troilite, schreibersite, and chromite.

  8. Field Studies of Gullies and Pingos on Svalbard - a Martian Analog.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlsson, E.; Johannsson, H. A. B.; Johnsson, A.; Heldmann, J. L.; McKay, C. P.; Olvmo, M.; Johansson, L.; Fredriksson, S.; Schmidt, H. T.; McDaniel, S.; Reiss, D.; Hiesinger, H.; Hauber, E.; Zanetti, M.

    2008-09-01

    Introduction: The gully systems on Mars [1] have been found to superpose young geological surfaces such as dunes and thermal contraction polygons [2]. This in combination with the general absence of superimposed impact craters suggest that the gullies are relatively recent geological formations [3]. The observed gullies display a wide set of morphologies ranging from features seemingly formed by fluvial erosion to others pointing to dry landslide processes. A recent discovery [4] suggests that this is an ongoing process, which appears to occur even today. Several formation mechanisms have been proposed for the Martian gullies, such as liquid carbon dioxide reservoirs [5], shallow liquid water aquifer [6], melting ground ice [7], dry landslide [8], snow melt [9] and deep liquid water aquifer [10]. However, none of these models can alone explain all the gullies discovered on Mars. So far Martian gullies have been studied only from orbit via remote sensing data. Hydrostatic pingos are perennial ice-cored mounds that may reach an elongated or circular radius of approximately 150 m. They are found in periglacial environments where they are formed by freezing processes in the continuous permafrost. The pingos go through different evolutionary stages as they mature, where the final stage leaves an annular rim left by the collapse of the summit. Images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) show small fractured mounds in the Martian mid-latitudes [11]. Even though some differences are observed, the best terrestrial analogues for the observed mound morphology are pingos [11]. Gullies and pingos found in Arctic climates on Earth could be an analog for the Martian ones. A comparative analysis might help to understand the formation mechanisms of the Martian pingos and gullies and their possible eroding agent. Svalbard as a Martian Analog: Svalbard is situated at 74°-81°N and 10°-35°E, in the discontinuous zone of permafrost, and is a fairly good

  9. A Study of the Electrostatic Interaction Between Insulators and Martian/Lunar Soil Simulants

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mantovani, James G.

    2001-01-01

    Using our previous experience with the Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA) electrometer, we have designed a new type of aerodynamic electrometer. The goal of the research was to measure the buildup of electrostatic surface charge on a stationary cylindrical insulator after windborne granular particles have collided with the insulator surface in a simulated dust storm. The experiments are performed inside a vacuum chamber. This allows the atmospheric composition and pressure to be controlled in order to simulate the atmospheric conditions near the equator on the Martian surface. An impeller fan was used to propel the dust particles at a cylindrically shaped insulator under low vacuum conditions. We tested the new electrometer in a 10 mbar CO2 atmosphere by exposing two types of cylindrical insulators, Teflon (1.9 cm diameter) and Fiberglass (2.5 cm diameter), to a variety of windborne granular particulate materials. The granular materials tested were JSC Mars-1 simulant, which is a mixture of coarse and fine (<5microns diameter) particle sizes, and some of the major mineral constituents of the Martian soil. The minerals included Ottawa sand (SiO2), iron oxide (Fe2O3), aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and magnesium oxide (MgO). We also constructed a MECA-like electrometer that contained an insulator capped planar electrode for measuring the amount of electrostatic charge produced by rubbing an insulator surface over Martian and lunar soil simulants. The results of this study indicate that it is possible to detect triboelectric charging of insulator surfaces by windborne Martian soil simulant, and by individual mineral constituents of the soil simulant. We have also found that Teflon and Fiberglass insulator surfaces respond in different ways by developing opposite polarity surface charge, which decays at different rates after the particle impacts cease.

  10. A carbon and nitrogen isotope study of carbonaceous vein material in ureilite meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Russell, S. S.; Arden, J. W.; Franchi, I. A.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1993-01-01

    The ureilite meteorite group is known to be rich in carbon in the form of graphite/diamond veins that are associated with planetary type noble gases. This paper reports preliminary data from a systematic study of the carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of this carbonaceous vein material. A previous study focused on the whole rock signatures and reported that the carbon inventory appeared to be dominated by the graphitic/diamond intergrowths, whereas the nitrogen was clearly composed of several distinct components including one that was isotopically light, possibly associated with the carbonaceous material. Recent studies have demonstrated that diamonds in the solar system formed in many different environments. C and N measurements from ureilitic diamond made in a similar way would be a useful addition to this overall study. The methods used for isolating diamonds of possible presolar origin from primitive meteorites are equally applicable to the processing of carbon bearing components in the ureilite group so that their stable isotopic composition can be determined. Herein we discuss conjoint C and N stepped combustion measurements made on crushed whole rock ureilite samples that have been treated with 1M HCl/9M HF to dissolve silicate and free metal. In addition, two samples have been further treated with oxidizing acids to leave a diamond rich residue.

  11. Volatile Behavior in Lunar and Terrestrial Basalts During Shock: Implications for Martian Magmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chaklader, Johny; Shearer, C. K.; Hoerz, F.; Newsom, H. E.

    2004-01-01

    The amount of water in martian magmas has significant ramifications for the martian atmosphere-hydrosphere cycle. Large D-enrichments have been observed in kaersutitic amphiboles in Zagami, Chassigny and Shergotty meteorites (delta-D values up to 4400 per mil) suggesting that substantial amounts of H escaped Mars in its past. Furthermore, martian meteorites with inclusions of biotite and apatite imply possible origins in a hydrous mantle. However, whether martian magmas ever possessed considerable proportions of water remains controversial and unclear. The H-content of mica and amphibole melt inclusions has been found to be low, while bulk-rock H2O content is also low ranging from 0.013 to 0.035 wt. % in Shergotty. Hydrous martian magmas were considered responsible for light lithophile element (LLE) zoning patterns observed in Nakhlite and Shergottite pyroxenes. Since LLEs, such as Li and B, partition into aqueous fluids at temperatures greater than 350 C, workers interpreted Li-B depletions in pyroxene rims as evidence that supercritical fluid exsolution occurred during magma degassing. In that many martian basalts experienced substantial shock (15-45 GPa) it is possible that the magmatic volatile record preserved in martian basalts has been disturbed. Previous shock experiments suggest that shock processes may effect water content and H/D. To better understand the possible effects of shock on this volatile record, we are studying the redistribution of volatile elements in naturally and experimentally shocked basalts. Here, we report the initial results from shocked basalts associated with the Lonar Crater, India and an experimentally shocked lunar basalt.

  12. Iron Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murdin, P.

    2000-11-01

    A meteorite composed mainly of nickel-iron, with traces of other metals; also referred to simply as an iron, and formerly known as a siderite. Irons account for over 6% of all known meteorite specimens. They are the easiest type to identify, being heavy, magnetic and rust-colored; their metallic sheen tarnishes quickly on the Earth's surface, but otherwise irons show better resistance to weatheri...

  13. Mars-relevant phosphate minerals and implications for Martian habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adcock, Christopher T.

    This dissertation is comprised of three studies focused on martian phosphate availability, with an introductory chapter introducing and linking the three studies. Chapter two is on the subject of merrillite synthesis. Merrillite is an extraterrestrial Ca-phosphate mineral similar to the mineral whitlockite and is found as a dominant primary phosphate mineral in martian meteorites. The chapter includes methods of whitlockite and merrillite synthesis as well as a detailed characterization of the produced minerals and a mechanism by which charge balance can be maintained when merrillite is synthesized through dehydrogenation of whitlockite. Chapter three presents the results of kinetic and thermodynamic studies on the Mars-relevant minerals chlorapatite and merrillite, as well as the more terrestrially-relevant minerals whitlockite and fluorapatite. The results of these studies indicate that the dominant primary Ca-phosphate minerals on Mars possess higher solubilities that could lead to more than twice the phosphate concentration in solution. Dissolution rates for the Mars-relevant minerals derived in the study, when combined with the higher martian phosphorus abundance, could result in phosphate release rates of up to 45x faster for a given set of aqueous conditions on Mars when compared to Earth. The implications of the results for past or present martian habitability are discussed. In Chapter four, reactive transport modeling was applied to investigate the transport and mobility of phosphate under martian conditions. The kinetic and thermodynamic data derived in Chapter three were combined with Mars mission data, results from an investigation of Mars analog basalts at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and previously published data to inform a reactive transport code and model dissolution profiles measured by Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit in Wishstone class rocks. The modeling results suggest phosphate release into near-neutral waters occurred

  14. Looking for a Source of Water in Martian Basltic Breccia NWA 7034

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Muttik, N.; Agee, C. B.; McCubbin, F. M.; McCuttcheon, W. A.; Provencio, P. P.; Keller, L. P.; Santos, A. R..; Shearer, C. K.

    2014-01-01

    The recently described martian meteorite NWA 7034 has high water content compared to other SNC meteorites. Deuterium to hydrogen isotope ratio measurements indicates that there are two distinct delta-D components in NWA 7034, a low temperature (150-500degC) light component around -100per mille and a high temperature (300-1000degC) heavy component around +300per mille. NWA 7034 contains iron-rich phases that are likely secondary aqueous alteration products. They are commonly found as spheroidal objects of various sizes that are often rich in Fe-Ti oxides and possibly iron hydroxides. Iron oxides and oxyhydroxides are very common in weathered rocks and soils on Earth and Mars and they are important components of terrestrial and Martian dust. In NWA 7034 iron-rich phases are found throughout the fine-grained basaltic groundmass of the meteorite. The total amount of martian H2O in NWA 7034 is reported to be 6000 ppm, and in this study we attempt to determine the phase distribution of this H2O by texturally describing and characterizing hydrous phases in NWA 7034, using Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

  15. Chemistry and mineralogy of Martian dust: An explorer's primer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gooding, James L.

    1991-01-01

    A summary of chemical and mineralogical properties of Martian surface dust is offered for the benefit of engineers or mission planners who are designing hardware or strategies for Mars surface exploration. For technical details and specialized explanations, references should be made to literature cited. Four sources used for information about Martian dust composition: (1) Experiments performed on the Mars surface by the Viking Landers 1 and 2 and Earth-based lab experiments attempting to duplicate these results; (2) Infrared spectrophotometry remotely performed from Mars orbit, mostly by Mariner 9; (3) Visible and infrared spectrophotometry remotely performed from Earth; and (4) Lab studies of the shergottite nakhlite chassignite (SNC) clan of meteorites, for which compelling evidence suggests origin on Mars. Source 1 is limited to fine grained sediments at the surface whereas 2 and 3 contain mixed information about surface dust (and associated rock) and atmospheric dust. Source 4 has provided surprisingly detailed information but investigations are still incomplete.

  16. Identification of new meteorite, Mihonoseki (L), from broken fragments in Japan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miura, Y.; Noma, Y.

    1993-01-01

    New meteorite of Mihonoseki fallen in Shimane-ken was identified by fine broken pieces by using an energy-dispersive scanning electron microprobe analyzer. It shows fusion-crust (i.e. Fe-Si melt), meteoritic minerals (kamacite, taenite, troilite, amorphous plagioclase etc.) and chrondrule with clear glassy rim. Mineralogical, and petrological data of several fine grains suggest that broken fragments of Mihonoseki are L3/4 chondritic meteorite which is the first identification in a Japanese fallen meteorite. The prompt identification method of meteorite-fragments will be applied to the next lunar, Martian and asteroid explorations, as well as meteorite falls on the terrestrial surface.

  17. Detectability of Martian Evaporites: Terrestrial Analog Studies with MASTER Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moersch, J. E.; Farmer, J.; Hook, S. J.

    2000-01-01

    No evaporite mineral deposits have yet been identified on Mars. We present initial results of a terrestrial analog study in Death Valley using airborne hyperspectral data to determine thresholds of detectability for evaporites in current and upcoming Mars datasets.

  18. Oral histories in meteoritics and planetary science—XVI: Donald D. Bogard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sears, Derek W. G.

    2012-03-01

    Donald D. Bogard (Don, Fig. 1) became interested in meteorites after seeing the Fayetteville meteorite in an undergraduate astronomy class at the University of Arkansas. During his graduate studies with Paul Kuroda at Arkansas, Don helped discover the Xe decay products of 244Pu. After a postdoctoral period at Caltech, where he learned much from Jerry Wasserburg, Peter Eberhardt, Don Burnett, and Sam Epstein, Don became one of a number of young Ph.D. scientists hired by NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center to set up the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL) and to perform a preliminary examination of Apollo samples. In collaboration with Oliver Schaeffer (SUNY), Joseph Zähringer (Max Planck, Heidelberg), and Raymond Davis (Brookhaven National Laboratory), he built a gas analysis laboratory at JSC, and the noble gas portion of this laboratory remained operational until he retired in 2010. At NASA, Don worked on the lunar regolith, performed pioneering work on cosmic ray produced noble gas isotopes and Ar-Ar dating, the latter for important insights into the thermal and shock history of meteorites and lunar samples. During this work, he discovered that the trapped gases in SNC meteorites were very similar to those of the Martian atmosphere and thus established their Martian origin. Among Don's many administrative accomplishments are helping to establish the Antarctic meteorite and cosmic dust processing programs at JSC and serving as a NASA-HQ discipline scientist, where he advanced peer review and helped create new programs. Don is a recipient of NASA's Scientific Achievement and Exceptional Service Medals and the Meteoritical Society's Leonard Medal.

