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Maralinga Meteorite, Maralinga, Western Region, South Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 30° 18' South , 131° 16' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -30.30000,131.26667
Non-native locality type:Meteorite
Meteorite Class:CK4-an chondrite meteorite
Meteoritical Society Class: CK4-an
Metbull:View entry in Meteoritical Bulletin Database
Köppen climate type:BWh : Hot deserts climate

Carbonaceous Chondrite (CK4-an; S2; W3/4?)

The Maralinga meteorite was found as a single, weathered stone on a sandy ridge near the village of Maralinga in 1974, but was not recognized as a meteorite until 1989. It has been classified as a CK (Karoonda-like) because of its abundant fine-grained matrix, nearly mm-sized chondrules as well as the usual oxygen isotopes and Mg-Si bulk ratios which define the various Carbonaceous Chondrite Groups. Maralinga’s unusually large chondrule volume (~50%) accounts for its classification as an anomalous CK. Chondrules contain Olivine as well as lesser amounts of Pyroxene and Plagioclase. Petrologic type CK4 Maralinga has been metamorphosed sufficiently to homogenize its olivine & recrystallize its matrix. Terrestrial weathering has influenced the magnetite abundance and apparently accounts for much - if not all -all of Maralinga’s calcite.

While the fractional content of refractory inclusions found in CK meteorites is usually quite small, Maralinga’s inclusions are more abundant and interest in the inclusions is quite high. Most of Maralinga’s moderately large mineral count is accounted for by the various high temperature Ca-Al rich silicates and oxides found in various stages of alteration in the refractory inclusions. (The inclusions are also called Calcium-Aluminium rich inclusions or CAIs).

Keller et al., (1992) provide an excellent overview of the meteorite’s components. Lindstrom et al., (1993) is but one of several investigations into Maralinga’s variegated population of CAIs.

Mineral List

14 valid minerals.

Meteorite/Rock Types Recorded

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Wlotzka, F. (1991) Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 70. Meteoritics 26 (1): 68-69. (March 1991)

Geiger, T. & Spettel, B. (1991) Maralinga--A New Metamorphosed Carbonaceous Chondrite (Abstract). Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XXII: 433-434. (March 1991)

Kurat, G., Brändstatter, F., Palme, H., Spettel, B. & Prinz, M. (1991) Maralinga (CK4): Record of Highly Oxidizing Nebular Conditions (Abstract). Meteoritics 26 (4): p. 360. (Dec 1991)

Keller, L. P., Clark, J. C., Lewis, C. F. & Moore, C. B. (1992). Maralinga, a metamorphosed carbonaceous chondrite found in Australia. Meteoritics 27 (1): 87-91. (March 1992)

Keller, L. P. (1992) Petrography and Mineral Chemistry of Calcium-and Aluminum-rich Inclusions in the Maralinga CK4 Chondrite (abstract). Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XXIII: 671-672. (March 1992)

Keller, L. P. (1993) Heterogeneous plagioclase compositions in the Maralinga CK4 chondrite. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XXIV, Part 2, G-M: 783-784. (March 1993)

Lindstrom, D. J., Keller, L. P. & Martinez, R. R. (1993) INAA of CAIs from the Maralinga CK4 chondrite: Effects of parent body thermal metamorphism. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XXIV. Part 2: G-M p 877-878. (March 1993)

Zinner, E., Brändstatter, F. & Kurat, G. (1995). A Plagioclase-Olivine-Spinel-Magnetite Inclusion from Maralinga (CK): A Record of Sequential Condensation. Meteoritics 30 (5), p. 605. (Sept 1995)

Brearley, A. J. & Jones, R. H. (1998). Chondritic Meteorites. In: Planetary Materials (Papike, J. J., Editor); Chapter 3, 398 pages. Mineralogical Society of America: Washington, DC, USA. (1998)

Grady, M. M. (2000). Catalogue of Meteorites (5/e). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. 690 pages.

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