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Tatahouine meteorite, Tataouine (Foum Tatahouine), Tataouine Governorate, Tunisia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 32° 57' North , 10° 25' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 32.95000,10.41667
Non-native locality type:Meteorite
Other regions containing this locality:Northwest Africa
Sahara Desert

Achondrite Diogenite
Fell June 27, 1931. Total mass 12 kg.

A large number of very small fragments fell over a radius of 500 m. Most Diogenites and all 11 Diogenite falls are pyroxenites compositionally dominated by orthopyroxene (~90 vol%), usually accompanied by plus minor amounts of various silicates and opaques. Unlike most other diogenites, however, Tatahouine's dominant pyroxene is composed mostly of numerous large single, usually seemingly unfragmented crystals of orthopyroxene. Closer inspection reveals, however, that many crystals have been partially deformed by shock and then subsequently reequilibrated and annealed. The Tatathouine's mineral assemblage is composed of very ancient material (~4.5 billion years). However, a moderately 'young' ~4.4 billion years Rb-Sr age suggests that the formation epoch itself was accompanied by almost simultaneous intense shock event(s) which would have interrupted any well defined simple formational epoch.

Tatahouine has also attracted some attention due to the detection of calcite and carbonate weathering products in samples recovered six decades after the fall. Some of the minerals may be biogenic. All this suggests that a 'well preserved' meteorite in a hot, dry dessert is not as impervious to alteration as first impressions might suggest.

Mineral List

6 valid minerals.

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Mason, B. (1963). The Hypersthene achondrites. American Museum Novitates, #2155, 13 pages.

Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites. Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.

Nord, G. L., Jr. & Hewins, R. H. (1983) Thermal and Mechanical History of Tatahouine Diogenite: Meteoritics 18 (4): 364-365. (Dec 1983)

Gooley, R. & Moore, C. B. ( 1976) Native metal in diogenite meteorites: American Mineralogist 61 (5/6, Part I): 373-378. (May-June 1976)

Takahashi, K. & Masudat, A. (1990) Young ages of two diogenites and their genetic implications:Nature 343 (6258): 540-542. (Feb 1990)

Barrat, J. A. et al. (1999) Science 280 (5362):412-414. (4/17/1998)

Barrat, J. A., Gillet, Ph., Lesourd, M., Blichert-Toft, J. & Poupeau, G. R. (1999) The Tatahouine diogenite: Mineralogical and chemical effects of sixty-three years of terrestrial residence. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 34(1): 91-97. (Jan 1999)

External Links

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/metbull.php = Meteoritical Bulletin Database

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