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Two New Mars Meteorites From The Sahara Desert



Ron Baalke
April 18, 2000

There are apparently two new Mars meteorites found in the Sahara Desert. Both of the new Mars meteorites are shergottites, and they both appear to be paired with the other two other Mars meteorites previously found in the Sahara Desert (Dar al Gani 476 & 489).

Dar al Gani 735 - 588 grams.

From Frank Wlotzka, Max Planck Institute

  Dear Ron,
  yes, there is a new shergottite from Dar al Gani, probably paired with the
  other two. Here is the text I have sent to Jeff Grossman and which he
  accepted for the Meteoritical Bulletin, on April 6.

  Proposed name: Dar al Gani 735
  Found: Winter 1996/97, Country: Libya
  Coordinates: 27=B010'N, 16=B010'E, approx.
  Total mass: 588 g, one piece
  Classification: Martian basalt (shergottite)
  Classification by: Frank Wlotzka, MPI Chemie Mainz, and Matthias Kurz,
  Schillerstrasse 7, D-34626 Neukirchen, Germany.
  Type specimen: 6 g MPI Mainz
  A complete stone with desert varnish was found in Dar al Gani.
  Classification information: Porphyritic basalt with mm-sized olivines
  (normally zoned from Fa 28 to fa 37) in a finer grained matrix of pigeonites
  (Fs 25-28) and feldspar glass (An 65). A direct comparison with a thin
  section of DaG 476 shows that both stones are very similar and most
  probably paired. An exception is that this stone does not contain
  terrestrial carbonate veins, it appears less weathered than DaG 476.

Dar al Gani 670 - 1619 grams.

According the meteorite dealer Michael Casper, this meteorite looks exactly like DAG 476 and DAG 489, and should be considered paired with them. Casper says the rock has been identified by the University of Siena in Italy as being a Mars meteorite. The meteorite was found about 30 km from where other two DAG meteorites were found.

If these two new Mars rocks are indeed paired with DAG 476 & 489, then the number of Mars meteorites does not go up and remains at 14.

Update: May 3, 2000

According to Jeff Grossman, DAG 670 has been classified as a Mars meteorite by Luigi Folco.

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