A single brown-colored meteorite weighing 59.8 g was found in Northwest Africa and subsequently purchased by M. Farmer from a Moroccan dealer at the 2011 Denver Mineral Show. A sample was analyzed at the University of Washington in Seattle (A. Irving and S. Kuehner) and NWA 6962 was classified as an ungrouped achondrite having some geochemical affinities to the brachinite group, although olivine in this meteorite is significantly more ferroan.
The interior appearance of NWA 6962 has been described as an aggregate of yellowish-brown olivine crystals containing melt inclusions composed of sodic plagioclase + chromite + Ni-free metal, along with an interstitial Na-rich silicate determined by Raman spectra to be nepheline or tridymite. In addition, scattered grains of Ti-poor Al-bearing chromite are present along with minor clinopyroxene (augite), merrillite, and fluorapatite, as well as sparse abundances of FeNi-metal and FeS grains.
Although NWA 6962 shows some mineralogical similarities to brachinites, its geochemical characteristics are inconsistent with a genetic relationship; e.g., Fe-enriched silicates, Fe/Mn ratios, and O-isotopic values (Dunlap et al., 2015). Oxygen-isotope values for NWA 6962 were ascertained (R. Tanaka, Okayama University, Japan), and the plot is near the CCAM line near the resolved fields for ureilites and the acapulcoitelodranite clan (see the oxygen three-isotope plot). Notably, the O-isotopic values for NWA 6962 are very similar to those determined by N. Banerjee et al. (Western University, Canada) for the 124 g NWA 7680 (see the oxygen three-isotope plot). Since these two meteorites were both purchased in 2011 and have similar O-isotopic values, bulk compositions, and geochemical constitutions, it is considered that they are genetically related (Hyde et al., 2013, 2017).
Additional studies of NWA 6962/7680 by Hyde et al. (2017), including major, minor, and trace elemental compositions, led to the conclusion that there is no obvious relationship to either the ureilites or the acapulcoitelodranite clan. Since NWA 6962/7680 plot near the CCAM line and show similarities to some CM and CV clasts thought to originate from the interior of these asteroids, it is considered that NWA 6962/7680 could also derive from the deep interior of a primitive carbonaceous chondrite parent body.
Further studies of samples from both NWA 6962 and 7680 were conducted by Sanborn et al. (2018). Utilizing a coupled Δ17O vs. ε54Cr diagram, they demonstrated that NWA 6962/7680 plots within the CR/CH carbonaceous chondrite field represented by CR2 Renazzo and CH3 NWA 2210 (see diagram below). This plot is also proximate to that of the ungrouped carbonaceous achondrites NWA 6704 and pairings and NWA 011 and pairings, which suggests that a genetic relationship exists among them.
Chromium vs. Oxygen Isotope Plot
click on image for a magnified view
Diagram credit: Sanborn et al., 49th LPSC, #2296 (2018)
Huyskens et al. (2019) derived and compiled chronological data from multiple dating systems for four different achondrite parent bodies that accreted in the CR reservoir, comprising the pairing groups of NWA 011/2976/4587, NWA 6704/6693/10132, Tafassasset/NWA 3100, and NWA 6962/7680. They determined that each of these parent bodies accreted and differentiated early in Solar System history and over a relatively short timespan ~4.5637 to 4.5624 b.y. ago. Each of these CR-like objects have Cr- and Ti-isotopic compositions that when coupled to the O-isotopic compositions plot in distinct locations (see diagrams below). Notably, the CR2 chondrite Renazzo plots nearest to NWA 6962/7680 in OCr space, but no comparable Ti isotope data is yet available.
17O vs. ε54Cr and ε50Ti for CR Carbonaceous Achondrites
click on photo for a magnified view
Diagrams credit: Huyskens et al., 50th LPSC, #2736 (2019)
Northwest Africa 6962 shows evidence for low shock and a low degree of terrestrial weathering. The specimen of NWA 6962 shown above is a 0.547 g slice.