The Gove relict iron meteorite from Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia

1,2Alex W. R. Bevan,1Peter J. Downes,3Dermot A. Henry,4Michael Verrall,5Peter W. Haines
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Western Australian Museum, Locked Bag 49, Welshpool DC, Western Australia, 6986 Australia
2Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Western Australia, 6845 Australia
3Geosciences Department, Museum Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne, Victoria, 3001 Australia
4CSIRO Mineral Resources, Australian Resources Research Centre, 26 Dick Perry Avenue, Technology Park, Kensington, Western Australia, 6151 Australia
5Geological Survey of Western Australia, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, 100 Plain Street, East Perth, Western Australia, 6004 Australia
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

On February 24, 1979, a deeply oxidized mass of iron meteorite was excavated from bauxite at an open cut mine on the Gove Peninsula, Northern Territory, Australia. The meteorite, measuring 0.75–1 m in diameter and of unknown total weight, was found at coordinates 12°15.8′S, 136°50.3′E. On removal from the ground, the meteorite is reported to have disintegrated rapidly. A preliminary analysis at the mine laboratory reportedly gave 8.5 wt% Ni. A modern analysis of oxidized material gave Ni = 32.9, Co = 3.67 (both mg g−1), Cr = 168, Cu = 195, Ga = 22.5, Ge = <70, As = 4.16, W = 1.35, Ir = 10.5, Pt = 21.2, Au = 0.672 (all μg g−1), Sb = <150, and Re = 844 (both ng g−1). Competent fragments of oxidized material retain a fine to medium Widmanstätten pattern with an apparent average bandwidth of 0.5 mm (range 0.2–0.9 mm in plane section). Primary mineralogy includes rare γ–taenite and daubréelite, and secondary minerals produced by weathering include awaruite (with up to 78.5 wt% Ni) and an, as yet, unnamed Cu‐Cr‐bearing sulfide with the ideal formula CuCrS2 that is hitherto unknown in nature. Deep weathering has masked many of the features of the meteorite; however, the analysis normalized to the analyses of fresh iron meteorites favors chemical group IIIAB. The terrestrial age of the meteorite is unknown, although it is likely to be in the Neogene (2.5–23 Ma), which is widely accepted as the major period of bauxite formation in the Northern Territory of Australia. Gove is the second authenticated relict meteorite found in Australia.


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