Lunar Meteorite: NWA 773 clan

northwestern Africa

The Northwest Africa 773 clan consists of Anoual, Northwest Africa 773, 2700, 2727, 2977, 3160, 3170, 3333, 6950, 7007, 8127, 10656, 10985, 11616, 11703, 11767, & some unnamed pairs

This page contains many photos because the NWA 773 clan represents what is perhaps the most lithologically diverse and well as most photogenic of lunar meteorite.

The reported find and purchase locations of the NWA 773 clan of lunar meteorite stones are far too dispersed for all the stones to be terrestrially paired, that is, all fragments from a single fall. Anoual and Dchira are separated by 1160 km, for example. Compositionally and mineralogically, these stones are clearly all related and none like them have been found outside the area of this map. So either we must accept the coincidence of launch pairings – one impact on the Moon launched several stones that all happened to land in Northwest Africa – or that some of the reported find locations are inaccurate. (Map courtesy of Google Earth.) The observation that NWA 2977, NWA 7007, and NWA 11616, and the unnamed stone (last photo below) have nearly complete fusion crusts whereas NWA 6950, NWA 8127, NWA 11703 are weathered, broken fragments may argue against terrestrial pairing of the stones of this clan.

Sawn face of Northwest Africa 773. The NWA 773 clan is a brecciated meteorite that contains large clasts of gabbros and basalts. Photo credit: Marvin Killgore (from Fagan et al., 2003)

A slice of NWA 2727. Photo credit: Heritage Auctions

Lab sample of NWA 2727 showing three lithologies: (1) olivine phyric basalt (right) and (2) breccia (left) containing (3) two olivine gabbro clasts including a very coarse-grained one. Photo credit: Stan Turecki

NWA 2977. Photo credit: Mike Farmer

Sawn face of NWA 2977. The stone is entirely olivine gabbro. Photo credit: unknown

A slice of NWA 2977 under different lighting conditions. Tick marks on the scale are spaced at 1 mm intervals. Thanks to Mike Farmer for the sample. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

Lab sample of NWA 3160, which is mainly olivine phyric basalt. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

A polished slice on NWA 3170, which is mainly olivine gabbro and breccia. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

Another slice of NWA 3170. Photo credit: Stefan Ralew and Martin Altmann

Slices on NWA 3333. Photo credit: Luc Labenne

Our lab sample of NWA 3333, which looks different than the Labenne photos above. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

False color x-ray map of the interior portion of the NWA 3333 section above. Red represents aluminum, green represents magnesium, and blue represents iron. In this scheme, red grains are plagioclase, green are mostly olivine and some magnesian pyroxene, and purple to blue colors are Fe-rich pyroxene, glass, and ilmenite. Image credit: Katherine Gibson

Exterior and slice of NWA 6950. This stone is entirely olivine gabbro. Image credits: Heritage Auctions

Whole rock and slice of NWA 7007, which is mainly breccia and olivine gabbro. Photo credits: Greg Hupé.

Polished face of a breccia-rich slice of NWA 7007 (width = ~3 cm). Photo credit: Randy Korotev

Sawn face of NWA 8127, which is entirely olivine gabbro. Photo credit: Peter Marmet

Exterior and sawn face of NWA 10656. The olivine diabase is compositionally and texturally different from the olivine-phyric basalt or the olivine gabbro of the other NWA-773-clan members yet it nearly identical in composition to the NWA-773-clan breccia. Photo credits: Darryl Pitt.

Thin section of of NWA 10656 (3 cm wide). Photo credit: Randy Korotev

Sawn face of NWA 10985. Photo credit: Carl Agee

Northwest Africa 10985 (250 g). Photo credit: Heritage Auctions

A different slice of NWA 10985. The breccia on the left is compositionally indistinguishable from the fragmental breccia in NWA 773, 3170, and 7007. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

NWA 11616 (2.55 kg). Photo credit: Darryl Pitt

Sawn face of NWA 11616 showing at least three different lithologies, olivine gabbro (top), fragmental breccia (left), and porphyritic basalt (bottom right). The latter is compositionally indistinguishable from the basalt of NWA 10985. Photo credit: Darryl Pitt

4 views of a 46-g piece of NWA 11616. Photo credits: Christie’s

Slice of NWA 11616. Photo credit: Randy Korotev

NWA 11703 (5.3 kg). The rock appears to be entirely olivine gabbro. Photo credit: Darryl Pitt

One of the small Anoual stones. Photo credit: Philippe Thomas

Lab sample of Anoual. Photo credit: Randy Korotev.

An unnamed stone (157 g) of the NWA 773 clan (left) and our lab sample thereof (right), which is entirely the olivine gabbro (and fusion crust). Image credit: Randy Korotev

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 93

Anoual

Anoual, Morocco
Find: 2006 May 3
Mass: 5.92 g (12 pieces)

Achondrite (Lunar, mare basalt/gabbro breccia)

History: Nomads from near Anoual (a village located in the East of Morocco between Bouarfa and Talsint; about 40 km E-N-E of the latter) learned that the small odd stones that had been found close to their settlement in June and July of 2005 was indeed a meteorite from the Moon (NWA 2727). After extensive searching and screening of the soil, Mr. Boujena recovered 12 pieces for a total mass of 5.92 g, over a small area of about 5 m in diameter. The small size of the pieces can be explained by the brecciated character of the stone. Ph. Thomas visited the place in May 2006 and May 2007, participated in the search, took pictures, in particular of the investigated soil and registered the GPS coordinates.

