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New Mars Meteorite Found In Morocco (NWA 817)


Northwest Africa 817 (NWA 817)

NWA 817
nwa817_3_s.jpg Photo © Bruno Fectay & Carine Bidaut
JPEG (85K)

A Mars meteorite stone (nakhlite) weighing 104 grams. This is a nice oriented specimen with a dark fusion crust.
NWA 817
nwa817_1_s.jpg Photo © Bruno Fectay & Carine Bidaut
JPEG (96K)

A section cut out of the main mass showing the interior.

               Announcement 85-5, May 23, 2001
         Jeffrey N. Grossman, Editor (
          Jutta Zipfel, Co-editor for Saharan Meteorites 

Northwest Africa 817
  Found 2000 December
  Martian meteorite (Nakhlite)
A 104 g stone was found in the desert of Morocco. Classification and 
analysis (V. Sautter, MNHNP; J. Barrat and M. Lesourd, UAng; A. 
Jambon,  UPVI; P. Gillet, ENSL;  C. Gvpel and J. Joron, IPGP): an 
unbrecciated, medium-grained, olivine-bearing clinopyroxenite with 
cumulate texture; consists of zoned, euhedral, subcalcic augite (Wo38-
40 En38-27Fs24-34 and Fe/Mn = 39-31), olivine (zoned from Fa57 in 
cores to Fa86 in rims, with Fe/Mn = 54-43) with crystallized magmatic 
inclusions, and a three-component intercumulus mesostasis (glass 
including minute amounts of sulfide droplets, Ti-magnetite with 
unusual skeletal morphology containing ilmenite exsolution, and 
acicular pyroxene); mineral modes (vol%), pyroxene = 69, olivine =  
15, mesostasis = 15, and Fe-Ti oxides = 1; alteration (probably pre-
terrestrial) produced a hydrous ferrous silicate both in olivine and 
in the glassy mesostasis; bulk major-element composition similar to 
other nakhlites; element ratios confirm Martian origin (FeO*/MnO = 
37, Na/Al = 0.40, K/La = 449, Ga/Al = 3.9x10-4); has a higher 
proportion of mesostasis than other nakhlites; displays the highest 
Th, U and rare earth elements (REE) concentrations ever reported for 
a nakhlite (e.g. Th = 0.6 ppm); REE pattern characterized by a strong 
light REE enrichment (Lan/Ybn = 4.89), and Eu/Eu* = 0.90. Oxygen 
isotopes (M. Javoy and E. Petit, IPGP): D17O = +0.4 permil.  
Specimens: 10 g, ENSL; main mass with B. Fectay and C. Bidaut.

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