From Lake to River: Documenting an Environmental Transition across the Jura/Knockfarril Hill Members Boundary in the Glen Torridon Region of Gale crater (Mars)

1,2G.Caravaca et al. (>10)
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets) Open Access Link to Article []
1UMR 5277 CNRS, UPS, CNES Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, Toulouse, France
2UMR 6112 CNRS Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences, Nantes Université, Université d’Angers, Nantes, France
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Between January 2019 and January 2021, the Mars Science Laboratory team explored the Glen Torridon region in Gale crater (Mars), known for its orbital detection of clay minerals. Mastcam, MAHLI and ChemCam data are used in an integrated sedimentological and geochemical study to characterize the Jura member of the upper Murray formation and the Knockfarril Hill member of the overlying Carolyn Shoemaker formation in northern Glen Torridon. The studied strata show a progressive transition represented by interfingering beds of fine-grained, recessive mudstones of the Jura member and coarser-grained, cross-stratified sandstones attributed to the Knockfarril Hill member. Whereas the former are interpreted as lacustrine deposits, the latter are interpreted as predominantly fluvial deposits. The geochemical composition seen by the ChemCam instrument show K2O-rich mudstones (∼1-2 wt.%) vs MgO-rich sandstones (>6 wt.%), relative to the average composition of the underlying Murray formation. We document consistent sedimentary and geochemical datasets showing that low-energy mudstones of the Jura member are associated with the K-rich endmember, and that high-energy cross-stratified sandstones of the Knockfarril Hill member are associated with the Mg-rich endmember, regardless of stratigraphic position. The Jura to Knockfarril Hill transition therefore marks a significant paleoenvironmental change, where a long-lived and comparatively quiescent lacustrine setting progressively changes into a more energetic fluvial setting, as a consequence of shoreline regression due to either increased sediment supply or lake-level drop.

Evolved gas analyses of sedimentary rocks from the Glen Torridon Clay-Bearing Unit, Gale crater, Mars: Results from the Mars Science Laboratory Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suite

1A.C.McAdam et al. (>10)
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets) (in Press) Link to Article []
1NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Evolved gas analysis (EGA) data from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite indicated Fe-rich smectite, carbonate, oxidized organics, Fe/Mg sulfate, and chloride in sedimentary rocks from the Glen Torridon (GT) region of Gale crater that displayed phyllosilicate spectral signatures from orbit. SAM evolved H2O data indicated that the primary phyllosilicate in all GT samples was an Fe-rich dioctahedral smectite (e.g., nontronite) with lesser amounts of a phyllosilicate such as mixed layer talc-serpentine or greenalite-minnesotaite. CO2 data supported the identification of siderite in several samples, and CO2 and CO data was also consistent with trace oxidized organic compounds such as oxalate salts. SO2 data indicated trace and/or amorphous Fe sulfates in all samples and one sample may contain Fe sulfides. SO2 data points to significant Mg sulfates in two samples, and lesser amounts in several other samples. A lack of evolved O2 indicated the absence of oxychlorine salts and Mn3+/ Mn4+ oxides. The lack of, or very minor, evolved NO revealed absent or very trace nitrate/nitrite salts. HCl data suggested chloride salts in GT samples. Constraints from EGA data on mineralogy and chemistry indicated that the environmental history of GT involved alteration with fluids of variable redox potential, chemistry and pH under a range of fluid-to-rock ratio conditions. Several of the fluid episodes could have provided habitable environmental conditions and carbon would have been available to any past microbes though the lack of significant N could have been a limiting factor for microbial habitability in the GT region.

