Pb-isotopic evidence for an early, enriched crust on Mars
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Martian meteorite NWA 7533 is a regolith breccia that compositionally resembles the Martian surface measured by orbiters and landers. NWA 7533 contains monzonitic clasts that have zircon with U–Pb ages of 4.428 Ga. The Pb isotopic compositions of plagioclase and alkali feldspars, as well as U–Pb isotopic compositions of chlorapatite in the monzonitic clasts of NWA 7533 have been measured by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). The U–Pb isotopic compositions measured from the chlorapatite in NWA 7533 yield an age of 1.357 ±81Ga (2σ). The least radiogenic Pb isotopic compositions measured in plagioclase and K-feldspar lie within error of the 4.428 Ga Geochron. These data indicate that the monzonitic clasts in NWA 7533 are a product of a differentiation history that includes residence in a reservoir that formed prior to 4.428 Ga with a µ-value (238U/204Pb) of at least 13.4 ±1.7 (2σ) and a k-value (232Th/238U) of ~4.3. This µ-value is more than three times higher than any other documented Martian reservoir. These results indicate either the Martian mantle is significantly more heterogeneous than previously thought (µ-value of 1–14 vs. 1–5) and/or the monzonitic clasts formed by the melting of Martian crust with a µ-value of at least 13.4. Therefore, NWA 7533 may contain the first isotopic evidence for an enriched, differentiated crust on Mars.
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