The University of Arizona

Petrology of the Miller Range 03346 nakhlite in comparison with the Yamato-000593 nakhlite

N. Imae, Y. Ikeda


We petrologically examined the Miller Range (MIL) 03346 nakhlite. The main-phase modal abundances are 67.7 vol% augite, 0.8 vol% olivine, and 31.5 vol% mesostasis. Among all known nakhlites, MIL 03346's modal abundance of olivine is the smallest and of mesostasis is the largest. Augite occurs as cumulus phenocrysts having a homogeneous core composition (En36-38Fs24-22Wo40), which is identical with other nakhlites. They accompany thin ferroan rims divided into inner and outer rims with a compositional gap at the boundary between the two rims. Olivine grains have magnesian cores (Fa ≥ 55) and show normal zoning toward ferroan rims (Fa ≤ 84). Mesostasis consists mostly of glass (26.0 vol%) with minor skeletal fayalites, skeletal titanomagnetites, acicular phosphate, massive cristobalite, and sulfides. We conclude that MIL 03346 is the most rapidly cooled nakhlite among all known nakhlites based on the petrography.We obtain the intercumulus melt composition for MIL 03346 from the mass balance calculation using the modal abundances and discuss the crystallization sequence of MIL 03346 in comparison with that of Yamato (Y-) 000593. Although magnesian olivines of Y-000593 are phenocrystic, magnesian olivine grains of MIL 03346 seem to have texturally crystallized from the intercumulus melt. After the MIL 03346 magma intruded upward to the Martian surficial zone, the magnesian olivine crystallized, and then the ferroan inner rim formed on phenocrystic core augite. The outer rim of phenocrystic augites formed after the crystallization of skeletal fayalites and skeletal titanomagnetites, resulting in a compositional gap between the inner and outer rims. Finally, glassy mesostasis formed from the residual melt. This crystallization sequence of MIL 03346 is different from those of other nakhlites, including Y-000593.


Petrology;Martian meteorites;SNC Meteorites;Crystallization

Full Text: