40Ar-39Ar and cosmic ray exposure ages of nakhlites-Nakhla, Lafayette, Governador Valadares-and Chassigny

Korochantseva, Ekaterina V.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Buikin, Alexei I.; Hopp, Jenns; Ott, Ulrich and Trieloff, Mario (2011). 40Ar-39Ar and cosmic ray exposure ages of nakhlites-Nakhla, Lafayette, Governador Valadares-and Chassigny. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 46(9) pp. 1397–1417.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1945-5100.2011.01240.x


We present 40Ar-39Ar dating results of handpicked mineral separates and wholerock samples of Nakhla, Lafayette, and Chassigny. Our data on Nakhla and Lafayette and recently reported ages for some nakhlites and Chassigny (Misawa et al. 2006; Park et al. 2009) point to formation ages of approximately 1.4 Ga rather than 1.3 Ga that is consistent with previous suggestions of close-in-time formation of nakhlites and Chassigny. In Lafayette mesostasis, we detected a secondary degassing event at approximately 1.1 Ga, which is not related to iddingsite formation. It may have been caused by a medium-grade thermal event resetting the mesostasis age but not influencing the K-Ar system of magmatic inclusions and the original igneous texture of this rock. Cosmic-ray exposure ages for these meteorites and for Governador Valadares were calculated from bulk rock concentrations of cosmogenic nuclides 3He, 21Ne, and 38Ar. Individual results are similar to literature data. The considerable scatter of T3, T21, and T38 ages is due to systematic uncertainties related to bulk rock and target element chemistry, production rates, and shielding effects. This hampers efforts to better constrain the hypothesis of a single ejection event for all nakhlites and Chassigny from a confined Martian surface terrain (Eugster 2003; Garrison and Bogard 2005). Cosmic-ray exposure ages from stepwise release age spectra using 38Ar and neutron induced 37Ar from Ca in irradiated samples can eliminate errors induced by bulk chemistry on production rates, although not from shielding conditions.

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