(or CV7; Primitive achondriteAchondrite with an almost chondritic composition with age similar to the primordial chondrites. These should be better classified as "metachondrites". in MetBull 89)
Purchased March 2004
no coordinates recorded Several stones weighing together ~4.2 kg were found in the Sahara Desert and later sold to a collector in Zagora, Morocco in March 2004. This meteoriteWork in progress. A solid natural object reaching a planet’s surface from interplanetary space. Solid portion of a meteoroid that survives its fall to Earth, or some other body. Meteorites are classified as stony meteorites, iron meteorites, and stony-iron meteorites. These groups are further divided according to their mineralogy and Click on Term to Read More was analyzed at Northern Arizona University (T. Bunch and J. Wittke) and the University of Washington in Seattle (A. Irving and S. Kuehner), and it was initially determined to be a highly recrystallized (~120° triple junctions), highly equilibrated (W sequestration into metalElement that readily forms cations and has metallic bonds; sometimes said to be similar to a cation in a cloud of electrons. The metals are one of the three groups of elements as distinguished by their ionization and bonding properties, along with the metalloids and nonmetals. A diagonal line drawn Click on Term to Read More) L7 chondriteChondrites are the most common meteorites accounting for ~84% of falls. Chondrites are comprised mostly of Fe- and Mg-bearing silicate minerals (found in both chondrules and fine grained matrix), reduced Fe/Ni metal (found in various states like large blebs, small grains and/or even chondrule rims), and various refractory inclusions (such Click on Term to Read More with no relict chondrulesRoughly spherical aggregate of coarse crystals formed from the rapid cooling and solidification of a melt at ~1400 ° C. Large numbers of chondrules are found in all chondrites except for the CI group of carbonaceous chondrites. Chondrules are typically 0.5-2 mm in diameter and are usually composed of olivine Click on Term to Read More apparent. Notwithstanding this L7 classification, a subsequent oxygenElement that makes up 20.95 vol. % of the Earth's atmosphere at ground level, 89 wt. % of seawater and 46.6 wt. % (94 vol. %) of Earth's crust. It appears to be the third most abundant element in the universe (after H and He), but has an abundance only Click on Term to Read More isotopeOne of two or more atoms with the same atomic number (Z), but different mass (A). For example, hydrogen has three isotopes: 1H, 2H (deuterium), and 3H (tritium). Different isotopes of a given element have different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus. Click on Term to Read More study was conducted at the University of Western Ontario (T. Larson) which showed that NWA 3133 plots on the Carbonaceous ChondriteCarbonaceous chondrites represent the most primitive rock samples of our solar system. This rare (less than 5% of all meteorite falls) class of meteorites are a time capsule from the earliest days in the formation of our solar system. They are divided into the following compositional groups that, other than Click on Term to Read More Anhydrous MineralInorganic substance that is (1) naturally occurring (but does not have a biologic or man-made origin) and formed by physical (not biological) forces with a (2) defined chemical composition of limited variation, has a (3) distinctive set of of physical properties including being a solid, and has a (4) homogeneous Click on Term to Read More (CCAM) line clearly within the field of CV chondritesMeteorite class named after the Vigarano meteorite that fell in Italy in 1910. They have abundant large, well-defined rimless (?) chondrules of magnesium-rich olivine (~0.7 mm diameter; 40-65 vol. %), often surrounded by iron sulfide. They also contain 7-20 vol. % CAIs. The often dark-gray matrix is dominated by Fe-rich Click on Term to Read More (see the O-isotope plot and diagram below).
click on image for a magnified view
Diagram credit: Irving et al.
, 79th MetSoc, #6461
(2016) Northwest Africa 3133 and the probable paired stones NWA 2643 (26 g) and NWA 2825 (664 g) have FeO/MnO ratios in olivineGroup of silicate minerals, (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, with the compositional endpoints of forsterite (Mg2SiO4) and fayalite (Fe2SiO4). Olivine is commonly found in all chondrites within both the matrix and chondrules, achondrites including most primitive achondrites and some evolved achondrites, in pallasites as large yellow-green crystals (brown when terrestrialized), in the silicate portion Click on Term to Read More
and pyroxeneA class of silicate (SiO3) minerals that form a solid solution between iron and magnesium and can contain up to 50% calcium. Pyroxenes are important rock forming minerals and critical to understanding igneous processes. For more detailed information, please read the Pyroxene Group article found in the Meteoritics & Classification Click on Term to Read More
which are higher than those in known ordinary chondritesChondrites are the most common meteorites accounting for ~84% of falls. Chondrites are comprised mostly of Fe- and Mg-bearing silicate minerals (found in both chondrules and fine grained matrix), reduced Fe/Ni metal (found in various states like large blebs, small grains and/or even chondrule rims), and various refractory inclusions (such Click on Term to Read More
, as well as other elemental ratios more consistent with a carbonaceous chondrite composition (Schoenbeck et al.
