Martian meteorite Dhofar 019: A new shergottite



Abstract— 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 fO2 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 olivine accumulation.