Ferro-chloro-winchite in Northwest Africa (NWA) 998 apatite-hosted melt inclusion: New insights into the nakhlite parent melt

Marina Martínez, Charles K. Shearer, Adrian J. Brearley

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Available online 23 January 2023


“Melt inclusions are of major significance because they can constrain the volatile abundances in magmas. Here, we report the discovery of the first melt inclusion in a martian apatite containing the first chloro-amphibole reported in Northwest Africa (NWA) 998, a sample that crystallized early from the nakhlite-source. The amphibole is also the first sodic-calcic amphibole in a nakhlite, identified as ferro-chloro-winchite (4.75 wt% Cl) by FIB-TEM. The melt inclusion is present in a euhedral, cumulus apatite grain (Cl/F = 2.11) and is surrounded by a shell of voids. Evidence indicates that the melt inclusion remained as a closed system although syn- and post-entrapment processes may have modified the chemical composition of the original trapped melt. The inclusion also contains Fe-rich, Ca-poor pyroxene and a residual silicate melt consisting of pyroxene and interstitial K-rich glass. Additionally, Cl-enriched apatite is present within the boundaries of the melt inclusion. This apatite could result from cracking of host-apatite during contraction of the melt inclusion glass or represent daughter apatite crystallizing on the walls of the inclusion. Given that Cl-enrichments are found in the host apatite outside the melt inclusion, it is inferred that a later, fluid alteration event locally modified the composition of the apatite in and/or around the melt inclusion. The calculated bulk composition of the melt inclusion is generally consistent with previous work in other nakhlites. Prior to this study, Cl-rich amphiboles have only been found within olivine- and pyroxene-hosted melt inclusions in the later-formed nakhlites. The present study thus demonstrates that (i) the nakhlites record magmatic mixing with a Cl-rich exogenous component that is absent within olivine-hosted melt inclusions in the chassignites, (ii) Cl-rich amphiboles were able to crystallize from the earliest nakhlite parent melt, and (iii) the presence of a Cl-rich fluid was not required to stabilize chloro-amphiboles. We also conclude that magmatic martian amphiboles likely stabilized at lower pressures (and temperatures) than terrestrial amphiboles due to their higher Cl contents.”