Physical characteristics: Tan greenish stones devoid of fusion crust.

Petrography: (A. Jambon, O. Boudouma and D. Badia. UPVI). Breccia composed dominantly of two lithologies: A phyric basalt and a gabbro. Basalt with subhedral olivine phenocrysts (<1mm; 20 vol%) slightly resorbed in a finely crystallized groundmass. Highly fractured gabbro clasts. Small doleritic clasts with zoned pyroxenes. Mafic areas of once molten rock with olivine needles. One clast of quenched basaltic melt with numerous zirconolite needles (0.7 vol%; 0.1 mm) silica and celsian K-spar. Ilmenite, troilite, chromite. Plagioclase and clinopyroxene. Carbonate fills the largest fractures.

Geochemistry: (EMPA) Olivine (Fa45-28, with few crystals >Fa45; FeO/MnO = 97). Pyroxene: from (Mg#= 0.80) pigeonite (Wo10) and augite (Wo45) to pyroxferroite (Fs70Wo25; FeO/MnO = 70). Plagioclase (An91-83). Spinel (Cr66Sp25Us3Mt6).

Classification: Lunar mare basalt/gabbro breccia. Paired with NWA 2727/3160 (and potentially NWA 3333)

Type specimens: A total of 1.205 g of sample (one polished section) is on deposit at UPVIThomas holds the main mass.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 85

Northwest Africa 773 (NWA 773)

Western Sahara
Found: 2000 September
Mass: 633 g (3 pieces)

Lunar Meteorite (cumulate olivine norite with regolith breccia)

[see discussion below regarding classification]

Three stones of 359 g, 224 g and 50 g, totaling 633 g were sold to Marvin Killgore (SWML) by nomads who showed him the place of find on a flat dry desert plain near Dchira, Western Sahara.

Mineralogy and classification (T. Fagan, UHaw, M. Killgore, SWML): consists of two distinct lithologies, cumulate rock and regolith breccia; weathering grade, W1; shock stage, S5. Cumulate portion: modes (vol%) are olivine = 54.7, pigeonite = 24.2, augite = 5, feldspar (including minor K-feldspar) = 15.6, opaques (troilite, chromite, Fe-metal) = 0.5; olivine, Fa28-97, mean Fa31, FeO/MnO = 99±11 g/g; pigeonite, En64Wo11, FeO/MnO = 53±6 g/g; augite, En49Wo36, FeO/MnO = 46±6 g/g; plagioclase, An88-91; Ba-rich K-feldspar, An3Ab4Or93 with average BaO = 2.2 wt.%. Breccia portion: contains fragments of cumulate portion as well as silica glass, hedenbergitic pyroxene, volcanic rocks, and unusual lithic clasts with fayalite + Ba-rich K- feldspar + silica + plagioclase; olivine and pyroxene in the breccia have a slightly wider compositional range towards lower Mg/(Mg+Fe) than in the cumulate portion of the rock.

Chemical composition (D. Mittlefehldt, JSC): KREEP-rich with strong negative Eu-anomaly. Noble gases (O. Eugster, Physikalisches Institut, Bern): high solar wind component, 4He/20Ne = 9, indicative of regolith material.

Specimens: type specimen, 15 g, NHM; main mass SWML.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 90

Northwest Africa 2700 (NWA 2700)

Morocco
Find: 2004
Mass: 31.7 g (1 piece)

Achondrite (lunar, olivine gabbro with regolith breccia)

History: A light green to dark complete stone of 31.7 g was purchased in Erfoud, Morocco, in November 2004.

Petrography and Geochemistry: (T. Bunch and J. Wittke, NAU) The specimen consists of olivine gabbro and regolith breccia lithologies. The cumulate olivine gabbro contains ~50 vol% olivine (Fa29.3-34.7; FeO/MnO = 94), pigeonite (Fs22-28.3Wo5.6-10; FeO/MnO = 52), augite (Fs13.2Wo38.5), plagioclase and minor maskelynite (An89), Ba-rich alkali feldspar (Or92An4; BaO = 8.9 wt%), Cr-spinel, ilmenite, phosphate, and troilite. The breccia lithology is dominated by small olivine gabbro fragments and also contains subvariolitic basalt clasts with zoned pyroxenes (Fs44Wo29 to Fs58Wo23; FeO/MnO = 57); plagioclase (An90); ilmenite, and Fe-rich, low-Ca pyroxene (Fs80.8Wo14); symplectites of fayalite (Fa91); hedenbergite (Fs60.3Wo32.7); silica; clear to yellow glass spherules; agglutinates, high silica fayalitic rocks (Fa95.6); ulvöspinel; K2O-rich glass (K2O = 8.8; SiO2 = 77 [both wt%]), and pure SiO2.