  19. Constraints on Mantle Plume Melting Conditions in the Martian Mantle Based on Improved Melting Phase Relationships of Olivine-Phyric Shergottite Yamato 980459

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kiefer, Walter S.; Rapp, Jennifer F.; Usui, Tomohiro; Draper, David S.; Filiberto, Justin

    2016-01-01

    Martian meteorite Yamato 980459 (hereafter Y98) is an olivine-phyric shergottite that has been interpreted as closely approximating a martian mantle melt [1-4], making it an important constraint on adiabatic decompression melting models. It has long been recognized that low pressure melting of the Y98 composition occurs at extremely high temperatures relative to martian basalts (1430 degC at 1 bar), which caused great difficulties in a previous attempt to explain Y98 magma generation via a mantle plume model [2]. However, previous studies of the phase diagram were limited to pressures of 2 GPa and less [2, 5], whereas decompression melting in the present-day martian mantle occurs at pressures of 3-7 GPa, with the shallow boundary of the melt production zone occurring just below the base of the thermal lithosphere [6]. Recent experimental work has now extended our knowledge of the Y98 melting phase relationships to 8 GPa. In light of this improved petrological knowledge, we are therefore reassessing the constraints that Y98 imposes on melting conditions in martian mantle plumes. Two recently discovered olivine- phyric shergottites, Northwest Africa (NWA) 5789 and NWA 6234, may also be primary melts from the martian mantle [7, 8]. However, these latter meteorites have not been the subject of detailed experimental petrology studies, so we focus here on Y98.

  20. Field Studies of Gullies and Pingos on Svalbard - a Martian Analog.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlsson, E.; Johannsson, H. A. B.; Johnsson, A.; Heldmann, J. L.; McKay, C. P.; Olvmo, M.; Johansson, L.; Fredriksson, S.; Schmidt, H. T.; McDaniel, S.; Reiss, D.; Hiesinger, H.; Hauber, E.; Zanetti, M.

    2008-09-01

    Introduction: The gully systems on Mars [1] have been found to superpose young geological surfaces such as dunes and thermal contraction polygons [2]. This in combination with the general absence of superimposed impact craters suggest that the gullies are relatively recent geological formations [3]. The observed gullies display a wide set of morphologies ranging from features seemingly formed by fluvial erosion to others pointing to dry landslide processes. A recent discovery [4] suggests that this is an ongoing process, which appears to occur even today. Several formation mechanisms have been proposed for the Martian gullies, such as liquid carbon dioxide reservoirs [5], shallow liquid water aquifer [6], melting ground ice [7], dry landslide [8], snow melt [9] and deep liquid water aquifer [10]. However, none of these models can alone explain all the gullies discovered on Mars. So far Martian gullies have been studied only from orbit via remote sensing data. Hydrostatic pingos are perennial ice-cored mounds that may reach an elongated or circular radius of approximately 150 m. They are found in periglacial environments where they are formed by freezing processes in the continuous permafrost. The pingos go through different evolutionary stages as they mature, where the final stage leaves an annular rim left by the collapse of the summit. Images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) show small fractured mounds in the Martian mid-latitudes [11]. Even though some differences are observed, the best terrestrial analogues for the observed mound morphology are pingos [11]. Gullies and pingos found in Arctic climates on Earth could be an analog for the Martian ones. A comparative analysis might help to understand the formation mechanisms of the Martian pingos and gullies and their possible eroding agent. Svalbard as a Martian Analog: Svalbard is situated at 74°-81°N and 10°-35°E, in the discontinuous zone of permafrost, and is a fairly good

  1. Paleointensity of the Martian field from SQUID Microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, B. P.; Fong, L. E.; Lima, E. A.; Baudenbacher, F. J.; Vali, H.

    2005-12-01

    Crustal magnetic anomalies in the southern Martian hemisphere have intensities an order of magnitude larger than typical crustal anomalies on Earth. Two possible explanations for this difference are that compared to the present-day Earth, Mars has either (i) larger amounts of crustal ferromagnetic minerals or (ii) the crust was magnetized by a larger paleofield. ALH84001, the only pre-Amazonian Martian meteorite, possesses a stable magnetization dating to 4 Ga or earlier. Previous paleomagnetic studies with SQUID moment magnetometers on bulk ALH84001 grains have estimated that the paleointensity of the field which magnetized the meteorite was between 0.1-1 times that of the Earth's present field. However, these estimates may be lower limits on the true paleointensity because the orientation of the magnetization in ALH84001 is spatially heterogeneous on the submillimeter scale. This complication could have profound implications for hypothesis (ii) above. Here we first demonstrate that superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) microscopy can recover the same magnetization intensity and direction of a well characterized modern-day terrestrial basalt as that measured with a 2G Enterprises SQUID moment magnetometer. A SQUID microscope paleointensity analysis of this basalt gives the expected present day field intensity of a few tens of microtesla. We further show that our new high resolution SQUID microscopy study of ALH84001, which has mapped its heterogeneous magnetization with the highest resolution yet (0.1 mm), favors the upper range of previous paleointensity estimates for the 4 Ga Martian paleofield (e.g., within a factor of several of that of the present-day Earth). However, this field, were it dynamo in origin, is still too weak to easily explain the intensity of the Martian magnetic anomalies.

  2. Fractionated martian atmosphere in the nakhlites?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Drake, Michael J.; Swindle, Timothy D.; Owen, Tobias; Musselwhite, Donald S.

    1994-01-01

    Considerable evidence points to a martian origin of the shergottite-nakhlite-chassignite (SNC) meteorites. Noble gas isotopic compositions have been measured in most SNC meteorites. The Xe-129/Xe-132 vs. Kr-84/Xe-132 ratios in Chassigny, most shergottites, and lithology C of EETA 79001 define a linear array. This array is thought to be a mixing line between martian mantle and martian atmosphere. One of the SNC meteorites, Nakhla, contains a leachable component that has an elevated Xe-129/Xe-132 ratio relative to its Kr-84/Xe-132 ratio when compared to this approximately linear array. The leachable component probably consists in part of iddingsite, an alteration product produced by interaction of olivine with aqueous fluid at temperatures lower than 150 C. The elevated Xe isotopic ratio may represent a distinct reservoir in the martian crust or mantle. More plausibly, it is elementally fractionated martian atmosphere. Formation of sediments fractionates the noble gases in the correct direction. The range of sediment/atmosphere fractionation factors is consistent with the elevated Xe-129/Xe-132 component in Nakhla being contained in iddingsite, a low temperature weathering product. The crystallization age of Nakhla is 1.3 Ga. Its low-shock state suggests that it was ejected from near the surface of Mars. As liquid water is required for the formation of iddingsite, these observations provide further evidence for the near surface existence of aqueous fluids on Mars more recently than 1.3 Ga.

  3. Noble gas adsorption with and without mechanical stress: Not Martian signatures but fractionated air

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Herrmann, Siegfried; Ott, Ulrich

    2012-06-01

    Sample preparation, involving physical and chemical methods, is an unavoidable step in geochemical analysis. From a noble gas perspective, the two important effects are loss of sample gas and/or incorporation of air, which are significant sources of analytical artifacts. This article reports on the effects of sample exposure to laboratory air without mechanical influence and during sample grinding. The experiments include pure adsorption on terrestrial analog materials (gibbsite and olivine) and grinding of Martian meteorites. A consistent observation is the presence of an elementally fractionated air component in the samples studied. This is a critical form of terrestrial contamination in meteorites as it often mimics the heavy noble gas signatures of known extra-terrestrial end-members that are the basis of important conclusions about the origin and evolution of a meteorite. Although the effects of such contamination can be minimized by avoiding elaborate sample preparation protocols, caution should be exercised in interpreting the elemental ratios (Ar/Xe, Kr/Xe), especially in the low-temperature step extractions. The experiments can also be transferred to the investigation of Martian meteorites with long terrestrial residence times, and to Mars, where the Mars Science Laboratory mission will be able to measure noble gas signatures in the current atmosphere and in rocks and soils collected on the surface in Gale crater.

  4. Chemical compositional study of 35 iron meteorites and its application in taxonomy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, D.; Malvin, D. J.; Wasson, J. T.

    1985-01-01

    Structural and compositional data are reported as a guide to the classification of 35 iron meteorites. The Xinjiang iron meteorite, previously classified as III AB, is reclassified as III E on the basis of its lower Ga/Ni and Ge/Ni ratios, its wider, swollen kamacite bands, and the ubiquitous presence of haxonite, (Fe,Ni)22C. The Dongling (III CD) appears not to be a new meteorite, but to be paired with the Nantan. Four Antarctic iron meteorites, IAB Allan Hills A77250, A77263, A77289, and A77290, are classified as a paired meteorite because of their similarities in structure and in concentrations of various elements. It is shown that Cu shares certain properties with Ga and Ge, which makes them excellent taxonomic parameters.

  5. Experimental study of segregation in plane front solidification and its relevance to iron meteorite solidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sellamuthu, R.; Goldstein, J. I.

    1983-11-01

    A directional solidification technique was developed and applied to the problem of fractional crystallization of an iron meteorite parent body. Samples of Fe-Ni alloys close to meteorite compositions and containing S, P, and C were made. The solidified structures contain secondary phases such as sulphides within the pro-eutectic single crystal austenite (taenite). As a result of these experiments, we propose that the secondary phases observed in iron meteorites were formed during primary solidification of austenite (taenite). The measured composition profiles of Ni, P and C in the alloys were used to explain the elemental distribution within a chemical group of iron meteorites. An analytical procedure was applied to determine the equilibrium distribution coefficients as a function of fraction solidified for Ni and P from the composition profiles. The distribution coefficients of Ni and P agree with previous values. These distribution coefficients are of particular interest in the determination of the elemental distributions in iron meteorites.

  6. The chemistry that preceded life's origin: a study guide from meteorites.

    PubMed

    Pizzarello, Sandra

    2007-04-01

    Carbonaceous meteorites are rare fragments of asteroids that contain organic carbon of diverse composition, various complexity, and whose lineage can in several instances be traced back to pre-solar environments. Their analyses offer a unique glimpse into the chemistry of the solar system that preceded life and may have been available to its emergence on the early Earth. While the heterogeneity of the organic materials of meteorites is indicative of random synthetic processes for their formation, some of their components have identical counterparts in the biosphere, and a group of meteoritic amino acids were found to display chiral asymmetry, a property known since the time of Pasteur to be inextricably linked to life's processes. The ability of these amino acids to act as asymmetric catalysts, as well as indications that molecular asymmetry in meteorites may not be limited to these compounds, encourage the suggestion of possible involvement of meteoritic material in the induction of selective traits in molecular evolution. PMID:17443883

  7. New Meteorite Type NWA 8159 Augite Basalt: Specimen from a Previously Unsampled Location on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Agee, C. B.; Muttik, N.; Ziegler, K.; Walton, E. L.; Herd, C. D. K.; McCubbin, F. M.; Santos, A. R.; Simon, J. I.; Peters, T. J.; Tappa, M. J.; Sanborn, M. E.; Yin, Q.-Z.

    2014-01-01

    Up until recently the orthopyroxenite ALH 84001, a singleton martian meteorite type, was the only sample that did not fit within the common SNC types. However with the discovery of the unique basaltic breccia NWA 7034 pairing group [1] the diversity of martian meteorites beyond SNC types was expanded, and now with Northwest Africa (NWA) 8159, and its possible pairing NWA 7635 [2], the diversiy 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 geologically long-lived and complex planet such as Mars.

  8. Thermal studies of Martian channels and valleys using Termoskan data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Betts, B. H.; Murray, B. C.

    1994-01-01

    The Termoskan instrument on board the Phobos '88 spacecraft acquired the highest spatial resolution thermal infrared emission data ever obtained for Mars. Included in the thermal images 2 km/pixel, midday observations of several major channel and valley systems including significant portions of Shalbatana, Ravi, Al-Qahira, and Ma'adim Valles, the channel connecting Valles Marineris with Hydraotes Chaos, and channel material in Eos Chasma. Termoskan also observed small portions of the southern beginnings of Simud, Tiu, and Ares Valles and some channel material in Gangis Chasma. Simultaneous broadband visible reflectance data were obtained for all but Ma'adim Vallis. We find that most of the channels and valleys have higher thermal inertias than their surroundings, consistent with previous thermal studies. We show for the first time that the thermal inertia boundaries closely match flat channel floor boundaries. Also, buttes within channels have inertias similiar to the plains surrounding the channels, suggesting the buttes are remnants of a contiguous plains surface. Lower bounds on typical channel thermal inertias range from 8.4 to 12.5 (10-3 cal cm-2 s-1/2/K) (352 to 523 in SI units of J m-2 s-1/2/K). Lower bounds on inertia differences with the surrounding heavily cratered plains range from 1.1 to 3.5 (46 to 147 SI). Atmospheric and geometric effects are not sufficient to cause the observed channel inertia enhancements. We favor nonaeolian explanations of the overall channel inertia enhancements based primarily upon the channel floors' thermal homogeneity and the strong correlation of thermal boundaries with floor boundaries. However, localized, dark regions within some channels are likely aeolian in nature as reported previously. Most channels with increased inertias have fretted morphologies such as flat floors with steep walls. Eastern Ravi and southern Ares Valles, the only major channel sections observed that have obvious catastrophic flood bedforms, do not

  9. The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 87, 2003 July

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Russell, S.S.; Zipfel, J.; Folco, L.; Jones, R.; Grady, M.M.; McCoy, T.; Grossman, J.N.

