Crater that ejected the famous Martian rock has been identified

(ORDO NEWS) — A new study led by the Curtin Center for Space Science and Technology has pinpointed for the first time the site of the oldest and most famous Martian meteorite impact, providing crucial geological clues to the earliest origins of Mars.

Using a multidisciplinary approach using a machine learning algorithm, the new study has identified a specific crater on Mars that ejected the so-called 320-gram Black Beauty meteorite and a pair of rocks first reported in 2011 as found in northern Africa.

Researchers have named a particular crater on Mars after the town of Karratha in the Pilbara, more than 1,500 kilometers north of Perth in Western Australia, where one of Earth‘s oldest rocks is found.

Study lead author Dr. Anthony Lagaine of Curtin School of Earth and Planetary Sciences said the exciting discovery provided previously unknown details about Martian meteorite NWA 7034, known as Black Beauty, which is widely studied around the world.

It is the only Martian specimen of a brecciated meteorite found on Earth, meaning it contains angular fragments of several rock types cemented together, unlike all other Martian meteorites that contain single rock types.

“For the first time, we know the geological context of the only Martian sample with a brecciated (debris) structure available on Earth, 10 years before NASA’s Mars return mission sends them collected by the Perseverance rover, which is currently exploring the Lake crater.

Finding the region of origin of the Black Beauty meteorite is critical because it contains the oldest Martian fragments ever found, at 4.48 billion years old, and shows similarities between the very old Martian crust of about 4.53 billion years old and modern Earth’s continents.

The region we have identified as the source of this unique Martian meteorite specimen represents a veritable window into the earliest environment of planets, including Earth, which our planet lost due to plate tectonics and erosion.”


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