Classification: Achondrite (lunar, olivine gabbro with regolith breccia) where the olivine gabbro is moderately shocked and minimally weathered. Note: This sample may be paired with NWA 773.

Specimens: A 6.8 g type specimen and two thin sections are on deposit at NAU. An anonymous finder holds the main mass.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 90

Northwest Africa 2727 (NWA 2727)

Morocco or Algeria
Find: June/July 2005
Mass: 191.2 g (4 pieces)

Achondrite (Lunar mare basalt/gabbro breccia)

History: Four stones of 30.6 g, 11.6 g, 64 g and 85 g were purchased from Moroccan dealers in Erfoud for a consortium of North American collectors in June and July of 2005.

Petrography and Geochemistry: (T. Bunch and J. Wittke, NAU; A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS; R. Korotev, WUSL) All stones are very similar and consist of a clast-dominated polymict breccias composed of >80 vol% olivine-phyric basalt and gabbroic/diabasic clasts (0.2 cm to several cm across) within a finer breccia matrix. The basalt clasts show a wide range in mineral compositions, but all contain phenocrysts of olivine Fa 28-99 FeO/MnO = 98.9 and some also have phenocrysts of pyroxferroite or chromite all in a rapidly quenched, fine-grained matrix consisting of intergrown pigeonite, pyroxferroite, K-Ba-feldspar, ilmenite, merrillite, baddeleyite, troilite, silica and glass. The gabbroic clasts range in texture from coarser grained (>3 mm) hypidiomorphic gabbro to finer grained (~1 mm) diabasic clasts. Both types of gabbroic lithologies consist mainly of pigeonite Fs23.3-31.3Wo8.7-11.5, FeO/MnO = 60-69 and subhedral to anhedral olivine Fa34.1-41 FeO/MnO = 85-99 with less abundant augite Fs24.1-47.5 Wo24.4-32.1 and partly maskelynitized, blocky to tabular plagioclase An81-94. The breccia matrix consists mainly of gabbroic debris with fragments of basalt, silica polymorph, symplectites, subparallel intergrowths of anorthite + pyroxferroite+ilmenite and shock-melted material.

Bulk compositions: (R. Korotev, WUSL) INAA of 11 subsamples show that they vary considerably in bulk composition, with the most Fe-rich subsample nearly indistinguishable from NWA 3160 basalt. All other subsamples are compositionally equivalent to mixtures of NWA 3160 basalt and the regolith breccia lithology of NWA 773, but with slightly lower concentrations of incompatible elements. Note: Based on petrography, mineral compositions, and bulk compositions, these stones are paired with NWA 3160 and may be paired with NWA 773.

Classification: Achondrite (lunar, mare basalt/gabbro breccia).

Specimens: A 20.2 g type specimen and two polished thin sections are on deposit at NAU. A 0.5 g type specimen is on deposit at WUSL. Oakes, Reed, Boswell, and Turecki hold the main masses.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 90

Northwest Africa 2977 (NWA 2977)

Morocco or Algeria
Find: 2005 November
Mass: 233 g (1 piece)

Achondrite (lunar, gabbro)

History: A single minimally weathered fusion-encrusted stone of 233 g was purchased from a Moroccan dealer in Tagounite, Morocco, by M. Farmer in November 2005.

Petrography and Geochemistry: (J. Wittke and T. Bunch, NAU; A. Irving, UWS) The specimen consists of a single yellow-green, relatively coarse-grained rock traversed by thin, black glass-rich veins. It is an olivine-rich, twopyroxene cumulate gabbro composed of olivine (Fa31.7; FeO/MnO = 96; 52 vol%), (Fs26.6Wo6.7; 23 vol%), augite (Fs16.2Wo29; 9 vol%), and plagioclase (An56; 14 vol%) with minor amounts of Ba-K feldspar, chromite, ilmenite, and merrillite. Larger pigeonite grains commonly enclose equant olivine grains, which contain abundant melt inclusions (0.025–0.125 mm). Plagioclase is partially converted to maskelynite, and pyroxenes and olivine exhibit shock lamellae and undulatory extinction. Note: This specimen is identical in texture and mineral composition to the gabbro clasts in NWA 773 and NWA 2700 and thus appears to be paired with those breccia specimens.

Classification: Achondrite (lunar, gabbro); minimal weathering.

Specimens: A 20.1 g type specimen and one polished thin section are on deposit at NAU. A 0.5 g specimen is on deposit at WUSL. An anonymous owner holds the main mass.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 90

Northwest Africa 3160 (NWA 3160)

Morocco
Find: 2005 July
Mass: 34 g (3 pieces)

Achondrite (lunar mare basalt breccia)

History: In July 2005, A. and G. Hupé purchased three broken stones with a total weight of 34 g from a Moroccan dealer in Erfoud, Morocco.

Physical Characteristics: The largest stone (28 g) has a partial thin weathered fusion crust.