    2003-01-01

    Meteoritical Bulletin No. 87 lists information for 1898 newly classified meteorites, comprising 1048 from Antarctica, 462 from Africa, 356 from Asia (355 of which are from Oman), 18 from North America, 5 from South America, 5 from Europe, and 3 from Australia. Information is provided for 10 falls (Beni M'hira, Elbert, Gasseltepaoua, Hiroshima, Kilabo, Neuschwanstein, Park Forest, Pe??, Pe??te??lkole??, and Thuathe). Two of these-Kilabo and Thuathe-fell on the same day. Orbital characteristics could be calculated for Neuschwanstein. Noteworthy specimens include 8 Martian meteorites (5 from Sahara, 2 from Oman and 1 from Antarctica), 13 lunar meteorites (all except one from Oman), 3 irons, 3 pallasites, and many carbonaceous chondrites and achondrites.

  10. Pulmonary Toxicity Study of Lunar and Martian Dust Simulants Intratracheally Instilled in Mice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lam, Chiu-Wing; James, John T.; Latch, John A.; Holian, A.; McCluskey, R.

    2000-01-01

    NASA is contemplating sending humans to Mars and the Moon for further exploration. The properties of Hawaiian and Californian volcanic ashes allow them to be used to simulate Martian and lunar dusts, respectively. NASA laboratories use these dust simulants to test performance of hardware destined for Martian or lunar environments. Workers in these test facilities are exposed to low levels of these dusts. The present study was conducted to investigate the toxicity of these dust simulants. Particles of respirable-size ranges of lunar simulant (LS), Martian simulant (MS), TiO2 (negative control) and quartz (positive control) were each intratracheally instilled (saline as vehicle) to groups of 4 mice (C57BL, male, 2-3 month old) at a single treatment of 1 (Hi dose) or 0.1 (Lo dose) mg/mouse. The lungs were harvested at the end of 7 days or 90 days for histopathological examination. Lungs of the LS-Lo groups had no evidence of inflammation, edema or fibrosis. The LS-Hi-7d group had mild to moderate acute inflammation, and neutrophilic and lymphocytic infiltration; the LS-Hi-90d group showed signs of chronic inflammation and some fibrosis. Lungs of the MS-Lo-7d group revealed mild inflammation and neutrophilic and lymphocytic infiltration; the MS-Lo-90d group showed mild fibrosis and particle-laden macrophages (PLM). Lungs of the MS-Hi-7d group demonstrated mild to moderate inflammation and large foci of PLM; the MS-Hi-90d group showed chronic mild to moderate inflammation and fibrosis. To mimic the effects of the oxidative and reactive properties of Martian soil surface, groups of mice were exposed to ozone (3 hour at 0.5 ppm) prior to MS dust instillation. Lung lesions in the MS group were more severe with the pretreatment. The results for the negative and positive controls were consistent with the known pulmonary toxicity of these compounds. The overall severity of toxic insults to the lungs were TiO2study, blood samples were

  11. Mid-infrared Study of Stones from the Sutters Mill Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nuevo, Michel; Sandford, Scott A.; Flynn, George; Wirick, Sue

    2013-01-01

    The Sutter's Mill meteorite fell in northern California on April 22, 2012, and numerous pieces have been recovered and studied with several analytical techniques [1]. We present a Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analysis of fragments from several stones of the meteorite. Methods and analysis: Infrared spectra of samples SM2 and SM12 were recorded with a Nicolet iN10 MX FTIR microscope in the mid-IR range (4000-650/cm; spectral resolution 4/cm), while samples SM20 and SM30 were analyzed with a synchrotron-based Nicolet Continuum IR microscope in the same range. Samples were deposited on a clean glass slide, crushed with either a stainless steel roller tool or between 2 slides, and placed directly on the focal plane of the microscopes. Results: IR spectra of non-fusion crust samples show several absorption features associated with minerals such as olivines, phyllosilicates, carbonates (calcite and dolomite), and pyroxenes, as well as organics [2]. The carbonates display a main, broad band centered at 1433/cm, with additional bands at 2515/cm, 1797/cm, 882/cm, and 715/cm. Features associated with phyllosilicates include a symmetric Si-O stretching mode band centered at 1011/cm and several O-H stretching mode bands?a broad band centered at 3415/cm that is probably due to adsorbed H2O, and occasionally a much weaker, narrower feature centered near 3680/cm due to structural O-H. Features observed in the 2985-2855/cm range suggest the presence of aliphatic -CH3 and -CH2- groups. However, some of these bands show unusual relative intensities, mainly because of carbonate overtone bands that fall in the same spectral range, which can make the identification of C-H stretching bands problematic. The positions and relative strengths of the aliphatic -CH2- and -CH3 features, where they can be distinguished from overlapping carbonate bands, are consistent with those in interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and Murchison. Finally, the absence of a strong C

  12. Mid-Infrared Study of Samples from Multiple Stones from the Sutters Mill Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, S. A.; Nuevo, M.; Flynn, G. J.; Wirick, S.

    2013-01-01

    The Sutter's Mill meteorite fell in N. California on April 22, 2012 and numerous pieces have been recovered and studied. We present Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra of fragments from several stones of the meteorite. Methods and analysis: Infrared spectra of the samples were recorded with a Nicolet iN10 MX FTIR microscope in the mid-IR range (4000-675/cm; spectral resolution 4/cm). All samples were deposited on a clean glass slide, crushed with a stainless steel roller tool, and placed directly on the focal plane of the microscope. IR spectra were collected by averaging 128 scans. Results: Preliminary IR spectra of the non-fusion crust samples show mineral compositions that are dominated by phyllosilicates, carbonates, or mixtures of both [2]. The carbonates display a dominant, broad band centered at 1433/cm, with additional bands at 2515/cm, 1797/cm, 882/cm, and 715/cm). Features associated with phyllosilicates include a symmetric Si-O stretching mode band centered at 1011/cm and several O-H stretching mode bands. The O-H shows up in two forms (1) a broadband centered at 3415/cm that is probably largely due to adsorbed H2O and (2) a much weaker, narrower feature centered near 3680/cm due to structural -OH. Features observed in the 2985-2855/cm range suggest the presence of aliphatic -CH3 and -CH2- groups. The relative intensities of the bands in this range are somewhat unusual. Typically, the asymmetric aliphatic CH stretching bands are stronger than the symmetric stretching bands, but in this case the reverse is true. This unusual pattern is well matched by the aliphatic features seen in the spectrum of a terrestrial calcite (CaCO3) standard. This observation, and the fact that the strength of the carbonate and aliphatic bands seem to correlate, suggest the organics are associated with the carbonates. Conclusions: IR spectra of samples from the Sutter's Mill meteorite show absorption features associated with carbonates, phyllosilicates, and organics. Both

  13. Investigations of Martian history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartmann, W. K.

    1976-01-01

    Geologic and stratigraphic analyses of Martian channels were accomplished using Mariner frames of high resolution. Crater counts were made to determine which forms had the least relative age. Results indicate that major channel and chaotic systems were relatively young, and that Mars experienced periods of enhanced erosive activity during a period of early dense atmospheric activity with rain. The problem of absolute age determination is discussed and geomorphological studies of selected Local Martian Regions are presented.

  14. Meteorite craters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ivanov, B. A.; Bazilevskiy, A. T.

    1986-01-01

    The origin and formation of various types of craters, both on the Earth and on other planetary bodies, are discussed. Various models are utilized to depict various potential causes of the types and forms of meteorite craters in our solar system, and the geological structures are also discussed.

  15. Mid-Infrared Study of Samples from Several Stones from the Sutter's Mill Meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, Scott; Nuevo, Michel; Flynn, George J.; Wirick, Sue

    2013-01-01

    On April 22, 2012, a fireball was observed over California and Nevada, and the falling fragments of the meteorite were detected by weather radar near small townships in the El Dorado County, California. Some of these stones were collected at Sutter s Mill, in the historic site where the California gold rush was initiated, giving the name to this meteorite. Thus far, 77 pieces of the meteorite have been collected, for a total mass of 943 g, with the biggest stone weighing 205 g [1].

  16. Martian ages

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neukum, G.; Hiller, K.

    1981-01-01

    Four discussions are conducted: (1) the methodology of relative age determination by impact crater statistics, (2) a comparison of proposed Martian impact chronologies for the determination of absolute ages from crater frequencies, (3) a report on work dating Martian volcanoes and erosional features by impact crater statistics, and (4) an attempt to understand the main features of Martian history through a synthesis of crater frequency data. Two cratering chronology models are presented and used for inference of absolute ages from crater frequency data, and it is shown that the interpretation of all data available and tractable by the methodology presented leads to a global Martian geological history that is characterized by two epochs of activity. It is concluded that Mars is an ancient planet with respect to its surface features.

  17. Martian ages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neukum, G.; Hiller, K.

    1981-04-01

    Four discussions are conducted: (1) the methodology of relative age determination by impact crater statistics, (2) a comparison of proposed Martian impact chronologies for the determination of absolute ages from crater frequencies, (3) a report on work dating Martian volcanoes and erosional features by impact crater statistics, and (4) an attempt to understand the main features of Martian history through a synthesis of crater frequency data. Two cratering chronology models are presented and used for inference of absolute ages from crater frequency data, and it is shown that the interpretation of all data available and tractable by the methodology presented leads to a global Martian geological history that is characterized by two epochs of activity. It is concluded that Mars is an ancient planet with respect to its surface features.

  18. Evidence for Ancient Martian Life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Three SNC meteorites ranging in age from 4.5 Ga. to 1.3 Ga. to 165 m.y. contain features suggestive, of past biogenic activity on Mars. Because we do not know what past martian life looks like or its physical or chemical properties, the only tools or criteria which the scientific community have to evaluate evidence of past life is to use evidence for early life on earth. There are features within ALH8400 I's carbonate globules and the pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration phases of Nakhla and Shergotty which have been interpreted as possible evidence for past life on early Mars. Eight criteria have been established for the recognition of past life within terrestrial geologic samples. They are: (a) geologic context; (b) sample's age and stratigraphic location (c) cellular morphology; (d) colonies; (e) biominerals; (f) stable isotope patterns unique to biology; (g) organic biomarkers; (h) indigenous features to the sample. For general acceptance of past life, essentially most or all of these criteria must be met. Studies have shown conclusively that the reduced carbon components in ALH84001 and Nakhla are indigenous to the meteorites and are not terrestrial contaminants Based on carbon isotopic compositions and mineralogical morphologies, there is no question or disagreement that the carbonate globules or embedded magnetites in ALH84001 and the pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration products in Nakhla and Shergotty were formed on Mars. Possible microfossil structures and some reduced carbon components in the carbonates and pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration products are, therefore, almost certainly indigenous, but other possible evidence for life (e.g. amino acids) may be a result of terrestrial contamination Our hypothesis of possible early life on Mars was presented in August 1996. Today, we believe it stands stronger than when originally presented. To date, no fatal strikes have been made to any of our original four lines of evidence. While details of the hypothesis are

  19. Lafayette, a case study for quantitative determination of P, T and X of a Martian subsurface fluid - and application to orbiter and lander data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwenzer, S. P.; Bridges, J.

    2012-12-01

    the geologic context and assemblage information needed to determine formation conditions. Meteorite work therefore provides the basis needed to more accurately use orbiter observations to assess Martian subsurface conditions and habitability. The case study of mineralogical observations combined with thermochemical modeling of Lafayette also demonstrates the insights to be gained from data returned from landed missions, which are capable of observing detailed geologic context in combination with mineral species and chemistry. In particular, the Mars Science Laboratory mission will obtain an accurate set of chemical and mineralogical data from ChemCam, CheMin, APXS, and SAM; the geologic context will be provided by a set of cameras, including close up views from MAHLI (Grotzinger et al. 2012, Space Sci. Rev., DOI 10.1007/s11214-012-9892-2). The likely data are comparable to that being gained from meteorites. Thermochemical modeling routines as presented here are thus expected to give insights into P, T, and X of the observed sites, aiding the assessment of habitability.

  20. Mineralogical Composition of the Mexican Ordinary Chondrite Type Meteorite: A Raman, Infrared and XRD Study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ostrooumov, M.