, 2006). These factors led to a tentative revised classification for this meteorite by NAU investigators to that of ungroupedModifying term used to describe meteorites that are mineralogically and/or chemically unique and defy classification into the group or sub-group they most closely resemble. Some examples include Ungrouped Achondrite (achondrite-ung), Ungrouped Chondrite (chondrite-ung), Ungrouped Iron (iron-ung), and Ungrouped Carbonaceous (C-ung). Click on Term to Read More
primitive achondriteAn achondrite is a type of stony meteorite whose precursor was of chondritic origin and experienced metamorphic and igneous processes. They have a planetary or differentiated asteroidal origin where the chondritic parent body reached a sufficient size that through heating due to radioactive decay of 26Al (aluminum isotope) and gravitational Click on Term to Read More
. A trace elementSubstance composed of atoms, each of which has the same atomic number (Z) and chemical properties. The chemical properties of an element are determined by the arrangement of the electrons in the various shells (specified by their quantum number) that surround the nucleus. In a neutral atom, the number of Click on Term to Read More
analysis was subsequently conducted by Noronha and Friedrich (2014), and they concluded that NWA 3133 should be classified as a completely recrystallized member of the CV-clan (CV or CK) of carbonaceous chondrites.
A change in the nomenclature used to describe such texturally evolved chondrites as NWA 3133 was suggested by Irving et al.
(2005). The term ‘metachondrite’ was proposed to describe those chondrule-free stony meteorites which are texturally-evolved chondrites and that exhibit completely recrystallized textures resulting from high degrees of metamorphism or partial meltingAn igneous process whereby rocks melt and the resulting magma is comprised of the remaining partially melted rock (sometimes called restite) and a liquid whose composition differs from the original rock. Partial melting occurs because nearly all rocks are made up of different minerals, each of which has a different melting Click on Term to Read More
, and that have elemental ratios and O-isotopic compositions demonstrating affinities to existing ordinary and carbonaceous chondrite groups (e.g.
, CV, CO, CR, H, L, and LL).
Constituents of NWA 3133 are primarily olivine (46 vol%) and orthopyroxeneOrthorhombic, low-Ca pyroxene common in chondrites. Its compositional range runs from all Mg-rich enstatite, MgSiO3 to Fe-rich ferrosilite, FeSiO3. These end-members form an almost complete solid solution where Mg2+ substitutes for Fe2+ up to about 90 mol. % and Ca substitutes no more than ~5 mol. % (higher Ca2+ contents occur Click on Term to Read More
(28 vol%), with lesser abundances of plagioclaseAlso referred to as the plagioclase feldspar series. Plagioclase is a common rock-forming series of feldspar minerals containing a continuous solid solution of calcium and sodium: (Na1-x,Cax)(Alx+1,Si1-x)Si2O8 where x = 0 to 1. The Ca-rich end-member is called anorthite (pure anorthite has formula: CaAl2Si2O8) and the Na-rich end-member is albite Click on Term to Read More
, Cr-diopside, Al–Ti-bearing chromiteBrownish-black oxide of chromium and iron (Cr-Fe oxide), Cr2FeO4, found in many meteorite groups. Click on Term to Read More
, Na–Mg-bearing merrillite, troiliteBrass colored non-magnetic Fe sulfide, FeS, found in a variety of meteorites.
, and FeNi-metal. This meteorite exhibits shock features commensurate with stage S2. It has experienced significant weathering during its terrestrial residence, evidenced by limonite and calcite observed along grain boundaries, which corresponds to grade W3. Terrestrial alteration was also observed in a trace element study conducted by Noronha and Friedrich (2014), especially in the elevated Sr, Ba, U, and Sb abundances and the lower than usual Nb abundances.
