Noble gases in mineral separates from three shergottites: Shergotty, Zagami, and EETA 79001

Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Herrmann, Siegfried; Mohapatra, Ratan K. and Ott, Ulrich (2007). Noble gases in mineral separates from three shergottites: Shergotty, Zagami, and EETA 79001. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 42(3) pp. 387–412.




This study provides a complete data set of all five noble gases for bulk samples and mineral separates from three Martian shergottites: Shergotty (bulk, pyroxene, maskelynite), Zagami (bulk, pyroxene, maskelynite), and Elephant Moraine (EET) A79001, lithology A (bulk, pyroxene). We also give a compilation of all noble gas and nitrogen studies performed on these meteorites. Our mean values for cosmic-ray exposure ages from 3He, 21Ne, and 38Ar are 2.48 Myr for Shergotty, 2.73 Myr for Zagami, and 0.65 Myr for EETA79001 lith. A. Serious loss of radiogenic 4He due to shock is observed. Cosmogenic neon results for bulk samples from 13 Martian meteorites (new data and literature data) are used in addition to the mineral separates of this study in a new approach to explore evidence of solar cosmic-ray effects. While a contribution of this low-energy irradiation is strongly indicated for all of the shergottites, spallation Ne in Chassigny, Allan Hills (ALH) 84001, and the nakhlites is fully explained by galactic cosmic-ray spallation. Implanted Martian atmospheric gases are present in all mineral separates and the thermal release indicates a near-surface siting. We derive an estimate for the 40Ar/36Ar ratio of the Martian interior component by subtracting from measured Ar in the (K-poor) pyroxenes the (small) radiogenic component as well as the implanted atmospheric component as indicated from 129Xe* excesses. Unless compromised by the presence of additional components, a high ratio of ~2000 is indicated for Martian interior argon, similar to that in the Martian atmosphere. Since much lower ratios have been inferred for Chassigny and ALH 84001, the result may indicate spatial and/or temporal variations of 40Ar/36Ar in the Martian mantle.

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