    2016-08-01

    The Raman microprobe (RMP), infrared (IR) and XRD analysis have been applied to the examination of mineralogical composition of seven mexican meteorites: Aldama, Cosina, El Pozo, Escalon, Nuevo Mercurio,Pacula, Zapotitlan Salinas.

  1. A nitrogen and argon stable isotope study of Allan Hills 84001: implications for the evolution of the Martian atmosphere.

    PubMed

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

    1998-07-01

    The abundances and isotopic compositions of N and Ar have been measured by stepped combustion of the Allan Hills 84001 (ALH 84001) Martian orthopyroxenite. Material described as shocked is N-poor ([N] approximately 0.34 ppm; delta 15N approximately +23%); although during stepped combustion, 15N-enriched N (delta 15N approximately +143%) is released in a narrow temperature interval between 700 degrees C and 800 degrees C (along with 13C-enriched C (delta 13C approximately +19%) and 40Ar). Cosmogenic species are found to be negligible at this temperature; thus, the isotopically heavy component is identified, in part, as Martian atmospheric gas trapped relatively recently in the history of ALH84001. The N and Ar data show that ALH84001 contains species from the Martian lithosphere, a component interpreted as ancient trapped atmosphere (in addition to the modern atmospheric species), and excess 40Ar from K decay. Deconvolution of radiogenic 40Ar from other Ar components, on the basis of end-member 36Ar/14N and 40Ar/36Ar ratios, has enabled calculation of a K-Ar age for ALH 84001 as 3.5-4.6 Ga, depending on assumed K abundance. If the component believed to be Martian palaeoatmosphere was introduced to ALH 84001 at the time the K-Ar age was set, then the composition of the atmosphere at this time is constrained to: delta 15N > or = +200%, 40Ar/36Ar < or = 3000 and 36Ar/14N > or = 17 x 10(-5). In terms of the petrogenetic history of the meteorite, ALH 84001 crystallised soon after differentiation of the planet, may have been shocked and thermally metamorphosed in an early period of bombardment, and then subjected to a second event. This later process did not reset the K-Ar system but perhaps was responsible for introducing (recent) atmospheric gases into ALH 84001; and it might mark the time at which ALH 84001 suffered fluid alteration resulting in the formation of the plagioclase and carbonate mineral assemblages. PMID:11543078

  2. Organic Chemistry of Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chang, S.; Morrison, David (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    Studies of the molecular structures and C,N,H-isotopic compositions of organic matter in meteorites reveal a complex history beginning in the parent interstellar cloud which spawned the solar system. Incorporation of interstellar dust and gas in the protosolar nebula followed by further thermal and aqueous processing on primordial parent bodies of carbonaceous, meteorites have produced an inventory of diverse organic compounds including classes now utilized in biochemistry. This inventory represents one possible set of reactants for chemical models for the origin of living systems on the early Earth. Evidence bearing on the history of meteoritic organic matter from astronomical observations and laboratory investigations will be reviewed and future research directions discussed.

  3. Primordial material in meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kerridge, J. F.

    1986-01-01

    Primordial is a term which applied to material that entered the solar system early and became incorporated into a meteorite without totally losing its identity. Identification of such material surviving in meteorites is so far solely through recognition of anomalous isotopic compositions of generally macroscopic entities contained within those meteorites. Isotopic anomalies are, by definition, isotopic compositions which differ from the canonical solar system abundances in ways which cannot be explained in terms of local processes such as mass dependent fractionation, cosmic ray induced spallation or decay of radionuclides. A comprehensive account of isotopic anomalies is impractical here, so it is necessary to be selective. Issues which are potentially addressable through the study of such primordial material are examined. Those issues will be illustrated with specific, but not exhaustive, examples.

  4. SNC Meteorites, Organic Matter and a New Look at Viking

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Warmflash, David M.; Clemett, Simon J.; McKay, David S.

    2001-01-01

    Recently, evidence has begun to grow supporting the possibility that the Viking GC-MS would not have detected certain carboxylate salts that could have been present as metastable oxidation products of high molecular weight organic species. Additionally, despite the instrument's high sensitivity, the possibility had remained that very low levels of organic matter, below the instrument's detection limit, could have been present. In fact, a recent study indicates that the degradation products of several million microorganisms per gram of soil on Mars would not have been detected by the Viking GC-MS. Since the strength of the GC-MS findings was considered enough to dismiss the biology packet, particularly the LR results, any subsequent evidence suggesting that organic molecules may in fact be present on the Martian surface necessitates a re-evaluation of the Viking LR data. In addition to an advanced mass spectrometer to look for isotopic signatures of biogenic processes, future lander missions will include the ability to detect methane produced by methanogenic bacteria, as well as techniques based on biotechnology. Meanwhile, the identification of Mars samples already present on Earth in the form of the SNC meteorites has provided us with the ability to study samples of the Martian upper crust a decade or more in advance of any planned sample return missions. While contamination issues are of serious concern, the presence of indigenous organic matter in the form of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons has been detected in the Martian meteorites ALH84001 and Nakhla, while there is circumstantial evidence for carbonaceous material in Chassigny. The radiochronological ages of these meteorites are 4.5 Ga, 1.3 Ga, and 165 Ma respectively representing a span of time in Earth history from the earliest single-celled organisms to the present day. Given this perspective on organic material, a biological interpretation to the Viking LR results can no longer be ruled out. In the LR

  5. Solar proton produced neon in shergottite meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garrison, D. H.; Rao, M. N.; Bogard, D. D.

    1994-01-01

    Cosmogenic radionuclides produced by near-surface, nuclear interactions of energetic solar protons (approx. 10-100 MeV) were reported in several lunar rocks and a very small meteorites. We recently documented the existence and isotopic compositions of solar-produced (SCR) Ne in two lunar rocks. Here we present the first documented evidence for SCR Ne in a meteorite, ALH77005, which was reported to contain SCR radionuclides. Examination of literature data for other shergottites suggests that they may also contain a SCR Ne component. The existence of SCR Ne in shergottites may be related to a Martian origin.

  6. Vigie-Ciel : a french citizen network to study meteors and meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouley, S.; Zanda, B.; Colas, F.; Vaubaillon, J.; Marmo, C.; Vernazza, P.; Gattacceca, J.

    2013-12-01

    Vigie Ciel is a french citizen network supported by the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) and the Université Paris-Sud (UPsud). It is based on the scientific FRIPON program developed by Paris Observatory (Fireball Recovery and Planetary Inter Observation Network) which has for main goal to (i) determine the source region(s) of the various meteorite classes, (ii) collect both fresh and rare meteorite types and (iii) perform scientific outreach. This will be achieved by building the densest camera network in the world, based on state of the art technologies and associated with a participative network for meteorite recovery. We propose to install a network of 100 digital cameras covering the entire French territory to compute impact locations with accuracy of the order of one kilometer. Considering that there are 5 to 25 falls over France per year (~15 on average), during the same time, we will observe ~50 falls out of which we realistically expect to find 10 meteorites. Our project is original in several ways. (i) It is inter-disciplinary, involving experts in meteoritics, asteroidal science as well as fireball observation and dynamics. It will thus create new synergies between prominent institutions and/or laboratories, namely between MNHN, Paris Observatory and Université Paris-Sud in the Parisian region; and between CEREGE and LAM in the Provence region. Overall, scientists from over 25 laboratories will be involved, covering a mix of scientific disciplines and all the regions of France. (ii) It will generate a large body of data, feeding databases of interest to several disciplines (e.g. bird migration, variations of the luminosity of the brightest stars, observation of space debris, meteorology...). (iii) It will for the first time involve the general public (including schools) in the search for the meteorite falls, thus boosting the interest in meteorite and asteroid related science.

  7. Planetary Bioresources and Astroecology. 1. Planetary Microcosm Bioassays of Martian and Carbonaceous Chondrite Materials: Nutrients, Electrolyte Solutions, and Algal and Plant Responses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mautner, Michael N.

    2002-07-01

    The biological fertilities of planetary materials can be assessed using microcosms based on meteorites. This study applies microcosm tests to martian meteorites and analogues and to carbonaceous chondrites. The biological fertilities of these materials are rated based on the soluble electrolyte nutrients, the growth of mesophile and cold-tolerant algae, and plant tissue cultures. The results show that the meteorites, in particular the Murchison CM2 carbonaceous chondrite and DaG 476 martian shergottite, contain high levels of water-extractable Ca, Mg, and SO 4-S. The martian meteorites DaG 476 and EETA 79001 also contain higher levels of extractable essential nutrients NO 3-N (0.013-0.017 g kg -1) and PO 4-P (0.019-0.046 g kg -1) than the terrestrial analogues. The yields of most of the water-extractable electrolytes vary only by factors of 2-3 under a wide range of planetary conditions. However, the long-term extractable phosphate increases significantly under a CO 2 atmosphere. The biological yields of algae and plant tissue cultures correlate with extractable NO 3-N and PO 4-P, identifying these as the limiting nutrients. Mesophilic algae and Asparagus officinalis cultures are identified as useful bioassay agents. A fertility rating system based on microcosm tests is proposed. The results rate the fertilities in the order martian basalts > terrestrial basalt, agricultural soil > carbonaceous chondrites, lava ash > cumulate igneous rock. The results demonstrate the application of planetary microcosms in experimental astroecology to rate planetary materials as targets for astrobiology exploration and as potential space bioresources. For example, the extractable materials in Murchison suggest that concentrated internal solutions in carbonaceous asteroids (3.8 mol L -1 electrolytes and 10 g L -1 organics) can support and disperse microorganisms introduced by natural or directed panspermia in early solar systems. The results also suggest that carbonaceous asteroids

  8. Water on Mars: Clues from Deuterium/Hydrogen and Water Contents of Hydrous Phases in SNC Meteorites.

    PubMed

    Watson, L L; Hutcheon, I D; Epstein, S; Stolper, E M

    1994-07-01

    Ion microprobe studies of hydrous amphibole, biotite, and apatite in shergottite-nakhlite-chassignite (SNC) meteorites, probable igneous rocks from Mars, indicate high deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratios relative to terrestrial values. The amphiboles contain roughly one-tentn as much water as expected, suggesting that SNC magmas were less hydrous than previously proposed. The high but variable D/H values of these minerals are best explained by postcrystallization D enrichment of initially D-poor phases by martian crustal fluids with near atmospheric D/H (about five times the terrestrial value). These igneous phases do not directly reflect the D/H ratios of martian "magmatic" water but provide evidence for a D-enriched martian crustal water reservoir.

  9. Chalcophile Siderophile Trace Element Systematics of Hydrothermal Pyrite from Martian Regolith Breccia NWA 7533

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorand, J.-P.; Hewins, R. H.; Humayun, M.; Remusat, L.; Zanda, B.; La, C.; Pont, S.

    2016-08-01

    Martian impact breccia NWA 7533 contains hydrothermal pyrite. Laser ablation ICPMS analyses show that its chalcophile siderophile element content was inherited from both early meteorite bombardment and later hydrothermal inputs from H2S fluids.

  10. Martian Noble Gases in Recently Found Shergottites, Nakhlites, and Breccia Northwest Africa 8114

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Busemann, H.; Seiler, S.; Wieler, R.; Kuga, M.; Maden, C.; Irving, A. J.; Clay, P. L.; Joy, K. H.

    2015-07-01

    New noble gas data for several recently found martian meteorites will be presented to determine cosmic-ray exposure ages and source pairing. The presence of trapped (atmospheric) components and discrepancies to earlier data sets will be discussed.

  11. International Workshop on Antarctic Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Annexstad, J. O.; Schultz, L.; Waenke, H.

    1986-01-01

    Topics addressed include: meteorite concentration mechanisms; meteorites and the Antarctic ice sheet; iron meteorites; iodine overabundance in meteorites; entrainment, transport, and concentration of meteorites in polar ice sheets; weathering of stony meteorites; cosmic ray records; radiocarbon dating; element distribution and noble gas isotopic abundances in lunar meteorites; thermoanalytical characterization; trace elements; thermoluminescence; parent sources; and meteorite ablation and fusion spherules in Antarctic ice.

  12. Coordinated International Laboratory Studies of Meteorites Supporting Rosetta Mission's Asteroid Flybys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McFadden, L. A.; A'Hearn, M. F.; Ammanito, E.; Cloutis, E.; Coradini, A.; de Sanctis, M.; Feaga, L. M.; Fulchignoni, M.; Hadamcik, E.; Hiroi, T.; Kolokolova, L.; Levasseur-Regourd, A.; Ovcharenko, A. A.; Parker, W. J.; Psarev, V. A.; Renard, J.

