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Hydrogen isotopic systematics of nominally anhydrous phases in martian meteorites

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Hydrogen isotope compositions of the martian atmosphere and crustal materials can provide unique insights into the hydrological and geological evolution of Mars. While the present-day deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio (D/H) of the

Hydrogen isotope compositions of the martian atmosphere and crustal materials can provide unique insights into the hydrological and geological evolution of Mars. While the present-day deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio (D/H) of the Mars atmosphere is well constrained (~6 times that of terrestrial ocean water), that of its deep silicate interior (specifically, the mantle) is less so. In fact, the hydrogen isotope composition of the primordial martian mantle is of great interest since it has implications for the origin and abundance of water on that planet. Martian meteorites could provide key constraints in this regard, since they crystallized from melts originating from the martian mantle and contain phases that potentially record the evolution of the H2O content and isotopic composition of the interior of the planet over time. Examined here are the hydrogen isotopic compositions of Nominally Anhydrous Phases (NAPs) in eight martian meteorites (five shergottites and three nakhlites) using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS).

This study presents a total of 113 individual analyses of H2O contents and hydrogen isotopic compositions of NAPs in the shergottites Zagami, Los Angeles, QUE 94201, SaU 005, and Tissint, and the nakhlites Nakhla, Lafayette, and Yamato 000593. The hydrogen isotopic variation between and within meteorites may be due to one or more processes including: interaction with the martian atmosphere, magmatic degassing, subsolidus alteration (including shock), and/or terrestrial contamination. Taking into consideration the effects of these processes, the hydrogen isotope composition of the martian mantle may be similar to that of the Earth. Additionally, this study calculated upper limits on the H2O contents of the shergottite and nakhlite parent melts based on the measured minimum H2O abundances in their maskelynites and pyroxenes, respectively. These calculations, along with some petrogenetic assumptions based on previous studies, were subsequently used to infer the H2O contents of the mantle source reservoirs of the depleted shergottites (200-700 ppm) and the nakhlites (10-100 ppm). This suggests that mantle source of the nakhlites is systematically drier than that of the depleted shergottites, and the upper mantle of Mars may have preserved significant heterogeneity in its H2O content. Additionally, this range of H2O contents is not dissimilar to the range observed for the Earth’s upper mantle.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Early solar system to deep mantle: the geochemistry of planetary systems

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The origin of the solar system and formation of planets such as Earth are among the most fascinating, outstanding scientific problems. From theoretical models to natural observations, it is possible

The origin of the solar system and formation of planets such as Earth are among the most fascinating, outstanding scientific problems. From theoretical models to natural observations, it is possible to infer a general way of how the solar system evolved from the gravitational collapse of the molecular cloud to accretion and differentiation of planetary-sized bodies. This dissertation attempts to place additional constraints on the source, distribution, and evolution of chemical variability in the early solar system, Mars, and Earth.

A new method was developed for the measurement of titanium isotopes in calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) by laser ablation multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The isotopic compositions of 17 Allende CAIs define a narrow range with clearly resolved excesses in 46Ti and 50Ti and suggests that "normal" CAIs formed from a relatively uniform reservoir. Petrologic and isotopic analysis of a new FUN (Fractionated and Unknown Nuclear effects) CAI suggests that normal and FUN CAIs condensed in similar environments, but subsequently evolved under vastly different conditions.

Volatiles may have influenced the formation and evolution of basaltic magmas on Mars. Light lithophile element (LLE) and fluorine (F) concentrations and isotopic compositions of pyroxene determined in situ in several Martian meteorites suggests that the primary magmatic signature of LLE and F zonation in Shergottite pyroxene has been disturbed by post-crystallization diffusive equilibration. Using relevant crystal-melt partition coefficients the F contents for Martian meteorite parental melts are ~910 and ~220 ppm. Estimates of the F content in the Shergottite and Nakhlite source regions are similar to that of mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) and ocean island basalts (OIB), respectively, here on Earth.

Noble gas systematics of OIBs relative to MORBs, suggests OIBs preferentially sample a primordial reservoir located within Earth's mantle. Geodynamic calculations were performed to investigate the time-dependent rate of material entrained into plumes from these primordial reservoirs. These models predict melts rising to the surface will contain variable proportions of primordial material. The results demonstrate that although high 3He/4He ratios may mandate a mantle plume that samples a primordial reservoir, more MORB-like 3He/4He ratios in OIBs do not preclude a deep plume source.

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Date Created
  • 2014