Hydrothermal jarosite and hematite in a pyroxene-hosted melt inclusion in martian meteorite Miller Range (MIL) 03346: Implications for magmatic-hydrothermal fluids on Mars

Francis M. McCubbin, Nicholas J. Tosca, Alexander Smirnov, Hanna Nekvasil, Andrew Steele, Marc Fries, Donald H. Lindsley

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    79 Citations (Scopus)


    Low-temperature aqueous processes have been implicated in the generation of jarosite and hematite Oil the martian surface, but little is known regarding the role that high-temperature magmatic fluids may have played in production, Similar assemblages on Mars. We have identified jarosite and hematite in a clinopyroxene-hosted melt inclusion in martian meteorite M I L 03346 that shows evidence of having been hydrothermally precipitated. In addition to jarosite and hematite, the melt inclusion contains titanomagnetite, pyrrhotite, potassic-chlorohastingsite, all iron-rich silicate glass and possibly goethite, These phases were identified and characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), con-focal Raman-spectroscopy and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA).

    Based oil observed textural relationships and the compositions of the hosted phases, we report that the jarosite-bearing melt inclusion in MIL 03346 has recorded a fluid-rich history that began in the magmatic stage and Continued to low-temperatures. This history begins at entrapment of a volatile-rich silicate melt that likely reached fluid-saturation after only minor crystallization within the melt inclusion. This fluid, rich in chlorine, reacted with Surrounding silicate material to produce the potassic-chlorohastingsite. As cooling proceeded, the liquid phase eventually became more oxidized and reacted with the pyrrhotite. Sulfide oxidation resulted in SO42- formation and concomitant acid production, setting the stage for jarosite formation once the fluid cooled beyond the upper thermal stability of jarosite (similar to 200 degrees C). As the fluid cooled below 200 degrees C, jarosite Continued to precipitate with hematite and/or goethite until equilibrium was established or reactions became kinetically unfavorable.

    This work suggests all additional jarosite-hematite formation pathway oil Mars; one that may be important wherever magmatic-hydrothermal fluids come into contact with primary sulfide grains at the martian Surface or subsurface. Moreover. hydrothermal fluids rich in chlorine, sulfur, and iron are important for ore-forming processes on Earth, and their indirect identification on Mars may have important implications for ore-formulation oil Mars. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4907-4917
    Number of pages11
    JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2009


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