found in Western Sahara
What is Sueilila 002?
Simply put, it’s a little piece of Mars. Martian meteorites are classified into three main groups: shergottites, nakhlites, and chassignites. Sueilila 002 is an ultramafic shergottite, specifically a depleted olivine-phyric shergottite.
Meteorite hunters in the Sahara desert found this buried gem on May 25, 2014, and additional pieces were found in the following months. Only recently classified (April 7th, 2018), we’re excited to premier this beautiful piece from The Curchin Collection.
Scientists have studied when these depleted shergottites were ejected from Mars (~1.1 million years ago), from which crater the rocks came from (Mojave crater?), and crystallization age of the rock when it formed on Mars (~400 to 2400 million years ago). Like any good puzzle, new pieces are found that strengthen hypotheses and inspire new ideas.
Under the Microscope
Using transmitted cross-polarized light, the large olivine crystals are the beauties in this meteorite. Not only are they well-formed (euhedral), but they show spectacular color zoning due to a magnesium-rich core transitioning to iron-rich rims. This transition demonstrates changing conditions in the deep martian magma chamber as it experienced eruptions toward the surface, or mixing with other crustal reservoirs.
The rest of the rock is made of mainly pyroxenes, which are smaller, blocky white-yellow grains with some traces of oranges, reds and blues.
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