Formation mechanisms of ringwoodite: clues from the Martian meteorite Northwest Africa 8705OPEN ACCESS 

Ting Zhang, Sen Hu, Nian Wang, Yangting Lin, Lixin Gu, Xu Tang, Xinyu Zou & Mingming Zhang

Earth, Planets and Space volume 73, Article number: 165 (2021)


“Ringwoodite and wadsleyite are the high-pressure polymorphs of olivine, which are common in shocked meteorites. They are the major constituent minerals in the terrestrial mantle. NWA 8705, an olivine-phyric shergottite, was heavily shocked, producing shock-induced melt veins and pockets associated with four occurrences of ringwoodite: (1) the lamellae intergrown with the host olivine adjacent to a shock-induced melt pocket; (2) polycrystalline assemblages preserving the shapes and compositions of the pre-existing olivine within a shock-induced melt vein (60 μm in width); (3) the rod-like grains coexisting with wadsleyite and clinopyroxene within a shock-induced melt vein; (4) the microlite clusters embedded in silicate glass within a very thin shock-induced melt vein (20 μm in width). The first two occurrences of ringwoodite likely formed via solid-state transformation from olivine, supported by their morphological features and homogeneous compositions (Mg# 64–62) similar to the host olivine (Mg# 66–64). The third occurrence of ringwoodite might fractionally crystallize from the shock-induced melt, based on its heterogeneous and more FeO-enriched compositions (Mg# 76–51) than those of the coexisting wadsleyite (Mg# 77–67) and the host olivine (Mg# 66–64) of this meteorite. The coexistence of ringwoodite, wadsleyite, and clinopyroxene suggests a post-shock pressure of 14–16 GPa and a temperature of 1650–1750 °C. The fourth occurrence of ringwoodite with compositional variation (Mg# 72–58) likely crystallized from melt at 16–18 GPa and 1750–1850 °C. The presence of the four occurrences of ringwoodite was probably due to their very fast cooling rates in and/or adjacent to the thin shock-induced melt veins and small pockets. In addition, the higher Fa-contents of the host olivine (Fa35–39) in NWA 8705 than those in ordinary chondrites (Fa16–32) makes the olivine–ringwoodite transformation prolong to a lower pressure.”