U-Pb and Al-Mg systematics of the ungrouped achondrite Northwest Africa 7325

Piers Koefoed, Yuri Amelin, Qing-Zhu Yin, Josh Wimpenny, Matthew E. Sanborn, Tsuyoshi Iizuka, Anthony J. Irving

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 1 April 2016


“Northwest Africa (NWA) 7325 is a unique ungrouped gabbroic achondrite which has characteristics consistent with a possible link to the planet Mercury. In order to understand the origin of this meteorite and the nature of its parent body, we have determined its crystallisation age using the long-lived U-Pb and short-lived Al-Mg chronometers. An internal Pb-Pb isochron defined by six acid leached pyroxene fractions yields an age of 4563.4 ± 2.6 Ma, assuming that the 238U/235U ratio for NWA 7325 is identical to the bulk Earth and Solar System value of 137.794. The Al-Mg isotope analyses of seven fractions (four plagioclase, one pyroxene, one olivine and one whole rock) define a regression line corresponding to 26Al/27Al0 = (3.03 ± 0.14) × 10-7 and an initial δ26Mg∗ of 0.093 ± 0.004‰. When anchored to the D’Orbigny angrite, this initial 26Al/27Al yields an age of 4563.09 ± 0.26 Ma. The Pb-Pb age of 4563.4 ± 2.6 Ma and Al-Mg age of 4563.09 ± 0.26 Ma are in complete agreement, but the low U concentrations of NWA 7325 resulted in a relatively low precision Pb-Pb age. The observed excess in initial δ26Mg∗ can be explained by 27Al/24Mg fractionation and subsequent Mg isotopic evolution after planetary differentiation. Furthermore, the parental magma of NWA 7325 most likely formed within 1.72 Ma after calcium-aluminium rich inclusion (CAI) formation. NWA 7325 formed near simultaneously with quenched angrites and a number of ungrouped achondrites at ∼4563 Ma, suggesting that a multitude of planetary bodies had formed and differentiated by ∼4-5 Myr after CAI formation. This ancient age may be interpreted as an argument against NWA 7325 originating from Mercury, however it does not completely rule it out.”