Insights into the petrogenetic history of the Northwest Africa 7635 augite-rich shergottite

Christopher D. K. Herd

Version of Record online: 04 December 2022


“The petrogenesis of the Northwest Africa (NWA) 7635 Martian meteorite involved the entrainment of xenocrystic olivine grains into a relatively magnesian and oxidized melt, followed by a redox-dependent reaction between olivine and melt that resulted in the crystallization of orthopyroxene and magnetite. Subsequent crystallization of the melt began with augite, plagioclase, and magnetite phenocrysts, and was followed by crystallization of augite, plagioclase, magnetite, ilmenite, and pyrrhotite in the groundmass, which took place under more rapid conditions of cooling, as reflected in the groundmass grain size. The petrogenetic history of NWA 7635 is similar in many ways to that of NWA 8159; this observation, coupled with similarities in geochemical and isotopic characteristics from other studies, suggests that the parent melts of the two rocks—as represented by all minerals except the xenocrystic olivine—were one and the same. The main distinctions between the two rocks are that their parent melts entrained xenocrystic olivine of different composition, and the cooling rate of the groundmass of NWA 7635 was more rapid than that of NWA 8159. The conclusion that the redox reaction took place between olivine and melt is in contrast to other work that suggests the reaction took place in the subsolidus, and has implications for the nature of the reaction in both NWA 7635 and NWA 8159.”