Constraints on martian depleted shergottite volcanism from the petrogenesis of olivine-phyric shergottites NWA 2046 and NWA 4925

Chad J. Peel, Geoffrey H. Howarth, James M.D. Day, Petrus le Roux, Olivier Alard

Journal of African Earth Sciences
Available online 3 March 2023


“The 1.1 Ma ejection-paired depleted shergottites are sourced from a long-lived volcanic centre, likely located on the Tharsis plateau. Here we present bulk-rock geochemistry, mineral major- and trace-element concentrations, and in-situ maskelynite and pyroxene 87Sr/86Sr data for two depleted olivine-phyric shergottites, Northwest Africa (NWA) 2046 and NWA 4925, from this 1.1 Ma ejection event. The earliest formed olivine megacryst cores in NWA 2046 (Fo83) and NWA 4925 (Fo81) are among the most Mg-rich recorded in martian meteorites and are also in Mg–Fe equilibrium with their respective bulk-rock compositions. We infer the olivine megacrysts in NWA 2046 and NWA 4925 are phenocrysts and suggest that both samples represent melt compositions. CI chondrite-normalised rare earth element patterns for melts calculated to be in equilibrium with pyroxene in NWA 2046 and NWA 4925 are parallel to those of melts in equilibrium with maskelynite and merrillite, which suggests that both samples crystallised from continuously fractionating melts unaffected by crustal contamination. Oxygen fugacity estimates for NWA 2046 (QFM -2.7) and NWA 4925 (QFM -2.9), derived from the V-in-olivine oxybarometer, are comparable to other depleted olivine-phyric shergottites, including Tissint, Larkman Nunatak (LAR) 12095/12240, Dar Al Gani (DaG) 476 and Dhofar (Dho) 019.

Effects of terrestrial alteration are observed in bulk-rock and mineral compositions from NWA 2046 and NWA 4925. The degree of terrestrial alteration is most pronounced in NWA 4925, consistent with an older reported exposure age relative to NWA 2046. The low Ni-contents of bulk-rock and olivine megacrysts in NWA 2046 and NWA 4925 suggests that both samples are not primary mantle-derived melt, but rather have undergone 8–10% and 10–13% fractionation crystallisation, respectively, in a staging chamber at depth. Pyroxenes Ti/Al for NWA 2046 and NWA 4925, suggest initial crystallisation at 10 kbar, consistent with other ejection-paired olivine-phyric shergottites, indicating either a common or multiple staging chambers near the base of the martian crust. The 87Sr/86Sr compositions for unaltered maskelynite grains in NWA 2046 (0.70130 ± 7) and NWA 4925 (0.70128 ± 10) suggest that both samples originate from a similar mantle source to other depleted olivine-phyric shergottites, particularly DaG 476, and Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 005 and Yamato 980459 (Y-980459).”