The 4.4 billion-year-old NWA 7034, nicknamed Black Beauty, is the first piece of Mars’ crust to reach the Earth, a Brown University study has indicated.
Black Beauty, which was discovered in Morocco a few years ago, is a mash-up of different rock types welded together in a basaltic matrix known as a breccias. Some of the meteorite’s components match rock samples analyzed by Mars rovers.
Brown University’s study suggests that the Martian planet’s landscape is composed largely of composite rocks, rather than the igneous type, IB Times reported. The report indicated that spectroscopic measurements of NWA 7034 match orbital measurements of the dark plains on Mars. The dark plains are areas where the planet’s red dust coating is thin enough to expose the crust.
Kevin Cannon, a graduate student of Brown and the study’s lead author, indicated that the alien meteorite is representative of the “bulk” of the rocks on the planet’s surface. He was quoted by the IB Times report as having said:
This is showing that if you went to Mars and picked up a chunk of crust, you’d expect it to be heavily beat up, battered, broken apart and put back together
The new paper was published in Icarus and co-authored by the University of New Mexico’s Carl Agee and Brown’s Jack Mustard.
All prior Martian rocks discovered on Earth have been classified as SNC meteorites — shergottites, nakhlites, or chassignites — whereas the Black Beauty meteorite is the first of its kind, a breccia, Phys.Org reported.
Mustard indicated that the bulk of the rocks on the surface of the alien planet appear a lot like NWA-7034, what he referred to as:
dark, messy, and beautiful.
What do you think of this recently discovered piece of Mars’ crust, Black Beauty NWA 7034?