The Gove relict iron meteorite from Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia

Alex W. R. Bevan, Peter J. Downes, Dermot A. Henry, Michael Verrall, Peter W. Haines

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
First Published: 11 June 2019


“On February 24, 1979, a deeply oxidized mass of iron meteorite was excavated from bauxite at an open cut mine on the Gove Peninsula, Northern Territory, Australia. The meteorite, measuring 0.75–1 m in diameter and of unknown total weight, was found at coordinates 12°15.8′S, 136°50.3′E. On removal from the ground, the meteorite is reported to have disintegrated rapidly. A preliminary analysis at the mine laboratory reportedly gave 8.5 wt% Ni. A modern analysis of oxidized material gave Ni = 32.9, Co = 3.67 (both mg g−1), Cr = 168, Cu = 195, Ga = 22.5, Ge = <70, As = 4.16, W = 1.35, Ir = 10.5, Pt = 21.2, Au = 0.672 (all μg g−1), Sb = <150, and Re = 844 (both ng g−1). Competent fragments of oxidized material retain a fine to medium Widmanstätten pattern with an apparent average bandwidth of 0.5 mm (range 0.2–0.9 mm in plane section). Primary mineralogy includes rare γ–taenite and daubréelite, and secondary minerals produced by weathering include awaruite (with up to 78.5 wt% Ni) and an, as yet, unnamed Cu‐Cr‐bearing sulfide with the ideal formula CuCrS2 that is hitherto unknown in nature. Deep weathering has masked many of the features of the meteorite; however, the analysis normalized to the analyses of fresh iron meteorites favors chemical group IIIAB. The terrestrial age of the meteorite is unknown, although it is likely to be in the Neogene (2.5–23 Ma), which is widely accepted as the major period of bauxite formation in the Northern Territory of Australia. Gove is the second authenticated relict meteorite found in Australia.”