Research Article

Unique Meteorite from Early Amazonian Mars: Water-Rich Basaltic Breccia Northwest Africa 7034

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Science  03 Jan 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1228858

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We report data on the martian meteorite, Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, which shares some petrologic and geochemical characteristics with known martian (SNC, i.e., Shergottite, Nakhlite, and Chassignite) meteorites, but also possesses some unique characteristics that would exclude it from the current SNC grouping. NWA 7034 is a geochemically enriched crustal rock compositionally similar to basalts and average martian crust measured by recent rover and orbiter missions. It formed 2.089 ± 0.081 Ga, during the early Amazonian epoch in Mars' geologic history. NWA 7034 has an order of magnitude more indigenous water than most SNC meteorites, with up to 6000 ppm extraterrestrial H2O released during stepped heating. It also has bulk oxygen isotope values of Δ17O = 0.58 ± 0.05‰ and a heat-released water oxygen isotope average value of Δ17O = 0.330 ± 0.011‰, suggesting the existence of multiple oxygen reservoirs on Mars.

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