    2009-05-01

    The Rosetta spacecraft flew by asteroid 2867 Steins in September 2008, collecting images, UV, visible and IR spectra and radar reflections. A flyby of the ˜95 km diameter asteroid 21 Lutetia is scheduled for July, 2010. Laboratory studies using meteoritic and terrestrial samples are designed to support interpretation of the observations of the asteroid targets. The goal is to study likely meteoritic analogues of Steins and Lutetia in several laboratories using the same samples in multiple experiments simulating the conditions and types of measurements made during the flybys. The first sample, 5g of an aubrite, ALHA78113,82, is an achondrite consisting of very low iron, high magnesium silicates, with small amounts of metallic and sulfide grains that may be a fragment from Steins. Chips and powdered samples have been measured in reflectance at Brown University, RELAB. Spectral imaging in visible, at INAF, Roma, was conducted on a chip before it was powdered. The spectrum has high albedo (20-40%) depending on grain size and abundance of opaque minerals. It also has an ultraviolet absorption band with two slopes and no 1- nor 2-μm bands. There is no absorption at 0.5 μm as there is in telescopic spectra of Steins. There are two separate questions related to aubrites and Steins. First, what is the nature of the absorption band first measured in the sample of ALH78113,101 at 0.42 μm? And quite separately, what is the spectroscopically active feature in the ground-based spectrum and OSIRIS photometry of Steins at 0.50 μm? Polarization and phase functions have been measured by PROGRA2-vis and -surf covering 6-150° at two wavelengths. Very small phase angle measurements are planned at Kharkiv, and ultraviolet spectra will be measured at Southwest Research Institute, Boulder along with olivine, enstatite, troilite (FeS) and Fe0. Plans are developing to measure the dielectric constant and magnetic susceptibility of the sample. Irradiated samples simulating space

  13. Study of Electrical Activity in Martian Dust Storms with the Deep Space Network antennas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez, S.; Kuiper, T. B. H.; Majid, W. A.; Garcia-Miro, C.; Tamppari, L. K.; Renno, N. O.; Ruf, C.; Trinh, J. T.

    2012-09-01

    Evidence for non-thermal emission produced by electrostatic discharges in a deep Martian dust storm has been reported by Ruf et al. 2009 [1]. Such discharges had been detected with an innovative kurtosis detector installed in a 34m radio telescope of the Deep Space Network (DSN) in June of 2006. The kurtosis (the fourth central moment of the signal normalized by the square of the second central moment) is extremely sensitive to the presence of non-thermal radiation, but is insensitive to variations in the intensity of the thermal radiation and instrument gain. The non-thermal radiation was detected while a 35 Km deep Martian dust storm was within the field of view of the radio telescope and presented signatures of modulation by the Martian Schumann Resonance. Encouraged by this discovery, several attempts have been made within the DSN to confirm the detection using the R&D antenna (DSS-13) and other antennas in the Madrid and Goldstone complexes, but using a very limited receiver, in terms of recorded data rates, the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Science Receiver (VSR). We are planning to initiate an extensive monitoring of Mars emission in a noninterfering basis while our antennas are tracking various Mars probes, using the Wideband Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Science Receiver (WVSR). The WVSR is a very flexible open-loop digital backend that is used for radio science and spacecraft navigation support in the DSN. This instrument allows us to sample a larger bandwidth than with previously used detectors. The processing to look for the kurtosis signature will be performed in software, limited only by the computer capacity. Additionally there are plans to develop an even more powerful custom-built detector based in CASPER technology and Graphic Processing Units for enhance computational power. This contribution will describe how we plan to select the target Mars tracking passes from the DSN schedule. An automated process will generate

  14. Mysterious iodine-overabundance in Antarctic meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dreibus, G.; Waenke, H.; Schultz, L.

    1986-01-01

    Halogen as well as other trace element concentrations in meteorite finds can be influenced by alteration processes on the Earth's surface. The discovery of Antarctic meteorites offered the opportunity to study meteorites which were kept in one of the most sterile environment of the Earth. Halogen determination in Antartic meteorites was compared with non-Antarctic meteorites. No correlation was found between iodine concentration and the weathering index, or terrestrial age. The halogen measurements indicate a contaminating phase rich in iodine and also containing chlorine. Possible sources for this contamination are discussed.

  15. Meteorites and the Antarctic ice sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cassidy, W. A.

    1986-01-01

    The majority of the meteorite finds were located in the Allan Hills site. All the expected goals involving the recovery of rare or previously unknown types of meteorites, and even the recovery of lunar ejecta, were realized. The relationship between these remarkable concentrations of meteorites and the Antarctic ice sheet itself were less well documented. Ice flow vector studies were made and concentration models were proposed. Earlier estimates of the abundances of meteorite types were based on the number of falls in the world collections. The accumulated data and the future collected data will allow more reliable estimates of the source region of most meteorites.

  16. Meteorite Movement during deceleration Studied Analogically with Magnetic Remanence in the Bullet.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takac, M.; Kletetschka, G.

    2015-12-01

    A movement in which meteorite deccelerated during its atmosphere entry is often a mystery. We are solving this topic using guns and magnetic properties of projectiles. Meteorite is experimentally replaced by bullet.We use magnetic remanence as a tool to reconstruct at least part of the history of moving bodies. We are trying to characterize magnetic acquisition/loss of the bullets and than use acquired knowledge for bullet and meteorite tracing. The bullet is heated to high temperature by hot gases during firing. As it cools it gets its unique remanent magnetization signature. A similar process applies to meteorites, which are heated after entry into the atmosphere. A unique signature is made out of multiple magnetic vectors, which are related to both direction of the geomagnetic field and direction of the trajectory of the projectile. Measurement results from bullets are being used for understanding the final history of meteorite descend. The information provided by remanent magnetization can be used to retrieve at least some characteristics of the trajectory of the projectile. Our research is carried out experimentally. We made system for bullet magnetic modification that we use to track specific process of magnetic acquisition/loss. We have found significant potential in their magnetic remanence acquisition by choosing specific magnetic carriers and their grain size as part of the bullet composition.

  17. Trace element and isotope studies in oxide/phosphate/silicate inclusions of iron meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Olsen, Edward J.

    1996-01-01

    Under the above grant research was funded in the following areas: 1. Pallasites: Rare earth element measurements in phosphates to determine if all pallasites fit into only two trace element groups. This work has been completed. 2. HIAB irons: To complete work on the only known silicate inclusion in a IIIAB iron meteorite. This work has been completed. 3. IIIAB irons: To continue the search for Cr-53 excesses in IIIAB iron meteorite phosphates. A part of this work has been completed 4. IIIAB irons: To complete the identification of the phosphate minerals in IIIAB iron meteorites and try to determine the phase relations and chemical history of trace element distributions during the core formation process. Work on this has been largely completed and preliminary results have been reported. The final work is being assessed prior to preparation of a manuscript for publication. 5. IIE irons: To complete work on the unique silicate assemblage in the IIE iron meteorite. Work on this was completed and a paper published. 6. Ungrouped irons: A partially devitrified silicate glass inclusion has been found in the ungrouped iron meteorite. Preliminary work on this has been reported. All the work on this has been now completed and a manuscript has been prepared and submitted for publication.

  18. AOTF near-IR spectrometers for study of Lunar and Martian surface composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korablev, O.; Kiselev, A.; Vyazovetskiy, N.; Fedorova, A.; Evdokimova, N.; Stepanov, A.; Titov, A.; Kalinnikov, Y.; Kuzmin, R. O.; Bazilevsky, A. T.; Bondarenko, A.; Moiseev, P.

    2013-09-01

    The series of the AOTF near-IR spectrometers is developed in Moscow Space Research Institute for study of Lunar and Martian surface composition in the vicinity of a lander or a rover. Lunar Infrared Spectrometer (LIS) is an experiment onboard Luna-Glob (launch in 2015) and Luna-Resurs (launch in 2017) Russian surface missions. The LIS is mounted on the mechanic arm of landing module in the field of view (45°) of stereo TV camera. Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars (ISEM) is an experiment onboard ExoMars (launch in 2018) ESARoscosmos rover. The ISEM instrument is mounted on the rover's mast together with High Resolution camera (HRC). Spectrometers will provide measurements of selected surface area in the spectral range of 1.15-3.3 μm. The electrically commanded acousto-optic filter scans sequentially at a desired sampling, with random access, over the entire spectral range.

  19. Bringing Outer Space into the Classroom: Loanable Space Science Modules from the Center for Meteorite Studies and Mars Education Program at Arizona State University

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hines, R.; Taylor, W.; Minitti, M. E.; Wadhwa, M.

    2010-03-01

    The Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS) and Mars Education Program at Arizona State University have developed loanable teaching modules designed to provide high-quality educational materials to local educators and students.

  20. Deception island, Antarctica: a terrestrial analogue for the study and understanding of the martian permafrost and subsurface glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernandez de Pablo, M. A.; Ramos, M.; Vieira, G.; Gilichinsky, D.; Gómez, F.; Molina, A.; Segovia, R.

    2009-04-01

    The existence of permafrost on Mars was widely studied since Viking era and its presence is fundamental in the understanding of the water-cycle, the geological history of Mars, and the evolution of the martian hydrosphere. Viking, MOC, THEMIS, HRSC and HiRISE images allowed increase our knowledge about the role of ice on the martian landscapes. Polygonal terrains, glacial-like features, "basketball terrain" or pingos are some of the landforms that reveal the existence of frozen ice near the surface and in the ground forming the martian permafrost on present, recent or ancient times. The field observations and analyses done by Phoenix mission seem to confirm the existence of the martian permafrost hypothesized by the analyses of the images acquired by the previous missions to Mars. Moreover, the recent interpretations of the (RADAR) sensor on board of MRO mission also revealed that the surface of Mars seems to cover an important volume of ice forming glaciers covered by different materials. Here we propose the study of the glaciers and permafrost of Deception Island (Antarctica) such as a terrestrial analogue of the glaciers and permafrost of Mars. This active volcanic island is an exceptional site to study the permafrost since the climatic conditions maintain the surface covered by the ice and snow during the main part of the year. This characteristic allows the existence of an important permafrost layer also during the summer, and permanent glaciers in the higher part of the island. In addition, Deception Island is an active volcano. Some of the glaciers are covered by the ash and tephra what made difficult to distinguish between the covered glacier and the permafrost. The eruptive volcanic materials could have similar characteristics than some martian regolith by lithology, granulometry and texture. In this way, the study of the permafrost and glaciers in Deception Island could help to understand the martian permafrost and glaciers at present. On the other hand

  1. An atom probe study of phase decomposition in three iron meteorites

    SciTech Connect

    Miller, M.K.; Russell, K.F.

    1989-01-01

    An atom probe field-ion microscopy characterization of the Cape York, Twin City and Santa Catharina iron-nickel meteorites has been performed. This investigation has revealed that the taenite, corresponding to an interface region between the cloudy zone and the clear taenite 2 (CT2) region in the Cape York meteorite and the matrix of the Twin City and Santa Catharina meteorites, has phase separated to form an ultra-fine scale duplex microstructure. The composition of these two phases was determined to be 50 at. % Ni and approximately 15 at. % Ni. These compositions correspond to the equiatomic FeNi L1/sub 0/-ordered phase and a disordered face centered cubic phase. 38 refs., 16 figs., 3 tabs.

  2. Studies of Brazilian meteorites. III - Origin and history of the Angra dos Reis achondrite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prinz, M.; Keil, K.; Hlava, P. F.; Berkley, J. L.; Gomes, C. B.; Curvello, W. S.

    1977-01-01

    The mineral composition of the Angra dos Reis meteorite, which fell in 1869, is described. This achondrite contains phases reported in a meteorite for the first time. Petrofabric analysis shows that fassaite has a preferred orientation and lineation, which is interpreted as being due to cumulus processes, possibly the effect of post-depositional magmatic current flow or laminar flow of a crystalline mush. The mineral chemistry indicates crystallization from a highly silica-undersaturated melt at low pressure. Several aspects of the mineral composition are discussed with reference to the implications of crystallization conditions.

  3. A Noachian source region for the "Black Beauty" meteorite, and a source lithology for Mars surface hydrated dust?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beck, P.; Pommerol, A.; Zanda, B.; Remusat, L.; Lorand, J. P.; Göpel, C.; Hewins, R.; Pont, S.; Lewin, E.; Quirico, E.; Schmitt, B.; Montes-Hernandez, G.; Garenne, A.; Bonal, L.; Proux, O.; Hazemann, J. L.; Chevrier, V. F.

    2015-10-01

    The Martian surface is covered by a fine-layer of oxidized dust responsible for its red color in the visible spectral range (Bibring et al., 2006; Morris et al., 2006). In the near infrared, the strongest spectral feature is located between 2.6 and 3.6 μm and is ubiquitously observed on the planet (Jouglet et al., 2007; Milliken et al., 2007). Although this absorption has been studied for many decades, its exact attribution and its geological and climatic implications remain debated. We present new lines of evidence from laboratory experiments, orbital and landed missions data, and characterization of the unique Martian meteorite NWA 7533, all converging toward the prominent role of hydroxylated ferric minerals. Martian breccias (so-called "Black Beauty" meteorite NWA7034 and its paired stones NWA7533 and NWA 7455) are unique pieces of the Martian surface that display abundant evidence of aqueous alteration that occurred on their parent planet (Agee et al., 2013). These dark stones are also unique in the fact that they arose from a near surface level in the Noachian southern hemisphere (Humayun et al., 2013). We used IR spectroscopy, Fe-XANES and petrography to identify the mineral hosts of hydrogen in NWA 7533 and compare them with observations of the Martian surface and results of laboratory experiments. The spectrum of NWA 7533 does not show mafic mineral absorptions, making its definite identification difficult through NIR remote sensing mapping. However, its spectra are virtually consistent with a large fraction of the Martian highlands. Abundant NWA 7034/7533 (and paired samples) lithologies might abound on Mars and might play a role in the dust production mechanism.

