2 Billion Year Old Martian Rock Is a Meteorite with 10 Times More Water than Normal: Scientists

The scientists claimed that the 2-billion year old Martian rock, called Black Beauty which fell in Sahara is a Martian meteorite containing 10 times more water.

Jan 5, 2013 17:04 IST
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Scientists claimed that the 2-billion year old dark black rock, called Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 or Black Beauty, which landed into Sahara desert in 2011 is actually new kind of Martian meteorite which contains 10 times excess water than the normal.

Black Beauty weighs around 320 g. After studying it intensively for over a year, the team of US scientists finally determined that the meteorite was formed 2.1 billion years ago and that too during the starting of most recent geologic period called Amazonian, on Mars.

Programme scientist for the Mars Exploration Programme at NASA headquarters, Washington explained that the age of Black Beauty was important because it is majorly older than the other Martian meteorites.
NASA also explained that the meteorite is a perfect match for the outcrops as well as surface rocks which it had studied remotely through their Mars rovers as well as Mars-orbiting satellites.

The composition of Black Beauty is much different than previously studied meteorites from Mars. It is composed of cemented remains of basalt, which is a rock that is formed from hastily cooled lava. These remains are mainly pyroxene and feldspar, which most probably are from the volcanic activities.

This is an unusual meteorite chemistry which matches the Martian crust that was measured by Mars Odyssey Orbiter as well as Mars Exploration Rovers of Nasa.

Around 110 Martian rocks have already been recovered on Earth, primarily in Sahara or Antarctica. The oldest one is from 4.5 billion years ago when Mars was much warmer and wetter. A lot of Martian meteorites are from 1.3 billion years ago and remaining ones are from 600 million years ago.

The latest meteorite is Black Beauty which was donated to University of New Mexico by a US citizen who had purchased it from the Moroccan meteorite dealer in 2011.

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