Petrography: (R. Zeigler and R. Korotev, WUSL; A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS) The large specimen consists almost entirely of a fine-grained, olivine-phyric basalt clast with minor attached breccia matrix and appears to be part of a larger, coarse-grained, polygenic breccia. The two small stones are pieces of the breccia. The basalt contains phenocrysts of euhedral to subhedral olivine (~0.1–0.9 mm) and minor chromite (<0.1 mm).

Geochemistry: Olivine phenocrysts are zoned, with cores typically Fo55-70 and rims extending to ~Fo40; FeO/MnO ratios are 91-105. The groundmass has spinifex olivine Fo29 and skeletal pyroxene En37-39Wo11-13 FeO/MnO = 71-75 set in a fine-grained matrix of pyroxene En35-39Wo20-23, olivine ~Fo22 and glass. The breccia lithology is a fragmental breccia consisting primarily of olivine Fo6-82 and pyroxene En1-68Wo9-39Fs16-83, with minor amounts of plagioclase An82-97 and trace silica; hedenbergite-fayalite-silica symplectite (after former pyroxferroite), and Fe-Ti-Cr oxides.

Classification: Achondrite (lunar, mare basalt breccia). Note: These samples may be paired with NWA 2727.

Specimens: A 4.8 g type specimen and one polished thin section are on deposit at UWS. A 2.1 g specimen is on deposit at WUSL. A. Hupé holds the main mass.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 101

Northwest Africa 3170 (NWA 3170)

(Northwest Africa)
Purchased: 2007 April
Mass: 60 g (1 piece)

Lunar meteorite (gabbro)

History: Purchased from a Moroccan dealer in 2007 by Stefan Ralew.

Physical characteristics: A single 60 g stone consisting of large clasts of yellowish-green gabbro (containing fine, black shock veinlets) in a darker fragmental matrix.

Petrography: (A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS) Monomict breccia consisting of ferroan gabbro clasts and related debris. Predominantly composed of olivine, clinopyroxenes and anorthite with accessory fayalite, silica, ilmenite and minor K-Ba-feldspar. Symplectitic intergrowths of hedenbergite + fayalite + silica are present. No orthopyroxene found.

Geochemistry: Olivine (Fa29.6-39.9, FeO/MnO = 82-116), pigeonite (Fs42.3Wo11.9, FeO/MnO = 79), subcalcic augite (Fs28.7Wo26.2, FeO/MnO = 57), subcalcic ferroaugite (Fs64.4-78.8Wo26.3-26.2, FeO/MnO = 78-93). Bulk composition (R. Korotev, WUSL): mean values from INAA of subsamples are 20.7 wt.% FeO, 40 ppm Sc, 56 ppm Co, 110 ppm Ni, 24.3 ppm La, 11.2 ppm Sm, 0.76 ppm Eu, 8.1 ppm Yb, 4.3 ppm Th.

Classification: Lunar (mare gabbro breccia). This stone is very similar in mineralogy and bulk composition to NWA 7007, and both specimens are likely paired with NWA 773.

Specimens: 12.1 g is on deposit at UWS. The remaining material is held by Ralew.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 94

Northwest Africa 3333 (NWA 3333)

Morocco
Purchased: 2005 May
Mass: 33 g (1 piece)

Achondrite (lunar basaltic fragmental breccia)

History: Fabien Kuntz purchased a 33 g specimen from a Moroccan dealer. The original main mass was broken into at least 5 pieces and distributed to several dealers.

Physical characteristics: A partially weathered blackish brown fusion crust was present on the specimen. Cut and polished surfaces on two different specimens reveal a coarsely brecciated texture, while a third specimen exhibits three different lithologies.

Petrography: (R. Zeigler, WUSL) The specimen examined consists of one basalt clast (1.5 cm) and one clast of cumulus olivine gabbro (1.2 cm) set in a fragmental breccia matrix. The basalt consists of large phenocrysts of zoned olivine and smaller chromite phenocrysts set in a fine-grained matrix of spinifex olivine, skeletal pyroxene, and glass. The olivine gabbro is 50% olivine, 35% pyroxene, and 15% plagioclase. A vein of black shock melt separates the cumulate clast from the fragmental breccia. The breccia is composed predominantly of pyroxene and olivine clasts, with minor plagioclase, and trace silica, Fe,Ti,Cr oxides, troilite, chromite, ilmenite, FeNi, apatite, and RE-merrillite.

Mineral compositions and geochemistry: Matrix pyroxene and olivine is Fs17-65Wo12-29En8–61 and Fo5-60; plagioclase clasts are An86-95Or<2. Olivine in the basalt is zoned (Fo47-72). Mineral compositions in the olivine cumulate are Fo68, Fs63Wo15 and Fs52Wo32, and An92Or1. Fe/Mn = 85–110 (olivine) and 40–77 (pyroxene).

