Spatial distributions of secondary minerals in the Martian meteorite MIL 03346,168 determined by Raman spectroscopic imaging

Zongcheng Ling and Alian Wang

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Accepted manuscript online: 15 MAY 2015
DOI: 10.1002/2015JE004805


Miller Range (MIL) 03346 is a nakhlite meteorite that has been extensively studied due to its unique complex secondary mineral phases and their potential implications for the hydrologic history of Mars. We conducted a set of Raman spectroscopic and Raman imaging studies of MIL 03346,168, focusing on the secondary mineral phases and their spatial distributions, with a goal to better understand the possible processes by which they were generated on Mars. This study revealed three types of calcium sulfates, a solid solutions of (K, Na)-jarosite and two groups of hydrated species with low crystallinity (HSLC) in the veins and/or mesostasis areas of the meteorite. The most abundant Ca-sulfate is bassanite that suggests two possible paths for its direct precipitation from a Ca-S-H2O brine, either having low water activity or with incomplete development (producing bassanite with gypsum microcrystals) on Mars. The second most abundant Ca-sulfate is soluble γ-CaSO4 which raises a new question on the origins of this phase in the martian meteorite, since γ-CaSO4 readily hydrates in the laboratory but is apparently stable in Atacama Desert. The close spatial relationship of (K, Na)-jarosite solid solutions with rasvumite (KFe2S3), magnetite, HSLC, and fine-grained low crystallinity alkali feldspar in mesostasis suggests a potential in situ formation of mesostasis jarosite from these Fe-K,Na-S-O-H2O species.