Mineralogy and petrology of the Dar al Gani 476 martian meteorite: Implications for its cooling history and relationship to other shergottites

Authors

  • Takashi MIKOUCHI,

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    1. Mail Code SN2, Planetary Science Branch, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas 77058, USA
    2. Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
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  • Masamichi MIYAMOTO,

    1. Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
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  • Gordon A. McKAY

    1. Mail Code SN2, Planetary Science Branch, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas 77058, USA
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mikouchi@eps.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Abstract

Abstract— Dar al Gani 476, the 13th martian meteorite, was recovered from the Sahara in 1998. It is a basaltic shergottitic rock composed of olivine megacrysts reaching 5 mm (24 vol%) set in a finegrained groundmass of pyroxene (59 vol%) and maskelynitized plagioclase (12 vol%) with minor amounts of accessory phases (spinel, merrillite, ilmenite). Dar al Gani 476 is similar to lithology A of Elephant Moraine A79001 (EETA79001) in petrography and mineralogy, but is distinct in several aspects. Low-Ca pyroxenes in the Dar al Gani 476 groundmass are more magnesian (En76Fs21 Wo3∼En58Fs30Wo12) than those in lithology A of EETA79001 (En73Fs22Wo5∼En45Fs43Wo12), rather similar to pyroxenes in lherzolitic martian meteorites (En76Fs21 Wo3∼En63Fs22Wo15). Dar al Gani 476 olivine is less magnesian and shows a narrower compositional range (Fo76-58) than EETA79001 olivine (Fo81-53), and is also similar to olivines in lherzolitic martian meteorites (Fo74-65). The orthopyroxene-olivine-chromite xenolith typical in the lithology A of EETA79001 is absent in Dar al Gani 476. It seems that Dar al Gani 476 crystallized from a slightly more primitive mafic magma than lithology A of EETA79001 and several phases (olivine, pyroxene, chromite, and ilmenite) in Dar al Gani 476 may have petrogenetic similarities to those of lherzolitic martian meteorites. Olivine megacrysts in Dar al Gani 476 are in disequilibrium with the bulk composition. The presence of fractured olivine grains in which the most Mg-rich parts are in contact with the groundmass suggests that little diffusive modification of original olivine compositions occurred during cooling. This observation enabled us to estimate the cooling rates of Dar al Gani 476 and EETA79001 olivines, giving similar cooling rates of 0.03-3 °C/h for Dar al Gani 476 and 0.05-5 °C/h for EETA79001. This suggests that they were cooled near the surface (burial depth shallower than about 3 m at most), probably in lava flows during crystallization of groundmass. As is proposed for lithology A of EETA79001, it may be possible to consider that Dar al Gani 476 has an impact melt origin, a mixture of martian lherzolite and other martian rock (Queen Alexandra Range 94201, nakhlites?).

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