Lunar Meteorite: Northeast Africa 003

Northeast Africa 003. Photo credit: Jakub Haloda
End cut of NEA 003. Photo credit: Erich Haiderer
A 2.2-g sample of NEA 003. Photo credit: Norbert Classen
Sawn face of a small fragment of the basalt lithology in NEA 003. Note the weathering. Thanks to Doug Ross for the sample. Photo credit: Randy Korotev
Two views of the breccia lithology in NEA 003. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 90

Northeast Africa 003 (NEA 003)

Find: 2000 November and 2001 December
Mass: 124 g (2 pieces)

Achondrite (lunar, mare basalt and basaltic breccia)

History: A dark gray, 6 g stone was found by a prospector 12 km NW from Al Qaryah ash Sharqiyah in Wadi Zamzam area, Libya, in December 2001. A stone of 118 g with incomplete fusion crust was found nearby in December 2001.

Petrography: (J. Haloda and P. Týcová, PCU) The meteorite contains two adjacent parts, mare basalt and basaltic breccia, both of which were investigated in detail. The main portion (~75 vol%) of the meteorite is coarse-grained, low-Ti olivine-rich basalt, showing porphyritic texture of olivine (Fo19-73), zoned pyroxene (En5-71Wo6-38), and plagioclase (An84-92) with late-stage mesostasis containing silica, Fe-rich pyroxene and pyroxferroite, plagioclase, ilmenite, troilite, and apatite. Opaque phases include chromite, Ti-rich chromite, ulvöspinel, ilmenite, troilite, and trace Fe,Ni metal; shock veins and impact melt pockets are present. All plagioclase is totally converted to maskelynite. Mineral modes are (vol%) olivine = 17.5, pyroxene = 60.6, plagioclase = 18.2, ilmenite = 1.2, spinel = 0.8, mesostasis + impact melt = 1.8.

Geochemistry: Bulk composition: SiO2 = 44.7, TiO2 = 1.3, Cr2O3 = 0.5, Al2O3 = 8.0, FeO = 21.8, MnO = 0.3, MgO = 13.6, CaO = 9.2, Na2O = 0.3, K2O = 0.1 (all wt%), Fe/Mn = 81. Concentration of selected elements (INAA; R. Korotev, WashU) Sc = 50.8, Co = 50.5, Ni = 84, Hf = 1.1, Ta = 0.15, Th = 0.43, U = 0.2 (all ppm); REE pattern is flat at 10 × CI with slight negative Eu anomaly, not depleted in LREE. Adjacent part is basaltic breccia (~25 vol%) consisting of well-consolidated glassy impact-melt matrix containing scattered mineral fragments of chemical composition identical with the coarse-grained low-Ti olivine-rich basalt and two larger clasts of low-Ti mare basalt lithologies. The low-Ti basaltic clasts are finer-grained and petrologically more evolved. No regolith component or highland material is present.

Classification: Achondrite (lunar mare basalt and basaltic breccia).

Specimens: A 20 g type specimen and two polished thin sections are on deposit at PCU. An anonymous finder holds the main mass.

Randy Says…

Mostly, NEA 003 is an unbrecciated mare basalt. Alternatively, as in Dhofar 287, the meteorite is a breccia with a big clast of basalt. The basalt is distinct from Apollo and Luna basalts. Compositionally, the breccia is very different from the basalt and the basalt is unlikely to be a significant component of the breccia.

More Information

Meteoritical Bulletin Database

NEA 003


Anand M., Tartèse R., Barnes J. J., Starkey N. A., Franchi I. A., and Russell S. S. (2013) Abundance, distribution, and isotopic composition of water in the Moon as revealed by basaltic lunar meteorites44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1957.

Elardo S. M., Shearer C. K., Vander Kaaden K. E., McCubbin F. M., and Bell A. S. (2015) Petrogenesis of primitive and evolved basalts in a cooling Moon: Experimental constraints from the youngest known lunar magmas. 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 2155.

Fernandes V.A., Burgess R., Bischoff A., Sokol A. K., and Haloda J. (2007) Kalahari 009 and North East Africa 003: Young (<2.5 ga) lunar mare basalts. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVIII, abstract no. 1611.

Haloda J., Korotev R. L., Týcová P., Jakeš P., and Gabzdyl P. (2006) Lunar meteorite Northeast Africa 003-A: A new lunar mare basaltLunar and Planetary Science XXXVII, abstract no. 2269.

Haloda J., Týcová P., Jakeš P., Gabzdyl P., and Košler J. (2006) Lunar meteorite Northeast Africa 003-B: A new lunar mare basaltic brecciaLunar and Planetary Science XXXVII, abstract no. 2311.

Haloda J., Gabzdyl P., Týcová, and Fernandes V. A. (2007) Lunar meteorite Northeast Africa 003-A: Microstructures, crystallization modeling and possible lunar source areasLunar and Planetary Science XXXVIII, abstract no. 2025.

Haloda J., Fernandes V.A., Burgess R., and Thöni M. (2007) Lunar mare basalt meteorite NEA003-A: Chronology, chemical and petrological compositionAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2007, abstract id. V23B-1440.

Haloda J., Tycova P., Thöni M., and Jelenc M. (2009) The petrogenesis and chronology of lunar meteorite Northeast Africa 003-A: Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr isotopic studies40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1247.

Haloda J., Týcová P., Korotev R. L., Fernandes V. A., Burgess R., Thöni M., Jelenc M., Jakeš P., Gabzdyl P., and Košler J. (2009) Petrology, geochemistry, and age of low-Ti mare-basalt meteorite Northeast Africa 003-A: A possible member of the Apollo 15 mare basaltic suiteGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, 3450-3470.

Korotev R. L. and Irving A. J. (2021) Lunar meteorites from northern Africa. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 206–240. 

Korotev R. L. and Zeigler R. A. (2007) Keeping up with the lunar meteoritesLunar and Planetary Science XXXVIII, abstract no. 1340.