Bulk composition: (R. Zeigler and R. Korotev, WUSL) The basalt (TiO2 = 0.8%, FeO = 21%, MgO= 14%, Th = 1.4 µg/g) is compositionally similar to that of NWA 3160; the cumulate olivine gabbro (TiO2 = 0.4%, FeO = 20%, MgO = 27%, Th = 1.2 µg/g) is similar to NWA 773 and NWA 2977. All lithologies are characterized by low concentrations of Na2O (= 0.15 ± 0.06 %) and Eu (= 0.4 ± 0.2 ppm) compared to other lunar basalts. The oxygen isotope composition (I. A. Franchi, OU) is consistent with lunar origin (δ17O=2.94, δ18O=5.59, Δ17O = 0.032).

Classification: Achondrite (lunar basaltic fragmental breccia). The specimen is another stone of the NWA 773/2700/2727/2977/3160 pair group.

Type specimens: A mass of 6.55 g is on deposit at DuPont and 0.4 g (neutron irradiated) and one thin section at WUSL.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 100

Northwest Africa 6950 (NWA 6950)

Mali or Algeria
Purchased: 2011 August
Mass: 771 g (1 piece)

Lunar meteorite (gabbro)

History: Reported to be found near the border between Mali and Algeria in June 2011, and purchased from the finder by Adam Aaronson in August 2011.

Physical characteristics: A single yellowish-green stone (771 g) with partial fusion crust. Thin black shock veins are visible in the interior.

Petrography: (A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS) Relatively coarse grained with a cumulate igneous texture. Aggregate dominated by olivine, low-Ca pyroxene, pigeonite, and subcalcic augite, with interstitial very calcic plagioclase. Accessory minerals are ilmenite, Ti-chromite, armalcolite, troilite, baddeleyite, taenite and merrillite with rare zirconolite and K-feldspar.

Geochemistry: Olivine (Fa31.9-32.7, Fe/Mn=85-97), low-Ca pyroxene (Fs27.1-28.1Wo4.8-4.5, Fe/Mn=47-55), pigeonite (Fs25.6±0.0 Wo9.2-11.1, Fe/Mn=47-52), subcalcic augite (Fs13.9Wo36.9, Fe/Mn=41), plagioclase (An87.9-93.0Or1.1-0.9).

Classification: Achondrite (lunar, gabbro). This specimen is texturally and mineralogically identical to NWA 2977 and the olivine gabbro clasts in NWA 773, NWA 2700, NWA 2727 and NWA 3333, and evidently is paired with those stones.

Specimens: A total of 20.1 g of sample and one polished thin section are on deposit at UWS. The main mass is held by Aaronson.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 100

Northwest Africa 7007 (NWA 7007)

Western Sahara
Purchased: 2011 October
Mass: 91 g (1 piece)

Lunar meteorite (gabbro)

History: Found near Smara, southern Morocco in September 2011, and purchased from a dealer in Zagora, Morocco by Greg Hupé in October 2011.

Physical characteristics: A single dense, rounded stone (91 g) partially coated with black fusion crust. Dark angular mineral clasts plus sparse white clasts are visible within a finer grained dark matrix. One small polymineralic gabbroic clast is exposed on the surface, and others are revealed in interior slices.

Petrography: (A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS) Crystal-rich regolithic breccia consisting of some larger polymineralic clasts (gabbro and ophitic basalt) and apparently related crystal debris in a sparse glassy, microvesicular matrix. Major components are anorthite, complexly-zoned subcalcic augite, ferropigeonite, and relatively large fragments composed of intergrowths of fayalite+hedenbergite+silica (typical of subsolidus inversion assemblages from primary pyroxferroite). Accessory phases include olivine, ilmenite, fayalite, hedenbergite, silica polymorph, troilite, Ni-free metal and baddeleyite (to 10 µm across within fayalitic rims on pyroxene). Matrix glass contains abundant small, round vesicles (typical of those representing trapped solar wind gases in other lunar regolith breccias).

Geochemistry: Zoned subcalcic augite [(core Fs22.5Wo31.2, Fe/Mn=46), mantles (Fs34.2-50.0Wo29.6-25.9, Fe/Mn=55-65), ferropigeonite rims (Fs66.1Wo19.7, Fe/Mn=66)], olivine (Fa42.0-44.4, Fe/Mn=86-93), fayalite (Fa98.4, Fe/Mn=78-84), plagioclase (An91.4.5-93.2Or0.5-0.3).

Classification: Achondrite (lunar, gabbro breccia). Terrestrial weathering is minimal.

Specimens: A total of 18.2 g of sample and one polished thick section are on deposit at UWS. The main mass is held by an anonymous collector.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 103

Northwest Africa 8127 (NWA 8127)

(Northwest Africa)
Purchased: 2012 March
Mass: 529 g (1 piece)

Classification: Lunar meteorite (gabbro)

History: Purchased by Marc Jost in March 2012 in Brugg, Switzerland from a Moroccan dealer.

Physical characteristics: Fresh, pale green stone (529 g) with cross-cutting thin, black shock veins. Apple green clinopyroxene and glassy maskelynite grains are visible.