Composition of the Apollo 17 drive tube 76001 and the nonmare lithologies of the North Massif and Luna 20

1Randy L. Korotev
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63130 USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Bulk composition data for 24 chemical elements are presented for regolith samples (<1 mm fines) from each of the 62 half-centimeter dissection intervals along the 31 cm length of the 76001 vertical drive tube collected by astronauts at the base of the North Massif at station 6 of the Apollo 17 landing site. The core regolith is nearly uniform in composition with depth although the concentrations of Sc and Sm, for example, decrease from 28.5 μg g−1 Sc and 5.93 μg g−1 Sm at the top 2.5 cm to 26.9 μg g−1 Sc and 5.55 μg g−1 Sm at the bottom 2.5 cm. This change reflects an increase with depth in the relative abundance of Sm-poor, feldspathic material, from 48.4% at the top to 50.1% at the bottom. On the basis of compositional mass balance, the feldspathic (nonmare) material of the station 6 regolith requires a substantial proportion of an Mg-rich lithology, ~27% when modeled as troctolite sample 76535. The remaining 73% is nominally Sm-poor anorthositic norite in composition. No such Mg-rich component is required to account for the composition of the regolith of the South Massif (stations 2 and 3). The total feldspathic component of the North Massif regolith, normatively an anorthositic troctolite (74 vol% plagioclase, olivine:pyroxene = 55:45, Mg′ = 78%), is very similar to that of the nonmare component of the Luna 20 regolith collected 910 km to the southeast on the Crisium ejecta deposit. We also present new composition data for 21, 25, and 16 small lithic fragments (0.1–3.9 mg each) from the regoliths of the Luna 16, 20, and 24 missions.

The first main group ureilite with primary plagioclase: A missing link in the differentiation of the ureilite parent body

1Cyrena A. Goodrich et al. (>10)
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association, 3600 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, Texas, 77058 USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

MS-MU-012, a 15.5 g clast from the Almahata Sitta polymict ureilite, is the first known plagioclase-bearing main group ureilite. It is a coarse-grained (up to 4 mm), equilibrated assemblage of 52% olivine (Fo 88), 13% orthopyroxene (Mg# 89.2, Wo 4.5), 11% augite (Mg# 90.2, Wo 37.3), and 14% plagioclase (An 68), plus minor metal and sulfide. The plagioclase grains have been secondarily remelted and internally recrystallized, but retain primary external morphologies. Melt inclusions occur in olivine. Rounded chadocrysts of olivine and orthopyroxene are enclosed in augite grains. In terms of texture, mineralogy, major and minor element mineral compositions, and oxygen isotopes, MS-MU-012 is virtually identical to the archetypal Hughes-type main group ureilites, with the significant addition of primary plagioclase. We conclude that MS-MU-012 formed as a cumulate in a common lithologic unit with the Hughes-type ureilites. Based on reconstructed compositions of melts trapped in olivine, orthopyroxene, and augite in the Hughes-type samples, we infer that the parent magma of the Hughes unit originated as a late melt in the incremental melting of the ureilite parent body (UPB), near the end of the melting sequence, but was not completely extracted from the mantle like earlier melts and was emplaced in an intrusive body. MELTS calculations indicate that olivine began to crystallize at ~1260 °C, followed shortly thereafter by co-crystallization of orthopyroxene and augite. Plagioclase began to crystallize at ~1170–1180 °C. Graphite was buoyant in the melt and became heterogeneously distributed in flotation cumulates. Residual silicate liquid was extracted from the cumulate pile and could have crystallized to form the “labradoritic melt lithology” (with plagioclase of An ~68-35), which is partially preserved as clasts in polymict ureilites. The final equilibration temperature recorded by the Hughes unit was ~1140–1170 °C, just before catastrophic disruption of the UPB. MS-MU-012 provides a critical missing link in the differentiation history of this asteroid.

Bolide fragmentation: What parts of asteroid 2008 TC3 survived to the ground?

