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SAHARA 03500

Primitive Achondrite, ungrouped
(impact melt rock)
standby for nwa s03500 photo
Found February 2003
no coordinates disclosed A 221.33 g, fusion-crusted, partly broken stone was found in the Sahara Desert by the French team of Caillou Noir under the organization of Michel Franco. A 21.36 g section of Sahara 03500 was provided to the Université Pierre & Marie Curie in Paris (A. Jambon and O. Boudoma; #5272) for analysis, and a smaller 2.0 g sample to the Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont–Ferrand (B. Devouard).

Centimeter-size raised metallic clasts are present over the regmaglypted surface, the result of selective ablation processes on the rounded metal–sulfide globules that occur throughout (~16 vol%). Inside these pyrrhotite globules there is a visible texture resulting from dendritic exsolution of kamacite or taenite. Smaller globules and sub-mm-sized FeNi-metal grains have associated phosphides. The meteorite exhibits an unusual light gray-green color.

The silicate matrix is composed of olivine and orthopyroxene and has an igneous texture consistent with impact-melting and rapid cooling at the surface (Jambon et al., 2005). Small feldspathic glassy shock veins are scattered throughout the meteorite. The bulk composition of Sahara 03500 is similar to that of LL chondrites, but with a higher K/Na ratio, an enrichment in LREE, and a depletion in siderophile elements. An oxygen isotope analysis is currently underway which could help resolve the nature of its parent body.

Sahara 03500 exhibits minor terrestrial weathering (W1) in the form of carbonate veins. The specimen of Sahara 03500 shown above is a 0.80 g ultrathin part slice. Two views of the complete slice from which this specimen was removed can be seen below; the magnified view shows the coarse exsolution (graphic) texture of the large metal–sulfide globules. A photo of the main mass as found is shown courtesy of Michel Franco. standby for nwa s03500 photo
standby for nwa s03500 photo
Photos courtesy of S. Turecki
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Photo courtesy of Michel Franco

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Dho 500

Primitive Achondrite, ungrouped
(possibly winonaite-related)
standby for dhofar 500 photo
Found January 24, 2000
18° 23.2′ N., 54° 12.2′ E. A single stone weighing 116 g was found in the desert region of Dhofar, Oman. Analysis was conducted at the Vernadsky Institute, Moscow (Lorenz and Ivanova), and it was classified as an ungrouped primitive achondrite. This is a highly metamorphosed, recrystallized, polymict breccia, consisting of three separate lithologies within a pyroxene–plagioclase matrix:

  1. coarse-grained, poikiloblastic, pyroxene–plagioclase
  2. coarse-grained, olivine-rich
  3. fine-grained, equigranular textured, pyroxene–olivine–plagioclase

Minor constituents include Ca-rich augite, Cr-rich troilite (20 vol% in ol-rich lithology), chromite (pyx–plag lithology), and rare FeNi-metal. The modal content of the combined metallic component is only 0.3%, significantly less than the acapulcoite/lodranite clan and the winonaite–IAB iron complex meteorites. The Cr-enrichment of troilite suggests formation occurred in a more reducing environment than most other primitive achondrites. This meteorite has been significantly weathered (W4) and shocked (S4).

The olivine and orthopyroxene compositions of Dhofar 500 are similar to those of the winonaite–IAB iron complex meteorites, while the olivine also shows similarities to the ureilites (Lorenz et al., 2003). However, pyroxene has a chemical composition that differs from other achondrites; i.e., it is more magnesian and higher in TiO2 than that of the acapulcoite/lodranite clan, ureilites, and brachinites. In addition, the Fe/Mn ratio in pyroxene is close to that of ordinary chondrites, but differs from that of the acapulcoite/lodranite clan and ureilites. Although Dhofar 500 has a high Cr content in troilite similar to that of ureilites, possibly a result of reduction processes, its higher plagioclase content and more limited silicate compositional range distinguish it from ureilites.

Oxygen isotope studies have determined that Dhofar 500 does not plot among any of the known meteorite groups; however, it does plot along an extension of the trend line of the silicate component of the winonaite–IAB iron complex meteorites (see diagram below), and also near the trend line of the ureilites. Notably, Dhofar 500 has olivine and troilite compositions that are similar to those of polymict ureilites, but without a carbon-rich matrix. standby for o-isotopic diagram
Diagram credit: Greenwood et al., Chemie der Erde, vol. 77, p. 23 (2017)
‘Melting and differentiation of early-formed asteroids: The perspective from high precision oxygen isotope studies’
(open access:
The Ar–Ar age calculations for Dhofar 500 reflect a complex history with ages of 4.454 (±0.011) b.y. and 4.307 (±0.011) b.y., consistent with the range of ages for winonaites and silicates from IAB complex irons and some ordinary chondrites (Korochantseva et al., 2011). Another partial degassing event is indicated with an age younger than 3.2 b.y. The photo of Dhofar 500 shown above is a 0.43 g slice with fusion crust. The photo below shows an in situ view. standby for dhofar 500 photo
Photo courtesy of the Comet Meteorite Shop