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



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