1,2Peter Jenniskens,2Darrel Robertson,3Cyrena A. Goodrich,4Muawia H. Shaddad,4Ayman Kudoda,5Anna M. Fioretti,6Michael E. Zolensky
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Open Access Link to Article []
1SETI Institute, 339 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View, California, 94043 USA
2NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, 94035 USA
3Lunar and Planetary Institute, USRA, Houston, Texas, 77058 USA
4Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, 11115 Sudan
5CNR–Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse, I-35131 Padova, Italy
6Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 77058 USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Asteroid 2008 TC3 impacted the Earth’s atmosphere with a known shape and orientation. Over 600 meteorites were recovered at recorded locations, including meteorites of nonureilite type. From where in the asteroid did these stones originate? Here, we reconstruct the meteor lightcurve and study the breakup dynamics of asteroid 2008 TC3 in 3-D hydrodynamic modeling. Two fragmentation regimes are found that explain the lightcurve and strewn field. As long as the asteroid created a wake vacuum, the fragments tended to move into that shadow, where they mixed with small relative velocities and surviving meteorites fell along a narrow strip on the ground. But when the surviving part of the backside and bottom of the asteroid finally collapsed at 33 km altitude, it created an end flare and dust cloud, while fragments were dispersed radially with much higher relative speed due to shock–shock interactions with a distorted shock front. Stones that originated in this final collapse tended to survive in a larger size and fell over a wider area at locations on the ground. Those locations to some extent still trace back to the fragment’s original position in the asteroid. We classified the stones from this “large mass” area and used this information to glean some insight into the relative location of recovered ureilites and ordinary and enstatite chondrites in 2008 TC3.

Tirhert and Aouinet Legraa: Rare unbrecciated eucrite falls

1Taha Shisseh,1Hasnaa Chennaoui Aoudjehane,2Carl B. Agee,3Omar Boudouma
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1GAIA Laboratory, Faculty of Sciences Ain Chock, Hassan II University of Casablanca, km 8 Route d’El Jadida, 20150 Casablanca, Morocco
2Institute of Meteoritics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87131 USA
3UPMC – Paris 06, UMR, 7193 Paris, France
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Tirhert and Aouinet Legraa are the only documented unbrecciated eucrite falls in Africa. Aouinet Legraa fell in Algeria on July 17, 2013. Tirhert’s fall occurred about a year later in Morocco, on July 9, 2014. Both meteorites are covered by a black and glossy fusion crust as is typical of eucrites. Tirhert has a poikilitic texture with remnant subophitic pockets, and consists of millimeter-sized grains of plagioclase (An87-91), pigeonite (Mg# 42) with augite exsolution lamellae, and interstitial opaque minerals. Aouinet Legraa has a subophitic texture, and it is dominated by plagioclase laths (An82-89) enclosed by pigeonite (Mg# 37), with exsolution lamellae of augite. Remnant Ca zoning in pyroxene is observed in both rocks, although it is more abundant in Aouinet Legraa than Tirhert. The presence of exsolved pyroxenes suggests that these meteorites have undergone thermal metamorphism. Equilibration temperatures estimated from pigeonite and augite pairs using the QUILF program are ∼931 °C in Tirhert and ∼758 °C in Aouinet Legraa. This indicates that these rocks had distinct thermal histories. Aouinet Legraa has trace element abundances similar to the typical main group eucrite Juvinas, confirming its origin as a main group eucrite. The trace element abundances of Tirhert fall between those of cumulate and main group eucrites. Its rare earth element pattern is flat with a positive Eu anomaly. This likely suggests that Tirhert is a partial cumulate of plagioclase from a main group magma, or a flotation cumulate formed by flotation of plagioclase in a subvolcanic chamber or by scavenging crystals during eruption.

Isotopic evidence for two chondrule generations in CR chondrites and their relationships to other carbonaceous chondrites

1Yves Marrocchi,1Maxime Piralla,1Maxence Regnault,2Valentina Batanova,1Johan Villeneuve,3Emmanuel Jacquet
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 593, 117683 Link to Article []
1Université de Lorraine, CNRS, CRPG, UMR 7358, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy 54500, France
2Université Grenoble Alpes, ISTerre, CNRS, UMR 5275, Grenoble 38000, France
3Institut de Minéralogie, de Physique des Matériaux et de Cosmochimie (IMPMC), Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Sorbonne Université, CNRS; CP52, 57 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France
Copyright Elsevier

