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

McCubbin, F. M. and Tosca, N. J. and Smirnov, A. and Nekvasil, H. and Steele, A. and Fries, M. and Lindsley, D. H. (2009) Hydrothermal jarosite and hematite in a pyroxene-hosted melt inclusion in martian meteorite Miller Range (MIL) 03346: Implications for magmatic-hydrothermal fluids on Mars. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 73 (16). pp. 4907-4917. DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2009.05.031

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Abstract

Low-temperature aqueous processes have been implicated in the generation of jarosite and hematite on the martian surface, but little is known regarding the role that high-temperature magmatic fluids may have played in producing similar assemblages on Mars. We have identified jarosite and hematite in a clinopyroxene-hosted melt inclusion in martian meteorite MIL 03346 that shows evidence of having been hydrothermally precipitated. In addition to jarosite and hematite, the melt inclusion contains titanomagnetite, pyrrhotite, potassic-chlorohastingsite, an 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 on 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 (b <200 B0C). As the fluid cooled below 200 B0C, jarosite continued to precipitate with hematite and/or goethite until equilibrium was established or reactions became kinetically unfavorable. This work suggests an additional jarosite-hematite formation pathway on 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-formation on Mars. B) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume: 73
Page Range: pp. 4907-4917
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.05.031
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2009 12:26
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:56
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/1242

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