Petrography: (A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS) Equigranular igneous rock (mean grain size 0.8 mm) consisting of smaller grains of olivine, Ti-bearing chromite and ilmenite (with associated baddeleyite) poikilitically enclosed in clinopyroxene (some containing fine, subparallel exsolution lamellae), with interstitial anorthitic plagioclase. Most plagioclase has been converted to maskelynite, but some grains have patchy birefringence.

Geochemistry: Olivine (Fa30.0-32.1, FeO/MnO = 90-91), pigeonite (Fs21.4-25.1Wo10.6-9.8, FeO/MnO = 46-54), subcalcic augite (Fs14.5-15.4Wo32.6-30.5, FeO/MnO = 39-42).

Bulk composition: (R. Korotev, WUSL) INAA of subsamples gave (in wt.%) FeO 18.2, Na2O 0.11, and (in ppm) Sc 29.2, La 4.7, Sm 2.59, Eu 0.21, Yb 2.24, Th 0.56.

Classification: Lunar (olivine gabbro). This specimen is paired with NWA 6950 and the gabbroic lithology in NWA 773 and paired stones.

Specimens: 23.7 g, one polished thin section and a polished mount are at UWB. The main mass is held by Space Jewels Switzerland.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 105

Northwest Africa 10656 (NWA 10656)

(Northwest Africa)
Purchased: 2016 January
Mass: 262.5 g (1 piece)

Classification: Lunar (diabase)

History: Purchased by Darryl Pitt in January 2016 from a Mauritanian dealer.

Physical characteristics: A single stone (262.5 g) lacking fusion crust. The fresh interior is relatively coarse grained and is dominated by brown, pale green and white grains.

Petrography: (A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS) Intersertal texture (mean grainsize ~1.5 mm). Composed of simply-twinned clinopyroxene (both pigeonite and subcalcic augite), olivine (with secondary brown staining along fractures), laths of calcic plagioclase (birefringent but with undulose extinction) and accessory ilmenite, chromite, baddeleyite and zirconolite.

Geochemistry: Olivine (Fa33.8-34.0, FeO/MnO = 92; Fa45.9, FeO/MnO = 87; N = 3), pigeonite (Fs25.3Wo9.7; Fs33.6Wo11.9; FeO/MnO = 48-51, N = 2), subcalcic augite (Fs15.8-17.5Wo36.3-34.2, FeO/MnO = 38-41, N = 3), plagioclase (An88.3-91.6Or4.1-3.4, N = 2).

Bulk composition: (R. Korotev, WUSL) INAA of whole rock powder gave (in wt.%) FeO 19.7, Na2O 0.18; (in ppm) Sc 34.3, Cr 3190, La 12.4, Sm 5.9, Eu 0.43, Yb 4.0, Lu 0.59, Hf 4.3, Th 1.9.

Classification: Lunar (olivine diabase). This specimen has affinities with NWA 2977, NWA 6950 and NWA 8127 based on mineralogical and bulk compositional similarities, but differs in texture from those meteorites.

Specimens: 22 g including one polished thin section at UWB; remainder with DPitt.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 105

Northwest Africa 10985 (NWA 10985)

(Northwest Africa)
Purchased: 2015
Mass: 250 g (1 piece)

Classification: Lunar meteorite (gabbro)

History: Purchased by Jay Piatek in Morocco, 2015.

Physical characteristics: Single stone, weathered exterior without fusion crust. A polished saw cut surface reveals two distinct lithologies separated by a sharp boundary offset, with numerous truncated grains. One lithology is a light colored, medium-grained gabbro with elongate subhedral prismatic yellow-green pyroxenes and white subhedral plagioclase laths. The second lithology is a dark colored, fine-grained breccia with yellow-green pyroxene fragments scattered throughout. Fine shock melt veins visible.

Petrography: (C. Agee, UNM) Microprobe examination of a polished mount shows igneous-zoned pigeonite and augite, plagioclase, olivine, fayalite, hedenbergite, pyroxferroite, Fe-sulfide, ilmenite, chromite, Ti-magnetite, apatite, silica, and symplectites.

Geochemistry: C. Agee and S. Spilde, UNM) Olivine Fa38.1±21.2, Fe/Mn=95±8, n=31; pigeonite Fs45.9±12.2Wo17.8±5.5, Fe/Mn=63±10, n=29; augite Fs41.2±16.9Wo30.8±3.9, Fe/Mn=63±11, n=18; pyroxferroite Fs84.2±1.4Wo14.8±1.4, Fe/Mn=63±2, n=3; plagioclase An89.5±3.4Ab9.8±3.1Or0.7±0.6, n=27; shock melt (proxy for bulk composition) SiO2=48.0±2.6, TiO2=1.2±0.7, Al2O3=11.3±6.0, Cr2O3=0.4±0.2, MgO=11.6±4.3, FeO=16.5±2.7, MnO=0.24±0.05, CaO=10.9±3.0, Na2O=0.28±0.17, K2O=0.17±0.11 (all wt%), n=10.