Among primitive meteorites, CR chondrites have peculiar isotopic compositions, the origin of which is uncertain and may have involved contributions from primordial molecular cloud material or the chondrites’ formation and agglomeration late during the evolution of the protoplanetary disk. Here, we report a comprehensive textural and isotopic characterization of type I CR chondrules and provide new insights on their formation conditions. We find that two chondrule populations characterized by different sizes and oxygen isotopic compositions co-exist in CR chondrites. The typically larger, 16O-poor (-4‰) chondrules (type I-CR chondrules) appear to have formed late out of a CR reservoir already populated by typically smaller, 16O-rich (-4‰) chondrules (type I-CO chondrules). Before formation of type I-CR chondrules, the CR reservoir was likely dominated by CI-like dust, in line with the proximity of CR with CI chondrites for many isotopic ratios. The CR reservoir thus may have largely belonged to the continuum shown by other carbonaceous chondrites, although some isotopic ratios maintain some originality and suggest isotopic variation of CI-like dust in the outer disk. Combined with literature data, our data (i) demonstrates that recycling processes are responsible for the singular compositions of CR chondrites and their chondrules for isotopic systems with drastically different geochemical behaviors (O, Cr, Te) and (ii) support the homogeneous distribution of 26Al throughout the protoplanetary disk.

Near-infrared spectroscopy of boulders with dust or patina coatings on the Moon: A two-layer radiative transfer model

1Lingzhi Sun,1Paul Lucey
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article []
1Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Copyright Elsevier

Previous remote sensing studies focus on lunar surface regolith, which contains abundant mixtures of rock fragments and dust, making it hard to track the petrologic origin. Igneous boulders exposed on lunar surface, however, carry pristine mineralogy and chemistry since its formation, therefore are direct evidence of lunar thermal evolution events. High spatial-resolution remote sensing images and rover explorations of the Moon allow us to study the spectroscopy of igneous boulders. We modeled the optical scattering properties of rocks using the Legendre and Double Henyey–Greenstein phase functions, porosity parameter and grain size, and provided a modified radiative transfer model for rocks rather than powdered minerals. Considering that space weathering could generate a layer of dust or patina on the surface of boulders, we introduced a two-layer radiative transfer modeling algorithm to solve the spectroscopy of the substrate rock for dust- or patina-coated boulder. The modeled substrate rock spectra show less reddening, larger reflectance, and stronger absorption band depth compared to dust- or patina-coated rock, consistent with the measurements of Apollo rock samples. We applied this two-layer model on the dust-coated boulder detected by Yutu-2 rover and derived the spectrum of the substrate rock. Using Kaguya Multiband Imager data, we calculated the substrate rock spectra for an anorthosite boulder, and our result shows good consistency with laboratory measured anorthosite rock spectrum. This work is a beginning of understanding lunar boulder spectroscopy for a more precise interpretation of lunar thermal history.

Geochemical evidence for the origin of the IIE parent body from H chondrite-like material

1S. N. Teplyakova,2M. Humayun,1C. A. Lorenz,1M. A. Ivanova
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kosygina st. 19, 119991 Moscow, Russia
2National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, 1800 E. Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310 USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Isotopic compositions of O, Mo, and Cu in the IIE iron meteorites have indicated a close affinity to the H chondrite group. The diversity of trace element compositions and their abundance of silicate inclusions indicate that IIE iron meteorites were formed in multistage processes. To better constrain the formation of the IIE irons, this study analyzed elemental abundances in the metal of five IIE irons (Elga, Miles, Tobychan, Verkhne Dnieprovsk, and Watson) by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The data are interpreted in terms of a new model of IIE crystallization from the metal fraction of completely molten H chondrite-like material based on the solid/liquid distribution coefficients of siderophile and chalcophile elements changing simultaneously with changes of S concentrations in the remaining liquid during the crystallization of the Fe,Ni phase in the Fe-Ni-S system. The model showed that IIE iron compositions could be produced as solid phases at 40–73 wt% of fractional crystallization of the metal component of a bulk H chondrite-like metallic melt. We propose that IIE iron metal could have originated from the solidified core of a differentiated body of H chondrite-like composition and sampled different fractions of that core exposed during a catastrophic disruption of the body. The present structure of metal and silicate inclusions of IIE irons was formed by remelting and metal–silicate mixing during late impact event(s) on the parent body surface.