Trace elements in olivine and the petrogenesis of the intermediate, olivine-phyric shergottite NWA 10170.

Howarth, G. H. and Udry, A.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12799


“Olivine-phyric shergottites represent primitive basaltic to picritic rocks, spanning a large range of Mg# and olivine abundances. As primitive olivine-bearing magmas are commonly representative of their mantle source on Earth, understanding the petrology and evolution of olivine-phyric shergottites is critical in our understanding of Martian mantle compositions. We present data for the olivine-phyric shergottite Northwest Africa (NWA) 10170 to constrain the petrology with specific implications for magma plumbing-system dynamics. The calculated oxygen fugacity and bulk-rock REE concentrations (based on modal abundance) are consistent with a geochemically intermediate classification for NWA 10170, and overall similarity with NWA 6234. In addition, we present trace element data using laser ablation ICP-MS for coarse-grained olivine cores, and compare these data with terrestrial and Martian data sets. The olivines in NWA 10170 contain cores with compositions of Fo77 that evolve to rims with composition of Fo58, and are characterized by cores with low Ni contents (400–600 ppm). Nickel is compatible in olivine and such low Ni content for olivine cores in NWA 10170 suggests either early-stage fractionation and loss of olivine from the magma in a staging chamber at depth, or that Martian magmas have lower Ni than terrestrial magmas. We suggest that both are true in this case. Therefore, the magma does not represent a primary mantle melt, but rather has undergone 10–15% fractionation in a staging chamber prior to extrusion/intrusion at the surface of Mars. This further implies that careful evaluation of not only the Mg# but also the trace element concentrations of olivine needs to be conducted to evaluate pristine mantle melts versus those that have fractionated olivine (±pyroxene and oxide minerals) in staging chambers.”