Review of the Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 005, Plus Pairings, Martian Meteorite from Al Wusta, Oman

Arshad Ali, Sobhi Nasir, Iffat Jabeen, Ahmed Al-Rawas

Abstract


Al Wusta is a desert area in the Sultanate of Oman which is famous due to the discovery of a number of Martian and Lunar meteorites since the start of the present millennium. According to the Meteoritical Bulletin database, 137 approved Martian meteorites have been found worldwide, including 17 from Oman (4 from Zufar, 13 from Al Wusta region). Interestingly 11 finds in the last 15 years have been of Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 005 and its pairings. These finds (estimated mass = 11.2 kg) are linked to 10 search expeditions carried out between November 26, 1999 and March 2, 2014 by the Swiss group from the University of Bern and several anonymous meteorite hunters. The bulk of these meteorites (~97%) is in the possession of anonymous collectors, negatively affecting Oman’s natural heritage and denying further research opportunities, given their associated scientific value. SaU 005 and its pairings belong to the shergottite group of the Shergotty-Nakhla-Chassigny (SNC) meteorites, originating from various depths within the Martian mantle. We discuss the recently published oxygen isotope data of bulk and mineral fractions of SaU 008 recovered during the very first expedition in 1999 in the context of other shergottites found in Oman. The bulk oxygen isotope data of SaU 008 and Dhofar 019, another Martian meteorite from Oman, show a narrow range in δ18O values. Their Δ17O values are remarkably close to identical and fall linearly on a Martian fractionation line above the terrestrial fractionation line (TFL) by + 0.32‰, suggesting that Mars’ mantle is homogeneous in oxygen isotopes. Petrographic and mineralogical data of SaU 005 and other pairings published in the Meteoritical Bulletin are compiled, and it is noted that all the meteorites are identical and are likely paired. The story behind these rare extra-terrestrial specimens demands a local meteorite museum and preliminary testing laboratory at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) to protect this treasure trove of Omani heritage.

 


Keywords


Mars; Oxygen isotopes; SNC meteorites; Oman.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24200/squjs.vol22iss1pp29-39

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