Infoscience

Journal article

Petrology and chemistry of the basaltic shergottite North West Africa 480

North West Africa (NWA) 480 is a new martian meteorite of 28 g found in the Moroccan Sahara in November 2000. It consists mainly of large gray pyroxene crystals (the largest grains are up to 5 mm in length) and plagioclase converted to maskelynite. Excluding the melt pocket areas, modal analyses indicate the following mineral proportions: 72 vol% pyroxenes extensively zoned, 25% maskelynite, 1% phosphates (merrillite and chlorapatite), 1% opaque oxides (ilmenite, ulvospinel and chromite) and sulfides, and 1% others such as silica and fayalite. The compositional trend of NWA 480 pyroxenes is similar to that of Queen Alexandra Range (QUE) 94201 but in NWA 480 the pyroxene cores are more Mg-rich (En(77)-En(65)). Maskelynites display a limited zoning (An(42-50)Ab(54-48)Or(2-4)). Our observations suggest that NWA 480 formed from a melt with a low nuclei density at a slow cooling rate. The texture was achieved via a single-stage cooling where pyroxenes grew continuously. A similar model was previously proposed for QUE 94201 by McSween et al. (1996). NWA 480 is an Al-poor ferroan basaltic rock and resembles Zagami or Shergotty for major elements and compatible trace element abundances. The bulk rock analysis for oxygen isotopes yields Delta(17)O = +0.42parts per thousand, a value in agreement at the high margin, with those measured on other shergottites (Clayton and Mayeda, 1996; Romanek et al., 1998; Franchi et al., 1999). Its CI-normalized rare earth element pattern is similar to those of peridotitic shergottites such as Allan Hills (ALH)A77005, suggesting that these shergottites shared a similar parent liquid, or at least the same mantle source.

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