  4. Microfossils in Carbonaceous Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoover, Richard B.

    2009-01-01

    Microfossils of large filamentous trichomic prokaryotes have been detected during in-situ investigations of carbonaceous meteorites. This research has been carried out using the Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) to examine freshly fractured interior surfaces of the meteorites. The images obtained reveal that many of these remains are embedded in the meteorite rock matrix. Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) studies establish that the filamentous microstructures have elemental compositions consistent with the meteorite matrix, but are often encased within carbon-rich electron transparent sheath-like structures infilled with magnesium sulfate. This is consistent with the taphonomic modes of fossilization of cyanobacteria and sulphur bacteria, since the life habits and processes of these microorganisms frequently result in distinctive chemical biosignatures associated with the properties of their cell-walls, trichomes, and the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) of the sheath. In this paper the evidence for biogenicity presented includes detailed morphological and morphometric data consistent with known characteristics of uniseriate and multiseriate cyanobacteria. Evidence for indigeneity includes the embedded nature of the fossils and elemental compositions inconsistent with modern biocontaminants.

  5. Carbon in primitive meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kerridge, John F.

    1990-01-01

    No meteorites are truly primitive, in the sense of being pristine collections of interstellar grains or solar-nebular condensates. Nonetheless, some chrondritic meteorites have been so little altered by secondary processing that they are commonly termed primitive and it is almost a definition of such chondrites that they contain significant quantities of carbon. Most of that carbon is of apparently local, i.e., solar-system, origin but a proportion that ranges from trace, in some cases, to minor, in others, is believed to be exotic, i.e., of circumstellar or interstellar origin, and it is upon such material that researchers focus here. The nature of the meteoritic samples and the techniques used to analyse them are briefly discussed and the observational record is surveyed. Clearly, the study of exotic carbon preserved in meteorites has been informative about sites of nucleosynthesis, processes of nucleation and growth of grains in stellar outflows, grain survival in the interstellar medium, and many other topics of astrophysical significance. Much more work, particularly of an interdisciplinary nature remains to be done, however.

  6. Microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoover, Richard B.

    2009-08-01

    Microfossils of large filamentous trichomic prokaryotes have been detected during in-situ investigations of carbonaceous meteorites. This research has been carried out using the Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) to examine freshly fractured interior surfaces of the meteorites. The images obtained reveal that many of these remains are embedded in the meteorite rock matrix. Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) studies establish that the filamentous microstructures have elemental compositions consistent with the meteorite matrix, but are often encased within carbon-rich electron transparent sheath-like structures infilled with magnesium sulfate. This is consistent with the taphonomic modes of fossilization of cyanobacteria and sulphur bacteria, since the life habits and processes of these microorganisms frequently result in distinctive chemical biosignatures associated with the properties of their cell-walls, trichomes, and the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) of the sheath. In this paper the evidence for biogenicity presented includes detailed morphological and morphometric data consistent with known characteristics of uniseriate and multiseriate cyanobacteria. Evidence for indigeneity includes the embedded nature of the fossils and elemental compositions inconsistent with modern bio-contaminants.

  7. Recent meteorite falls in South Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, Y.; Kim, M.; Byun, Y.; Yi, H.; Chang, S.; Choi, J.; Sohn, J.; Moon, H.; Park, J.

    2014-07-01

    In the evening of March 9, 2014, a fireball falling from north to south was observed in South Korea. Multiple explosions were heard and multiple videos recorded in cars from various places, suggesting that the fireball was separated into several pieces. Immediately thereafter, a series of discovery reports about meteorites from the southern part of South Korea followed and, as of today, three meteorites were confirmed and one meteorite, with a mass of about 20 kg, is pending. This discovery of a meteorite in South Korea occurs for the first time in 70 years. The overall trajectory of the fireball matches the area where meteorites were discovered. According to the preliminary analyses, the meteorite is an ordinary chondrite. The origin of the meteorite and its surface properties will be studied.

  8. Experimental determination of photostability and fluorescence-based detection of PAHs on the Martian surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dartnell, Lewis R.; Patel, Manish R.; Storrie-Lombardi, Michael C.; Ward, John M.; Muller, Jan-Peter

    2012-05-01

    Even in the absence of any biosphere on Mars, organic molecules, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are expected on its surface due to delivery by comets and meteorites of extraterrestrial organics synthesized by astrochemistry, or perhaps in situ synthesis in ancient prebiotic chemistry. Any organic compounds exposed to the unfiltered solar ultraviolet spectrum or oxidizing surface conditions would have been readily destroyed, but discoverable caches of Martian organics may remain shielded in the subsurface or within surface rocks. We have studied the stability of three representative polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in a Mars chamber, emulating the ultraviolet spectrum of unfiltered sunlight under temperature and pressure conditions of the Martian surface. Fluorescence spectroscopy is used as a sensitive indicator of remaining PAH concentration for laboratory quantification of molecular degradation rates once exposed on the Martian surface. Fluorescence-based instrumentation has also been proposed as an effective surveying method for prebiotic organics on the Martian surface. We find the representative PAHs, anthracene, pyrene, and perylene, to have persistence half-lives once exposed on the Martian surface of between 25 and 60 h of noontime summer UV irradiation, as measured by fluorescence at their peak excitation wavelength. This equates to between 4 and 9.6 sols when the diurnal cycle of UV light intensity on the Martian surface is taken into account, giving a substantial window of opportunity for detection of organic fluorescence before photodegradation. This study thus supports the use of fluorescence-based instrumentation for surveying recently exposed material (such as from cores or drill tailings) for native Martian organic molecules in rover missions.

  9. Zeolite Formation and Weathering Processes Within the Martian Regolith: An Antarctic Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, E. K.; McKay, D. S.; Wentworth, S. J.; Socki, R. A.

    2003-01-01

    As more information is obtained about the nature of the surface compositions and processes operating on Mars, it is clear that significant erosional and depositional features are present on the surface. Apparent aqueous or other fluid activity on Mars has produced many of the erosional and outflow features observed. Evidence of aqueous activity on Mars has been reported by earlier studies. Gooding and colleagues championed the cause of pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration processes recorded in Martian meteorites. Oxygen isotope studies on Martian meteorites by Karlsson et al. and Romenek et al. gave evidence for two separate water reservoirs on Mars. The oxygen isotopic compositions of the host silicate minerals was different from the oxygen isotopic composition of the secondary alteration products within the SNC meteorites. This implied that the oxygen associated with fluids which produced the secondary alteration was from volatiles which were possibly added to the planetary inventory after formation of the primary silicates from which the SNC s were formed. The source of the oxygen may have been from a cometary or volatile-rich veneer added to the planet in its first 600 million years.

  10. The Carbonates in ALH 84001 Record the Evolution of the Martian Atmosphere Through Multiple Formation Events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shaheen, R.; Niles, P. B.; Corrgan, C.

    2012-01-01

    Current Martian conditions restrict the presence of liquid water due to low temperatures (approx 210K), a thin atmosphere (approx 7mb), and intense UV radiation. However, past conditions on Mars may have been different with the possibility that the ancient Martian climate was warm and wet with a dense CO2 atmosphere. The cycling of carbon on Mars through atmospheric CO2 and carbonate minerals is critical for deciphering its climate history. In particular stable isotopes contained in carbonates can provide information of their origin and formation environment as well as possibly hinting at the composition of global reservoirs such as atmospheric CO2. Martian meteorite ALH 84001 contains widely studied carbonate rosettes that have been dated to approx. 3.9 Ga and have been used to interpret climatic conditions present at that time. However, there is mount-ing evidence for multiple episodes of carbonate formation in ALH 84001 with potentially distinct isotopic compositions. This study seeks to tease out these different carbonate assemblages using stepped phosphoric acid dissolution and analysis of carbon and triple oxygen stable isotopes. In addition, we report SIMS analyses of the delta O-18 several petrographically unusual carbonate phases in the meteorite.

  11. Meteor bodies entering the Martian atmosphere: possible impact consequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuznetsova, Daria; Gritsevich, Maria

    The investigation of meteorite production on Mars has attracted considerable attention during the recent years. The possible meteorite showers are identified e.g. [1], and the estimates of meteorite fluxes on Mars are found e.g. [2,3]. In this study, we develop the theory describing a meteoroid entry into an atmosphere of a planet and apply our results to the Martian atmosphere. We introduce two key dimensionless parameters, which are based on physical parameterization and have unique values for every single meteoroid case. This allows us to derive the condition for the meteorite fall identification in a simple analytical form, which can be directly implemented for analysis and classification of the possible impact consequences. To describe the motion we use the classical equations of the model of meteor body deceleration [4,5]. The analytical dimensionless solution for the mass-velocity dependence and the height-velocity dependence can be expressed using two main parameters: (i) the ballistic coefficient alpha, which shows the ratio between the mass of the atmospheric column along the trajectory and the body's pre-entry mass, and (ii) the mass loss parameter beta, which is proportional to the ratio between the initial kinetic energy of the body and energy which is required to insure total mass loss of the body due to ablation and fragmentation [6-8]. To determine the possible consequences of impact for any given meteoroid, we use the meteorite-fall condition: the terminal mass of the meteoroid should exceed or be equal to a certain chosen value. This condition can be written using the parameters alpha and beta, so the impact consequences are described by the position of the case-under-investigation point relatively to the boundary curve in the (alpha,beta) space. Following a number of studies [9-11] we analyze the hypothesis that describes the possible evolution of Martian atmospheric density until present. Based on the properties of the meteorites recently found

  12. Chiral Biomarkers in Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoover, Richard B.

    2010-01-01

    The chirality of organic molecules with the asymmetric location of group radicals was discovered in 1848 by Louis Pasteur during his investigations of the rotation of the plane of polarization of light by crystals of sodium ammonium paratartrate. It is well established that the amino acids in proteins are exclusively Levorotary (L-aminos) and the sugars in DNA and RNA are Dextrorotary (D-sugars). This phenomenon of homochirality of biological polymers is a fundamental property of all life known on Earth. Furthermore, abiotic production mechanisms typically yield recemic mixtures (i.e. equal amounts of the two enantiomers). When amino acids were first detected in carbonaceous meteorites, it was concluded that they were racemates. This conclusion was taken as evidence that they were extraterrestrial and produced by abiologically. Subsequent studies by numerous researchers have revealed that many of the amino acids in carbonaceous meteorites exhibit a significant L-excess. The observed chirality is much greater than that produced by any currently known abiotic processes (e.g. Linearly polarized light from neutron stars; Circularly polarized ultraviolet light from faint stars; optically active quartz powders; inclusion polymerization in clay minerals; Vester-Ulbricht hypothesis of parity violations, etc.). This paper compares the measured chirality detected in the amino acids of carbonaceous meteorites with the effect of these diverse abiotic processes. IT is concluded that the levels observed are inconsistent with post-arrival biological contamination or with any of the currently known abiotic production mechanisms. However, they are consistent with ancient biological processes on the meteorite parent body. This paper will consider these chiral biomarkers in view of the detection of possible microfossils found in the Orgueil and Murchison carbonaceous meteorites. Energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) data obtained on these morphological biomarkers will be

  13. A Henry's Law Test for Experimental Partitioning Studies of Iron Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chabot, N. L.; Campbell, A. J.; Humayun, M.; Agee, C. B.

    2001-01-01

    Low-level doped solid metal/liquid metal experiments analyzed by laser ablation ICP-MS allow Henry's Law to be tested. The results indicate Henry's Law is obeyed and the experimental partition coefficients can be applied to iron meteorites. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  14. Radioisotope studies of the farmville meteorite using γγ-coincidence spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Howard, Chris; Ferm, Megan; Cesaratto, John; Daigle, Stephen; Iliadis, Christian

    2014-12-01

    Radionuclides are cosmogenically produced in meteorites before they fall to the surface of the Earth. Measurement of the radioactive decay of such nuclides provides a wealth of information on the irradiation conditions of the meteorite fragment, the intensity of cosmic rays in the inner solar system, and the magnetic activity of the Sun. We report here on the detection of (26)Al using a sophisticated spectrometer consisting of a HPGe detector and a NaI(Tl) annulus. It is shown that modern γ-ray spectrometers represent an interesting alternative to other detection techniques. Data are obtained for a fragment of the Farmville meteorite and compared to results from Geant4 simulations. In particular, we report on optimizing the detection sensitivity by using suitable coincidence gates for deposited energy and event multiplicity. We measured an (26)Al activity of 48.5±3.5dpm/kg for the Farmville meteorite, in agreement with previously reported values for other H chondrites. PMID:25063942

  15. Radioisotope studies of the farmville meteorite using γγ-coincidence spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Howard, Chris; Ferm, Megan; Cesaratto, John; Daigle, Stephen; Iliadis, Christian

    2014-12-01

    Radionuclides are cosmogenically produced in meteorites before they fall to the surface of the Earth. Measurement of the radioactive decay of such nuclides provides a wealth of information on the irradiation conditions of the meteorite fragment, the intensity of cosmic rays in the inner solar system, and the magnetic activity of the Sun. We report here on the detection of (26)Al using a sophisticated spectrometer consisting of a HPGe detector and a NaI(Tl) annulus. It is shown that modern γ-ray spectrometers represent an interesting alternative to other detection techniques. Data are obtained for a fragment of the Farmville meteorite and compared to results from Geant4 simulations. In particular, we report on optimizing the detection sensitivity by using suitable coincidence gates for deposited energy and event multiplicity. We measured an (26)Al activity of 48.5±3.5dpm/kg for the Farmville meteorite, in agreement with previously reported values for other H chondrites.

