Northwest Africa 11288
Found in Morocco, 2015
A Martian impact melt is most likely the result of a giant meteorite crashing into Mars and melting Martian target rock into a new form. That in itself is remarkable. As any type of impact melt — even in the abundant chondrite family — is highly unusual. So, here we have an exceptionally rare Martian impact melt that also displays vugs.
The word vug is a geological term that describes a cavity found within a rock matrix. In terrestrial formations, vugs are a prime environment for the formation of crystals of varying types. Vugs are almost never seen in meteorites. The first known Martian meteorites were identified by the small pockets of Martian atmosphere they contained. It is likely, or possible, that the comparatively large vugs in NWA 11288 once held within them the thin and alien atmosphere of Mars! The total known find weight of this rare meteorite is 407 grams. We have very few slices available.
Northwest Africa 12241
Found in Morocco, 2018
A green Martian that landed in Algeria. It is incredibly delicate and subsequently, many broken fragments were recovered. A small total known weight of 1,150 grams were found. Some specimens offered even have fusion crust! These friable pieces exhibit a lovely pale green color.
Levels of shock are judged to be low, based on the absence of optical effects in plagioclase and the complete lack of any conversion to maskelynite; the presence of widespread microcracks in mafic silicates is the only clear evidence of shock, as noted by the official write up.
Northwest Africa 12269
Found in Ouarzazate, Morocco, July 2018
Little has been documented about the origin of Northwest Africa 12269; it was purchased in Morocco in 2018 and classified at the University of Washington, where scientists recommended the classification of Martian (shergottite). Shergottites are igneous rocks, meaning they likely formed when magma or lava on Mars cooled and solidified.
A recently-published document appearing in the 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference revealed that “unpaired” Martian meteorite finds continue to increase year to year, largely due to finds coming out of Northwest Africa. “Paired” meteorite groups refer to those cases in which overwhelming evidence is present suggesting that the meteorites are part of a single fall.
In the case of NWA 12269, researchers believe that it, along with NWA’s 12564, 12690, 12262, and 12335, may constitute a larger single find from an unknown site.
Northwest Africa 6963
Found in Southern Morocco, 2011
NWA 6963 is a shergottite Martian meteorite that was first discovered near the river Oued Touflit in Morocco during the autumn of 2011. The shergottite group takes its name from Shergotty — a Mars meteorite that was seen to fall in Bihar, India in the year 1865.
After the initial NWA 6963 find, meteorite hunters thoroughly searched the area and additional pieces were found, some of which display a shiny, dark fusion crust. The presence of crust, together with its minimal weathering, suggest that NWA 6963 may be a fairly recent fall.
Classification was carried out at the Institute of Meteoritics at UNM Albuquerque and examination of a thin section showed the primary composition to be pyroxene (a mineral commonly found in volcanic rocks) and the glassy mineral maskelynite that is formed by shock melting in meteorites and related impacts.
We know that NWA 6963 originated on Mars because of the pioneering work of Drs. Johnson and Bogard on a meteorite that was found in Antarctica in 1979. The two scientists discovered that tiny amounts of gas trapped within the Antarctic meteorite were a close match to the thin atmosphere of Mars, as recorded by the Viking robot landers during the 1970s. This experiment was later confirmed by additional studies of several other Martian meteorites showing, without a doubt, that NWA 6963 and others like it, journeyed here to Earth from the Red Planet.