Classification: Lunar gabbro

Specimens: 20.2 g including a probe mount on deposit at UNM, Jay Piatek holds the main mass.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 107

Northwest Africa 11616 (NWA 11616)

(Northwest Africa)
Purchased: 2017 March
Mass: 2550.8 g (1 piece)

Classification: Lunar meteorite (gabbro)

History: Purchased by DPitt in March 2017 from a Mauritanian dealer.

Physical characteristics: A single very fresh specimen (2550.8 g) containing separate olivine gabbro and olivine-free basaltic clasts in a fragmental matrix.

Petrography: (A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS; S. Valencia and P. Carpenter, WUSL) Polymict breccia with two different clast types. Olivine gabbro clasts (mean grainsize 1.1 mm) consist of equant grains of olivine, zoned clinopyroxene (pigeonite, ferroan pigeonite, subcalcic augite) and maskelynite with accessory chromite, ilmenite, troilite, fayalite, taenite and baddeleyite. A basalt clast has porphyritic texture and is composed mainly of larger prismatic grains (up to 2.5 mm long) of zoned clinopyroxene and smaller lath-like grains of maskelynite with accessory ilmenite, chromite, troilite, silica polymorph, rare baddeleyite, rare K-feldspar and rare Ni-poor kamacite. The remainder of the breccia consists of related crystalline debris.

Geochemistry: Olivine gabbro clasts: olivine (Fa34.6-59.8, FeO/MnO = 83-108, N = 9), pigeonite (Fs26.4-39.4Wo9.7-11.7, FeO/MnO = 51-70, N = 6), ferroan pigeonite (Fs43.4-71.4Wo15.4-25.0, FeO/MnO = 57-94, N =3), subcalcic augite (Fs17.6-28.4Wo27.2-35.6, FeO/MnO = 51-59, N = 5), maskelynite (An85.2-95.6Or2.2-0.1, N = 10). Basalt clast: pigeonite (Fs26.2-26.3Wo6.4-6.5; Fs29.1Wo11.7; Fs49.8Wo19.1; FeO/MnO = 55-73; N = 4), augite (Fs21.9-25.6Wo34.7-35.2, FeO/MnO = 49-50, N = 2), ferropigeonite rims (Fs78.0-78.2Wo18.9-20.3, FeO/MnO = 83-86, N = 2), maskelynite (An84.4-86.2Or3.6-2.0, N = 2).

Bulk composition: (R. Korotev, WUSL) INAA of breccia subsamples gave (in wt.%) FeO 19.1, Na2O 0.25 (in ppm) Sc 42.0, Cr 3230, La 13.6, Nd 22.9, Sm 6.73, Eu 0.578, Tb 1.37, Yb 1.37, Lu 0.66, Hf 5.1, Th 2.0.

Classification: Lunar meteorite (polymict breccia with olivine gabbro and basalt clasts). The olivine gabbro lithology is paired with other magnesian gabbro material present in breccia stones such as NWA 773NWA 2727 and NWA 3333 and also as discrete meteorites such as NWA 2977NWA 6950 and NWA 8127. The olivine-free basalt lithology differs from the olivine-phyric basalt lithology represented by NWA 3160, and is a new member of the complex NWA 773 clan of lunar meteorites.

Specimens: 20.9 g including a polished thin section and polished endcut at UWB; remainder with DPitt.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 107

Northwest Africa 11703 (NWA 11703)

(Northwest Africa)
Purchased: 2015 April
Mass: 5309.1 g (1 piece)

Classification: Lunar meteorite (gabbro)

History: Purchased by Darryl Pitt in April 2015 from a dealer in Erfoud, Morocco.

Physical characteristics: A single pale greenish stone (5309.1 g) with thin cross-cutting shock veinlets.

Petrography: (A. Irving and S. Kuehner, UWS) Medium grained (grainsize up to 1.4 mm) with cumulate texture. Major minerals are olivine, pigeonite, subcalcic augite and calcic plagioclase (predominantly converted to maskelynite with minor birefringent domains); accessory phases include ilmenite, taenite, troilite, Mg-merrillite and baddeleyite. Shock veinlets contain dark glass.

Geochemistry: Olivine (Fa32.1-32.4, FeO/MnO = 91-97, N = 3), pigeonite (Fs26.0Wo9.7; Fs27.7Wo5.7; FeO/MnO = 47-60; N = 2), subcalcic augite (Fs16.4-17.5Wo34.9-32.3, FeO/MnO = 46-52, N = 2), plagioclase (An89.7-91.2Or0.8-1.1, N = 2).

Classification: Lunar (gabbro). This specimen is texturally and mineralogically identical to NWA 2977, NWA 6950, NWA 8127, and to the olivine gabbro clasts in NWA 773, NWA 2700, NWA 2727 and NWA 3333, and evidently is paired with those lithologies.

Specimens: 20.1 g including one polished thin section at UWB; remainder held by DPitt.

from The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 107

Northwest Africa 11767 (NWA 11767)

(Northwest Africa)
Purchased: 2012
Mass: 15 g (many pieces)

Classification: Lunar meteorite

History: The meteorite was purchased from a local meteorite dealer in Erfoud, Morocco.

Physical characteristics: Many small light greenish fragments lacking any fusion crust.