  16. The martian surface.

    PubMed

    Opik, E J

    1966-07-15

    could depend on the low night-time temperature and deposition of hoarfrost, which could melt into droplets after sunrise, before evaporating. If not vegetation, it must be something thing specifically Martian; no other hypothesis hitherto proposed is able to account for the facts. However, the infrared bands which at one time were thought to be associated with the presence of organic matter, belong to heavy water in the terrestrial atmosphere. The conversion of a former bright area into a dark one in 1954, over some 1 million square kilometers, is the largest recorded change of this kind. Even on the vegetation hypothesis, it eludes satisfactory explanation. Relatively bright areas observed in the blue and violet in polar regions and elsewhere on the limb can be explained by a greater transparency of the atmosphere,its dust content being decreased by a downward (anticyclonic) current. The surface, of a greater reflecting power than the atmospheric smoke, then becomes visible. The sudden explosion-like occurrence of yellow or gray clouds, reducing atmospheric transparency and surface contrast, could be due to impacts of asteroids; in such a case, however, the number of unobservable small asteroids, down to 30 to 40 meters in diameter, should greatly exceed the number extrapolated from the larger members of the group. A "meteoritic" increment in numbers, instead of the asteroidal one, would be required. special observations with large Schmidt telescopes could settle this crucial question. The Martian "oases," centers of "canal" systems, could be impact creters. The canals may be real formations, without sharp borders and 100 to 200 kilometers wide, due to a systematic alignment. of the dark surface elements. They may indicate cracks in the planet's crust, radiating from the point of impact.

  17. New approaches to the study of Antarctic lithobiontic microorganisms and their inorganic traces, and their application in the detection of life in Martian rocks.

    PubMed

    Ascaso, C; Wierzchos, J

    2002-12-01

    Microbial life in the harsh conditions of Antarctica's cold desert may be considered an analogue of potential life on early Mars. In order to explore the development and survival of this epilithic and endolithic form of microbial life, our most sophisticated, state-of-the-art visualization technologies have to be used to their full potential. The study of any ecosystem requires a knowledge of its components and the processes that take place within it. If we are to understand the structure and function of each component of the microecosystems that inhabit lithic substrates, we need to be able to quantify and identify the microorganisms present in each lithobiontic ecological niche and to accurately characterize the mineralogical features of these hidden microhabitats. Once we have established the techniques that will allow us to observe and identify these microorganisms and mineral substrates in situ, and have confirmed the presence of water, the following questions can be addressed: How are the microorganisms organized in the fissures or cavities? Which microorganisms are present and how many are there? Additional questions that logically follow include: What are the existing water relationships in the microhabitat and what effects do the microorganisms have on the mineral composition? Mechanical and chemical changes in minerals and mineralization of microbial cells can give rise to physical and/or chemical traces (biomarkers) and to microbial fossil formation. In this report, we describe the detection of chains of magnetite within the Martian meteorite ALH84001, as an example of the potential use of SEM-BSE in the search for plausible traces of life on early Mars. PMID:12497188

  18. New approaches to the study of Antarctic lithobiontic microorganisms and their inorganic traces, and their application in the detection of life in Martian rocks.

    PubMed

    Ascaso, C; Wierzchos, J

    2002-12-01

    Microbial life in the harsh conditions of Antarctica's cold desert may be considered an analogue of potential life on early Mars. In order to explore the development and survival of this epilithic and endolithic form of microbial life, our most sophisticated, state-of-the-art visualization technologies have to be used to their full potential. The study of any ecosystem requires a knowledge of its components and the processes that take place within it. If we are to understand the structure and function of each component of the microecosystems that inhabit lithic substrates, we need to be able to quantify and identify the microorganisms present in each lithobiontic ecological niche and to accurately characterize the mineralogical features of these hidden microhabitats. Once we have established the techniques that will allow us to observe and identify these microorganisms and mineral substrates in situ, and have confirmed the presence of water, the following questions can be addressed: How are the microorganisms organized in the fissures or cavities? Which microorganisms are present and how many are there? Additional questions that logically follow include: What are the existing water relationships in the microhabitat and what effects do the microorganisms have on the mineral composition? Mechanical and chemical changes in minerals and mineralization of microbial cells can give rise to physical and/or chemical traces (biomarkers) and to microbial fossil formation. In this report, we describe the detection of chains of magnetite within the Martian meteorite ALH84001, as an example of the potential use of SEM-BSE in the search for plausible traces of life on early Mars.

  19. Measuring Fracture Properties of Meteorites: 3D Scans and Disruption Experiments.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cotto-Figueroa, Desireé; Asphaug, Erik; Morris, Melissa A.; Garvie, Laurence

    2014-11-01

    The Arizona State University (ASU) Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS) houses over 30,000 specimens that represent almost every known meteorite type. A number of these are available for fragmentation experiments in small samples, but in most cases non-destructive experiments are desired in order to determine the fundamental mechanical properties of meteorites, and by extension, the Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and other planetary bodies they derive from. We present results from an ongoing suite of measurements and experiments, featuring automated 3D topographic scans of a comprehensive suite of meteorites in the CMS collection, basic mechanical studies, and culminating in catastrophic fragmentation of four representative meteorites: Tamdakht (H5), Allende (CV3), Northwest Africa 869 (L3-6) and Chelyabinsk (LL5). Results will include high-resolution 3D color-shape models of meteorites, including specimens such as the 349g oriented and fusion crusted Martian (shergottite) Tissint, and the delicately fusion crusted and oriented 131g Whetstone Mountains (H5) ordinary chondrite. The 3D color-shape models will allow us to obtain basic physical properties (such as volume to derive density) and to derive fractal dimensions of fractured surfaces. Fractal dimension is closely related to the internal structural heterogeneity and fragmentation of the material, to macroscopic optical properties, and to rubble friction and cohesion. Freshly fractured surfaces of fragments that will result from catastrophic hypervelocity impact experiments will be subsequently scanned and analyzed in order to determine whether fractal dimension is preserved or if it changes with surface maturation.

  20. Martian seismicity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, Roger J.; Grimm, Robert E.

    1991-01-01

    The design and ultimate success of network seismology experiments on Mars depends on the present level of Martian seismicity. Volcanic and tectonic landforms observed from imaging experiments show that Mars must have been a seismically active planet in the past and there is no reason to discount the notion that Mars is seismically active today but at a lower level of activity. Models are explored for present day Mars seismicity. Depending on the sensitivity and geometry of a seismic network and the attenuation and scattering properties of the interior, it appears that a reasonable number of Martian seismic events would be detected over the period of a decade. The thermoelastic cooling mechanism as estimated is surely a lower bound, and a more refined estimate would take into account specifically the regional cooling of Tharsis and lead to a higher frequency of seismic events.

  1. Bacteria in the Tatahouine meteorite: nanometric-scale life in rocks.

    PubMed

    Gillet, P h; Barrat, J A; Heulin, T h; Achouak, W; Lesourd, M; Guyot, F; Benzerara, K

    2000-02-15

    We present a study of the textural signature of terrestrial weathering and related biological activity in the Tatahouine meteorite. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy images obtained on the weathered samples of the Tatahouine meteorite and surrounding soil show two types of bacteria-like forms lying on mineral surfaces: (1) rod-shaped forms (RSF) about 70-80 nm wide and ranging from 100 nm to 600 nm in length; (2) ovoid forms (OVF) with diameters between 70 and 300 nm. They look like single cells surrounded by a cell wall. Only Na, K, C, O and N with traces of P and S are observed in the bulk of these objects. The chemical analyses and electron diffraction patterns confirm that the RSF and OVF cannot be magnetite or other iron oxides, iron hydroxides, silicates or carbonates. The sizes of the RSF and OVF are below those commonly observed for bacteria but are very similar to some bacteria-like forms described in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. All the previous observations strongly suggest that they are bacteria or their remnants. This conclusion is further supported by microbiological experiments in which pleomorphic bacteria with morphology similar to the OVF and RSF objects are obtained from biological culture of the soil surrounding the meteorite pieces. The present results show that bacteriomorphs of diameter less than 100 nm may in fact represent real bacteria or their remnants. PMID:11543579

  2. Stable isotopic studies of H,C,N,O and S in samples of Martian origin

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, I. P.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1988-01-01

    The present day geochemical cycles of volatile elements through the various reservoirs on Earth are largely understood within the context of the planet's standing as a geologically and biologically evolved body. In terrestrial studies stable isotope measurements of light elements (H, C, N, O and S) can be utilized to obtain insight into the conditions prevailing during formation of rocks of various types. Perhaps the most important problem which could be addressed by light element studies of the sorts of specimen likely to be available from remote automatic sampling, would be the role of volatiles during evolution. Of fundamental importance here is the question of whether Mars was volatile rich or volatile poor. The only way to fully comprehend the effects of volatile cycling through the mantle crust and regolith atmosphere polar cap system of Mars, is by analyses of appropriate returned samples. In order to interpret the record of geological activity in Martian samples it will be necessary to understand how the past, or present, surface environment may have acted to disturb the primary characteristics of the rocks.

  3. Martian Case Study of Multivariate Correlation and Regression with Planetary Datasets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karunatillake, Suniti; Gasnault, Olivier; Squyres, Steven W.; Keller, John M.; Janes, Daniel M.; Boynton, William; Newsom, Horton E.

    2012-06-01

    We synthesize multivariate correlation and regression methods to characterize unique relationships among compositional and physical properties of a planetary surface locally, regionally, and globally. Martian data including elemental mass fractions, areal fractions of mineral types, and thermal inertia constitute our case study. We incorporate techniques to address the effects of spatial autocorrelation and heteroscedasticity. We also utilize method and fit diagnostics. While the Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor missions provide the exploratory context in our discussion, our approach is applicable whenever the interrelationships of spatially binned data of continuous-valued planetary attributes are sought. For example, our regional-scale case study reinforces the strength of the spatial correlation among K, Th, and the dominant mineralogic type within northern low albedo regions (surface type 2) of Mars. Recent chemical and mineralogic data from the MESSENGER mission at Mercury and Dawn at Vesta may be analyzed effectively with these hierarchical regression methods to constrain geochemical processes. Likewise, our algorithm could be applied locally with the wide variety of compositional data expected from the MSL mission at Gale Crater in general, and the ChemCam sampling grids in particular.

  4. AOTF near-IR spectrometers for study of Lunar and Martian surface composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, A.; Korablev, O.; Mantsevich, S.; Vyazovetskiy, N.; Fedorova, A.; Evdokimova, N.; Stepanov, A.; Titov, A.; Kalinnikov, Y.; Kuzmin, R.; Kiselev, A.; Bazilevsky, A.; Bondarenko, A.; Dokuchaev, I.; Moiseev, P.; Victorov, A.; Berezhnoy, A.; Skorov, Y.; Bisikalo, D.; Velikodsky, Y.

    2014-04-01

    The series of the AOTF near-IR spectrometers is developed in Moscow Space Research Institute for study of Lunar and Martian surface composition in the vicinity of a lander or a rover. Lunar Infrared Spectrometer (LIS) is an experiment onboard Luna-Glob (launch in 2017) and Luna- Resurs (launch in 2019) Russian surface missions. It's a pencil-beam spectrometer to be pointed by a robotic arm of the landing module. The instrument's field of view (FOV) of 1° is co-aligned with the FOV(45°) of a stereo TV camera. Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars (ISEM) is an experiment onboard ExoMars (launch in 2018) ESARoscosmos rover. It's spectrometer based on LIS with required redesign for ExoMars mission. The ISEM instrument is mounted on the rover's mast coaligned with the FOV (5°) of High Resolution camera (HRC). Spectrometers and are intended for study of the surface composition in the vicinity of the lander and rover. The spectrometers will provide measurements of selected surface areas in the spectral range of 1.15-3.3 μm. The spectral selection is provided by acoustooptic tunable filter (AOTF), which scans the spectral range sequentially. Electrical command of the AOTF allows selecting the spectral sampling, and permits a random access if needed.