The NWA 3133 meteorite has an elevated 54
Cr content which supports the inference of an initially large precursor carbonaceous chondrite parent bodyThe body from which a meteorite or meteoroid was derived prior to its ejection. Some parent bodies were destroyed early in the formation of our Solar System, while others like the asteroid 4-Vesta and Mars are still observable today. Click on Term to Read More
of undefined type, considered to have experienced differentiationA process by which a generally homogeneous chondritic body containing mostly metal, silicates and sulfides will melt and form distinct (differentiated) layers of different densities. When the melting process continues for a long enough period of time, the once chondritic body will re-partition into layers of different composition including Click on Term to Read More
resulting in a body consisting of a metallic coreIn the context of planetary formation, the core is the central region of a large differentiated asteroid, planet or moon and made up of denser materials than the surrounding mantle and crust. For example, the cores of the Earth, the terrestrial planets and differentiated asteroids are rich in metallic iron-nickel. Click on Term to Read More
, mantleMain silicate-rich zone within a planet between the crust and metallic core. The mantle accounts for 82% of Earth's volume and is composed of silicate minerals rich in Mg. The temperature of the mantle can be as high as 3,700 °C. Heat generated in the core causes convection currents in Click on Term to Read More
, and chondritic crustOutermost layer of a differentiated planet, asteroid or moon, usually consisting of silicate rock and extending no more than 10s of km from the surface. The term is also applied to icy bodies, in which case it is composed of ices, frozen gases, and accumulated meteoritic material. On Earth, the Click on Term to Read More
. In their continued analyses of this meteorite, Sanborn et al.
(2015) demonstrated that NWA 3133 plots with the CV chondrites, overlapping the CV chondrite Allende, on a Δ17
Cr coupled diagram. Chromium vs. Oxygen Isotope Plot
click on diagram for a magnified view
Diagram credit: Sanborn et al.
, 49th LPSC, #1780
(2018) Utilizing the Mn–Cr age chronometer anchored to the angriteType of evolved achondrite meteorite that represent some of the earliest stages of asteroidal differentiation and magmatism in our solar system. Angrites are named for the Angra dos Reis meteorite, which fell in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in early 1869. They are basaltic (mafic) rocks, often containing porous areas, and Click on Term to Read More
NWA 4801, an absolute crystallizationPhysical or chemical process or action that results in the formation of regularly-shaped, -sized, and -patterned solid forms known as crystals. Click on Term to Read More
age of 4.5615 (±0.0004) b.y. has been calculated (Shukolyukov et al.
, 2011). In a similar case, the Pb–Pb age anchored to the angriteType of evolved achondrite meteorite that represent some of the earliest stages of asteroidal differentiation and magmatism in our solar system. Angrites are named for the Angra dos Reis meteorite, which fell in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in early 1869. They are basaltic (mafic) rocks, often containing porous areas, and Click on Term to Read More
NWA 4801 gives an absolute age of 4.5580 (±0.00013) b.y. NWA 3133 experienced an early thermal history beginning ~6 m.y. after CAISub-millimeter to centimeter-sized amorphous objects found typically in carbonaceous chondrites and ranging in color from white to greyish white and even light pink. CAIs have occasionally been found in ordinary chondrites, such as the L3.00 chondrite, NWA 8276 (Sara Russell, 2016). CAIs are also known as refractory inclusions since they Click on Term to Read More
Prior to its catastrophic disruption, this planetesimal possibly comprised multiple lithological zones including a metallic core (iron), a core–mantle boundary (pallasiteOne of two main classes of stony-iron meteorite, the other being mesosiderites. Pallasites are igneous in nature and characterized by crystals of olivine, sometimes peridot (green gem quality clear olivine crystals), embedded in a matrix of Fe-Ni metal. The type specimen, weighing 680 kg, was found in the mountains near Click on Term to Read More
), an upper mantle impact-melted zone composed of metal+silicateThe most abundant group of minerals in Earth's crust, the structure of silicates are dominated by the silica tetrahedron, SiO44-, with metal ions occurring between tetrahedra). The mesodesmic bonds of the silicon tetrahedron allow extensive polymerization and silicates are classified according to the amount of linking that occurs between the
assemblages (silicated iron), a high-temperature zone (dunite), an intensely thermally metamorphosed stratigraphy (metachondriteTerm used to describe a metamorphosed chondrite. Also referred to as a type 7 chondrite. Metachondrites are texturally evolved rocks derived from chondritic precursors and some have been classified as primitive achondrites. Click on Term to Read More
), and a primitive, insulating chondritic regolithMixture of unconsolidated rocky fragments, soil, dust and other fine granular particles blanketing the surface of a body lacking an atmosphere. Regolith is the product of "gardening" by repeated meteorite impacts, and thermal processes (such as repeated heating and cooling cycles). Click on Term to Read More
which has experienced impact-gardening and metasomatism. See ‘The Breakup of Antaeus’
for additional details.
Further evidence for a large differentiated CV planetesimal lies in the fact that Allende acquired a strong unidirectional natural remanent magnetization at least 8 m.y. after CAI formation, reflecting the existence of an internal core dynamo (Weiss et al.
, 2010). The photo shown above is a 1.41 g partial slice of NWA 3133, the first meteorite distinguished as a metachondrite.