The University of Arizona

Characterization of the lithological contact in the shergottite EETA79001 A record of igneous differentiation processes on Mars

D. VAN NIEKERK, C. A. GOODRICH, G. J. TAYLOR, K. KEIL

Abstract


Elephant Moraine (EET) A79001 is the only Martian meteorite that consists of both an olivine-phyric shergottite (lithology A) and a basaltic shergottite (lithology B). The presence of these lithologies in one rock has previously been ascribed to mixing processes (either magmatic or impactinduced). Here we present data regarding phase changes across the contact between the lithologies. These data show that the contact is gradational and suggest that it is a primary igneous feature consistent with crystallization of a single cooling magma. We present a model to establish a petrogenetic connection between an olivine-phyric and a basaltic shergottite through differentiation. The model involves the shallow or surface emplacement of a magma that contained pre-eruptive solids (phenocrysts and minor xenocrysts). Subsequent differentiation via crystal settling and in situ crystallization (Langmuir 1989) resulted in a layered sequence of lithology A overlain by lithology B, with gradations in modal abundance of maskelynite (increasing from A to B) and pigeonite/ maskelynite (decreasing from A to B), and a gradational change in pattern of pyroxene zonation (zones of magnesian augite separating magnesian and ferroan pigeonite appear and thicken into B) across the contact. A pigeonite phenocryst-bearing zone near the contact in lithology B appears to be intermediate between lithology A and the bulk of lithology B (which resembles basaltic shergottite Queen Alexandra Range [QUE] 94201). Re-examination of Sr isotopic compositions in lithology A and across the contact is required to test and constrain the model.

Keywords


Igneous differentiation;Martian meteorites;Queen Alexandra Range (QUE) 94201;Elephant Moraine (EET) A79001

Full Text:

PDF