Pervasive shock melting at >65 GPa in a Martian basalt, the shergottite Northwest Africa 14672

R. H. Hewins, H. Leroux, D. Jacob, S. Pont, O. Beyssac, V. Malarewicz, J.-P. Lorand, P.-M. Zanetta, B. Zanda

Version of Record online: 06 July 2023


“Shergottites have provided abundant information on the volcanic and impact history of Mars. Northwest Africa (NWA) 14672 contributes to both of these aspects. It is a vesicular ophitic depleted olivine–phyric shergottite, with average plagioclase An61Ab39Or0.2. It is highly ferroan, with pigeonite compositions En49-25Fs41-61Wo10-14 like those of basaltic shergottites, for example, NWA 12335. Olivine (Fo53-15) has discrete ferroan overgrowths, more ferroan when in contact with plagioclase than when enclosed by pyroxene. The pyroxene (a continuum of augite, subcalcic augite, and pigeonite) is patchy, with ragged “cores” enveloped or invaded by ferroan pyroxene. Magma mixing may be responsible for capture of olivine and formation of pyroxene mantles. The plagioclase is maskelynite-like in appearance, but the original laths were (congruently) melted and the melt partly crystallized as fine dendrites. Most of the 14% vesicles occur within plagioclase. Olivine, pyroxene, and ilmenite occur in part as fine aggregates crystallized after congruent melting with limited subsequent liquid mixing. There are two fine-grained melt components, barred plagioclase with interstitial Fe-bearing phases, and glass with olivine dendrites, derived by melting of mainly plagioclase and mainly pyroxene, respectively. Rare silica particles contain coesite and/or quartz, and silica glass. The rock has experienced >50% melting, compatible with peak pressure >~65 GPa. It is the most highly shocked shergottite so far, at shock stage S6/7. It may belong to the group of depleted shergottites ejected at ~1 Myr from Tooting Crater.”