Petrography: (A. Greshake, MNB) Monomict olivine-rich gabbroic breccia predominantly composed of up to 4 mm sized Fe-rich olivine, pigeonite, augite and calcic plagioclase. Minor phases include chromite, troilite and K-feldspar. The meteorite contains abundant shock melt veins along which some olivine has been transformed into ringwoodite.

Geochemistry: olivine: Fa31.6±0.2 (Fa31.3-32.0, n=13, FeO/MnO=85-105); pigeonite: Fs25.6±1.1Wo10.7±2.8 (Fs23.3-27.7Wo5.9-16.4, n=12, FeO/MnO=46-63); augite: Fs16.1±1.0Wo35.7±2.1 (Fs14.8-17.8Wo32.1-39.0, n=12, FeO/MnO=41-52); calcic plagioclase: An93.1±0.8 (An91.1-93.9, n=10).

Classification: Lunar Olivine-Gabbros. The meteorite might be paired with NWA 773 and paired stones.

Randy Says…

This is one of the most unusual of lunar meteorites.  It’s unlike any rock in the Apollo collection. It contains at least 5 different igneous lithologies. The total mass of these stones is 11.87 kg. I have not analyzed NWA 11767 but assume it to be part of the pair group on the basis of the description.

Modal Mineralogy of Northwest Africa 773 Olivine Gabbro
(values in percent)
mineral Met. Bull. Fagan
et al.
Jolliff
et al.
Bridges
et al.
olivine 55 55.5 48 66
augite 5 8.7 12 26
pigeonite 24 18.9 28  
hypersthene     2  
plagioclase 15 14.2 10 8
alkali feldspar minor 1.6 trace  
ilmenite, chromite, alkali feldspar, phosphates, troilite, FeNi metal <1 <1.5 <1 <1
The cumulate is coarse grained and the thin sections are small, so the modal mineral proportions obtained from different sections do not agree well.  Because augite and pigeonite, both clinopyroxenes, dominate over orthopyroxene, which is at most “minor” (Korotev et al., 2002), the rock is a gabbro, not a norite.  Specifically, it is an olivine gabbro because olivine exceeds 10%. If plagioclase is actually <10%, then it’s a peridotite.

More Information

Meteoritical Bulletin Database

Anoual | NWA 77327002727297731603170333369507007812710656109851161611703 |11767

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Wakabayashi Y., Fagan T. J., Hayakawa S., Sasamoto A. (2011) Evolution of trapped vs. main liquids during crystallization of Northwest Africa 773 olivine cumulate. Thirty-Fourth Symposium on Antarctic Meteorites, 85-86.

Wang Y., Guan Y., Hsu W., and Eiler J. M. (2012) Water content, chlorine and hydrogen isotope compositions of lunar apatite75th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, abstract no. 5170.

Webb S., Neal C. R., Gawronska A., and Day J. M. D. (2019) Crystal size distribution patterns for lunar meteorites Northwest Africa 12008, 4898, 8632, 3136 and three LaPaz Icefield lunar meteorites50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 2686.

Yokoi N., Takenouchi A., and Mikouchi T. (2018) Iron valence states of plagioclase in some lunar meteorites. 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 2227.

Zeigler R. A., Korotev R. L., Irving A. J., Jolliff B. L., Kuehner S. M., and Hupé A. C. (2006) Petrography and composition of lunar basaltic meteorite NWA 3160Lunar and Planetary Science XXVII, abstract no. 1804.

Zeigler R. A., Korotev R. L., Jolliff B. L., Bunch T. E., and Irving A. J. (2006) Pairing relationships among Northwest African basaltic lunar meteorites based on compositional and petrographic characteristics. Antarctic Meteorites XXX, 125-126.

Zeigler R. A., Korotev R. L., Jolliff B. L., Bunch T. E., and Irving A. J. (2006) Pairing and petrogenetic relationships among basaltic lunar meteorites from northwest Africa69th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, abstract no. 5235.

Zeigler R. A., Korotev R. L., and Jolliff B. L. (2007) Petrography, geochemistry, and pairing relationships of basaltic lunar meteorite stones NWA 773, NWA 2700, NWA 2727, NWA 2977, and NWA 3160Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVIII, abstract no. 2109.

Zhang A. and Hsu W. (2008) Mineralogical and Raman spectroscopic studies of Northwestern Africa 2977 lunar meteorite. 71st Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, abstract no. 5122.

Zhang A. C., Taylor L. A., Hsu W. B., Floss C., Li X. H., and Liu Y. (2010) Petrogenesis of lunar meteorite Northwestern Africa 2977: Rare earth element geochemistry and baddeleyite Pb/Pb dating41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1052.

Zhang A.-C., Hsu W.-B., Floss C., Li X.-H., Qiu-Li Li, Liu Y. and Taylor L. A. (2010) Petrogenesis of lunar meteorite Northwest Africa 2977: Constraints from in situ microprobe resultsMeteoritics and Planetary Science 45, 1929-1947.

Lunar Meteorites | List of Lunar meteorites