A single stone weighing 136 g was found in the Libyan Sahara, and was classified at the Institut für Planetologie in Münster as a pyroxene-rich (pyroxene/pyroxene + olivine = 65 vol%), unbrecciated ureilite. It has been weathered to grade 3 and exhibits only weak shock features (S3), as reflected in planar fractures and undulatory extinction in the silicates. However, the presence of possible shock-produced diamonds within carbon-rich areas suggests that some shock features might have been erased during annealing.
Hammadah al Hamra 064 is a member of a small subgroup of ureilites, the olivineaugite type, which comprises less than ~10% of the known ureilites. A third type, the olivineorthopyroxene ureilites, has been identified in the ureilite classification scheme proposed by Goodrich et al. (2006). The olivineaugite ureilites formed as cumulates rather than residues, in late-stage, highly refractory melt pools. They crystallized at a range of depths in close association with the much more common olivinepigeonite ureilites. The olivinepigeonite type of ureilites, which exhibit the typical texture of residues of low degree fractional melts, constitute ~90% of the known ureilites. Two transitional members are also known, RKPA80239 and PCA 82506, which have textures that are intermediate between the typical and poikilitic groups. Ureilites in the small augite- and orthopyroxene-bearing subgroups were found to contain primary trapped melt inclusions, demonstrating a complex magmatic history (Goodrich et al., 2000).
Hammadah al Hamra 064 has a bimodal texture and contains ~510 vol% augite. One lithology has a typical ureilite texture consisting of mm-sized augite and olivine grains, with grain boundaries forming 120° triple junctions. These grains are separated by metal-rich veins and an interstitial, fine-grained, carbon-rich (primarily graphite) matrix. The other lithology is composed of olivine and augite poikilitically enclosed within large (≥5 mm) pigeonite (Wo ~4.5, and more accurately described as orthopyroxene; Goodrich et al., 2006) crystals constituting ~50 vol%, with low-Ni metal-rich veins occurring between constituents. This poikilitic lithology is thought to have been produced when an assemblage of cumulus olivine and augite experienced reduction during the ascent of a relatively ferroan magma from deep source regions. This augite-bearing magma was ultimately assimilated into the olivinepigeonite residues located at shallower levels (Goodrich and Fioretti, 2007; Goodrich et al., 2009). Alternatively, the orthopyroxene may have been introduced by integration of an orthopyroxene-saturated magma. Another possible route to orthopyroxene formation is by the transformation of pigeonite as the rock experienced an increased cooling rate below the equilibration temperature of ~1200°C (Weber et al., 2003).
During the ascent stage of the parent magma within the conduit, the olivine in augite-bearing ureilites began to crystallize first, followed by augite and orthopyroxene as the magma reached shallower levels (Goodrich et al., 2009). Olivine is surrounded by reduction rims up to 0.1 mm wide which are composed of pure forsterite in the outer layers. These rims contain miniscule spherical metal grains, silica, graphite flakes, and protoenstatite grains along with occasional orthopyroxene. They were probably formed through a smelting process involving silicates and graphite that was initiated by a sudden pressure drop accompanied by rapid cooling. An alternative lower-temperature smelting reaction involving methane was proposed by Langendam and Tomkins (2012) to explain the observed smelting within fractures and the discontinuous smelting at grain boundaries; their scenario also supports the concept of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of diamond. Spinodal decomposition of augite also attests to a relatively rapid cooling rate (1520°C/hr) from high temperatures. A final sudden increase in the cooling rate may have been the result of a collisional disruption of the UPB.
The ureilites of the olivineaugite type define a broad range of Δ17O values, consistent with their formation at varied depths on the parent body. This subgroup of ureilites (known as the 'Hughes cluster') comprises a small number of samples, including the following:
In an attempt to identify possible common ejection events among the ureilites, Beard and Swindle (2017) conducted a comparative study of 39 different samples utilizing three parameters: CRE age, Fo content in olivine (Mg#), and Δ17O value. They resolved ten potential clusters, several of which show concordance in their CRE age and Mg# but not in Δ17O value (heterogeneous), and three that are concordant in all three parameters (homogeneous). The youngest heterogeneous cluster reflects an ejection event that occurred 0.7 (±0.1) m.y. ago and comprises HaH 064 and Acfer 277.
A cohesive model for the petrogenesis of the ureilites was presented by Goodrich et al., LPSC XXXIII, #1379 (2002), which was followed by important modifications in subsequent publications (Goodrich et al., 2007), some details of which can be found on the Kenna and Almahata Sitta pages. The specimen of HaH 064 shown in the photos above and below is a 4.23 g partial slice that was sectioned from the portion curated at the Museum für Naturkunde, Humboldt University, Berlin.