The Tissint Martian meteorite as evidence for the largest impact excavation

Abstract

High-pressure minerals in meteorites provide clues for the impact processes that excavated, launched and delivered these samples to Earth. Most Martian meteorites are suggested to have been excavated from 3 to 7 km diameter impact craters. Here we show that the Tissint meteorite, a 2011 meteorite fall, contains virtually all the high-pressure phases (seven minerals and two mineral glasses) that have been reported in isolated occurrences in other Martian meteorites. Particularly, one ringwoodite (75 140 𝜇m²) represents the largest grain observed in all Martian samples. Collectively, the ubiquitous high-pressure minerals of unusually large sizes in Tissint indicate that shock metamorphism was widely dispersed in this sample (B25 GPa and B2,000 1C). Using the size and growth kinetics of the ringwoodite grains, we infer an initial impact crater with B90 km diameter, with a factor of 2 uncertainty. These energetic conditions imply alteration of any possible low-T minerals in Tissint.

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