  5. Near-opposition martian limb-darkening: Quantification and implication for visible-near-infrared bidirectional reflectance studies.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Grenier, Muriel; Pinet, Patrick C.

    1995-06-01

    A nearly global coverage of the martian eastern hemisphere, acquired under small phase angles and varying observational geometries conditions, has been produced from 1988 opposition by spectral (0.5-1 μm) imaging data obtained at the Pic du Midi Observatory in France. From this data set, the methodology presented here permits a systematic analysis of martian photometric behavior at a regional scale of 100-300 km in the visible and near-infrared. The quantification of limb-darkening as a function of wavelength and surface albedo gives access in martian regional properties as a function of wavelength and surface albedo and results in the production of visible and near-infrared geometric albedo maps. A linear relation between the limb darkening parameter k and geometric albedo exists in the near infrared. Based on laboratory studies, it suggests a spectral response of particulate type for the martian soil. Conversely, in the visible, the value of k parameter is 0.6 independent of albedo and is consistent with a single scattering photometric behavior in the surface layer. However, the observed change in the martian photometry from single to multiple scattering may be partially due to a large contribution of atmospheric scattering above 0.7 μm. In the absence of a multitemporal dataset analysis, it must be emphasized that the present results are a priori only pertinent to the atmospheric and surface conditions existing on Mars at the time of observation. However, this analysis may contribute to characterize some physical properties, such as surface roughness. In the near-infrared, for bright terrains, k tends to 0.8 and agrees with the presence of very fine particulate materials. Photometry of dark areas is more irregular (0.48 < k < 0.64) and might result from surface roughness heterogeneities. However, a few dark areas reveal that k anomalous values in the range 0.7-0.8 may be caused by the presence of a coating of very fine materials or duricrust. Finally, we

  6. Fireball data analysis: bridging the gap between small solar system bodies and meteorite studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gritsevich, Maria; Moreno-Ibáñez, Manuel; Kuznetsova, Daria; Bouquet, Alexis; Trigo-Rodríguez, Josep; Peltoniemi, Jouni; Koschny, Detlef

    2015-08-01

    One of the important steps in identification of meteorite-producing fireballs and prediction of impact threat to Earth raised by potentially hazardous asteroids is the understanding and modeling of processes accompanying the object’s entry into the terrestrial atmosphere (Gritsevich et al., 2012). Such knowledge enables characterization, simulation and classification of possible impact consequences with further reommendation for potential meteorite searches. Using dimensionless expressions, which involve the pre-atmospheric meteoroid parameters, we have built physically based parametrisation to describe changes in mass, height, velocity and luminosity of the object along its atmospheric path (Gritsevich and Koschny, 2011; Bouquet et al., 2014). The developed model is suitable to estimate a number of crucial unknown values including shape change coefficient, ablation rate, and surviving meteorite mass. It is also applicable to predict the terminal height of the luminous flight and therefore, duration of the fireball (Moreno-Ibáñez et al., 2015). Besides the model description, we demonstrate its application using the wide range of observational data from meteorite-producing fireballs appearing annually (such as Košice) to larger scale impacts (such as Chelyabinsk, Sikhote-Alin and Tunguska).REFERENCESBouquet A., Baratoux D., Vaubaillon J., Gritsevich M.I., Mimoun D., Mousis O., Bouley S. (2014): Planetary and Space Science, 103, 238-249, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2014.09.001Gritsevich M., Koschny D. (2011): Icarus, 212(2), 877-884, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2011.01.033Gritsevich M.I., Stulov V.P., Turchak L.I. (2012): Cosmic Research, 50(1), 56-64, http://dx.doi.org/10.1134/S0010952512010017Moreno-Ibáñez M., Gritsevich M., Trigo-Rodríguez J.M. (2015): Icarus, 250, 544-552, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.12.027

  7. Meteorite Linked to Rock at Meridiani

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This meteorite, a basalt lava rock nearly indistinguishable from many Earth rocks, provided the first strong proof that meteorites could come from Mars. Originally weighing nearly 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds), it was collected in 1979 in the Elephant Moraine area of Antarctica. The side of the cube at the lower left in this image measures 1 centimeter (0.4 inches).

    This picture shows a sawn face of this fine-grained gray rock. (The vertical stripes are saw marks.) The black patches in the rock are melted rock, or glass, formed when a large meteorite hit Mars near the rock. The meteorite impact probably threw this rock, dubbed 'EETA79001,' off Mars and toward Antarctica on Earth. The black glass contains traces of martian atmosphere gases.

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has discovered that a rock dubbed 'Bounce' at Meridiani Planum has a very similar mineral composition to this meteorite and likely shares common origins. Bounce itself is thought to have originated outside the area surrounding Opportunity's landing site; an impact or collision likely threw the rock away from its primary home.

  8. The response of selected terrestrial organisms to the Martian environment - A modeling study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuhn, W. R.; Rogers, S. R.; Macelroy, R. D.

    1979-01-01

    An energy balance model has been developed to investigate how the Martian atmospheric environment could influence a community of photosynthetic microorganisms with properties similar to those of a cyanophyte (blue-green algal mat) and a lichen. Surface moisture and soil nutrients are assumed to be available. The model was developed to approximate equatorial equinox conditions and includes parameters for solar and thermal radiation, convective and conductive energy transport, and evaporative cooling. Calculations include the diurnal variation of organism temperature and transpiration and photosynthetic rates. The influences of different wind speeds and organism size and resistivity are also studied. The temperature of organisms in mats less than a few millimeters thick will not differ from the ground temperature by more than 10 K. Water loss is actually retarded at higher wind speeds, since the organism temperature is lowered, thus reducing the saturation vapor pressure. Typical photosynthetic rates lead to the production of 1 millionth to 100 billionths mole O2 per sq cm/day.

  9. Mechanistic Studies on the Radiolytic Decomposition of Perchlorates on the Martian Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turner, Andrew M.; Abplanalp, Matthew J.; Kaiser, Ralf I.

    2016-04-01

    Perchlorates—inorganic compounds carrying the perchlorate ion ({{ClO}}4{}-)—were discovered at the north polar landing site of the Phoenix spacecraft and at the southern equatorial landing site of the Curiosity Rover within the Martian soil at levels of 0.4-0.6 wt%. This study explores in laboratory experiments the temperature-dependent decomposition mechanisms of hydrated perchlorates—namely magnesium perchlorate hexahydrate (Mg(ClO4)2·6H2O)—and provides yields of the oxygen-bearing species formed in these processes at Mars-relevant surface temperatures from 165 to 310 K in the presence of galactic cosmic-ray particles (GCRs). Our experiments reveal that the response of the perchlorates to the energetic electrons is dictated by the destruction of the perchlorate ion ({{ClO}}4{}-) and the inherent formation of chlorates ({{ClO}}3{}-) plus atomic oxygen (O). Isotopic substitution experiments reveal that the oxygen is released solely from the perchlorate ion and not from the water of hydration (H2O). As the mass spectrometer detects only molecular oxygen (O2) and no atomic oxygen (O), atomic oxygen recombines to molecular oxygen within the perchlorates, with the overall yield of molecular oxygen increasing as the temperature drops from 260 to 160 K. Absolute destruction rates and formation yields of oxygen are provided for the planetary modeling community.

  10. Terrestrial Ages of Antarctic Meteorites- Update 1999

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nishiizumi, Kunihiko; Welten, K. C.; Caffee, Marc W.

    1999-01-01

    We are continuing our ongoing study of cosmogenic nuclides in Antarctic meteorites. In addition to the studies of exposure histories of meteorites, we study terrestrial ages and pairing of Antarctic meteorites and desert meteorites. Terrestrial ages of Antarctic meteorites provide information on meteorite accumulation mechanisms, mean weathering lifetimes, and influx rates. The determination of Cl-36(half-life=3.01 x 10(exp 5) y) terrestrial ages is one of our long-term on-going projects, however, in many instances neither Cl-36 or C-14 (5,730 y) yields an accurate terrestrial age. Using Ca-14 (1.04 x 10(exp 5) y) for terrestrial age determinations solves this problem by filling the c,ap in half-life between 14-C and Cl-36 ages. We are now applying the new Ca-41- Cl-36 terrestrial age method as well as the Cl-36-Be-10 method to Antarctic meteorites. Our measurements and C-14 terrestrial age determinations by the University of Arizona group are always complementary. We have measured Cl-36 in over 270 Antarctic meteorites since our previous compilation of terrestrial ages. Since a large number of meteorites have been recovered from many different icefields in Antarctica, we continue to survey the trends of terrestrial ages for different icefields. We have also measured detailed terrestrial ages vs. sample locations for Allan Hills, Elephant Moraine, and Lewis Cliff Icefields, where meteorites have been found with very long ages. The updated histograms of terrestrial ages of meteorites from the Allan Hills Main Icefield and Lewis Cliff Icefield are shown. These figures include C-14 ages obtained by the University of Arizona group. Pairs of meteorites are shown as one object for which the age is the average of all members of the same fall. The width of the bars represents 70,000 years, which was a typical uncertainty for Cl-36 ages. We reduced the uncertainty of terrestrial age determinations to approx. 40,000 years by using pairs of nuclides such as Ca-41-Cl-36 or Cl

  11. Coated Silica Nanoparticles in Nakhla Iddingsite Veins: Implications for Water-Rock Interaction Within the Martian Crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, M. R.; MacLaren, I.; Kovacs, A.; Tomkinson, T.; Mark, D. F.; Hallis, L.; Smith, C. L.

    2014-09-01

    Silica nanoparticles coated with iron hydroxide and smectite are a major constituent of ‘iddingsite’ veins in the Nakhla meteorite. This unexpected discovery has important implications for understanding water-rock interaction in the martian crust.

  12. Laboratory Study of Titan's Surface Chemistry Induced by Meteoritic Impact Processing: Laser-Simulated Hypervelocity Impact on Ices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nna-Mvondo, D.; Khare, B. N.; McKay, C. P.

    2008-12-01

    Titan's dense atmosphere, mostly composed of nitrogen and some methane, allows easy formation of long chains of organic molecules and high-molecular-weight organic solids, known as tholins. Over geologic time, both tholins and condensates of the organic gases accumulate in substantial amounts on the surface as liquid and solid. Titan's surface is then a repository of interesting organic molecules generated in the almost complete absence of water but sitting on top of ice. Until recently, researchers have been very careful in their speculations about what might be happening after these molecules get to the surface of Titan. What kind of organic chemistry occurs on the surface? Titan's thick atmosphere protects the surface and organics from harmful cosmic rays and ultraviolet radiation. It has been suggested that these organics could have been subjected to impact processing on Titan's and participate in the formation of products relevant to life such as amino acids, carboxylic acids, purines and pyrimidines. Subsequent impacts would probably have recycled some of the organic material back into the atmosphere. Furthermore the presence of condensable agents (C2N2, HCN, etc.) along with a natural concentrating mechanism makes polymerization of amino acids or others species likely. Laboratory simulations of meteoritic impact shocks onto Titan's icy surface have not yet been carried out, but preliminary experiments have been performed for planetary icy satellites. In these previous experiments, the possible chemical production induced by micrometeorite impact shocks on ices has been studied using a high-energy pulsed Nd-YAG laser to reproduce the shock phenomena during hypervelocity micrometeorite impacts into the icy material. The results show the production of various organics and inorganics. Here we have decided to extend those experiments to a simulated Titan's environment in order to study the effect of meteoritic impacts on the organic chemistry occurring on Titan

  13. Rediscovery of Polish meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tymiński, Z.; Stolarz, M.; Żołądek, P.; Wiśniewski, M.; Olech, A.

    2016-01-01

    The total number of Polish registered meteorites (by July 2016) including the meteoritical artifacts as Czestochowa Raków I and II is 22. Most of them are described by the pioneer of Polish Meteoritics Jerzy Pokrzywnicki who also identified the meteorite fall locations. In recent years prospectors found impressive specimens of known Polish meteorites such as Morasko: 34 kg, 50 kg, 164 kg, 174 kg and 261 kg or Pultusk: 1578 g, 1576 g, 1510 g, 610 g and 580 g expanding and determining precisely the known meteorite strewn fields.

  14. Martian Meteor Ionization Layers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grebowsky, J. M.; Pesnell, W. D.

    1999-01-01

    Small interplanetary grains bombard Mars, like all the solar system planets, and, like all the planets with atmospheres, meteoric ion and atom layers form in the upper atmosphere. We have developed a comprehensive one-dimensional model of the Martian meteoric ionization layer including a full chemical scheme. A persistent layer of magnesium ions should exist around an altitude of 70 km. Unlike the terrestrial case, where the metallic ions are formed via charge-exchange with the ambient ions, Mg(+) in the Martian atmosphere is produced by photoionization. Nevertheless, the predicted metal layer peak densities for Earth and Mars are similar. Diffusion solutions, such as those presented here, should be a good approximation of the metallic ions in regions where the magnetic field is negligible and may provide a significant contribution to the nightside ionosphere. The low ultraviolet absorption of the