Martian Meteorite NWA8656


In 2016, the Museum of Mineralogy received two donations of the same fragment of Martian meteorite NWA 8656: a fragment of 9.88g given by ABC Mines which will soon be on display in the new "Meteorites" display and another fragment of 1.18g given by Labenne Meteorites, which is in preparation in order to be exhibited in a way that visitors can touch it.


Luc Labenne, a meteorite hunter, tells us more about this Martian meteorite


The Martian meteorite NWA 8656, like NWA 8657, which is another fragment of the same Martian meteorite, was discovered in Western Sahara in 2014 by nomads. These nomads know very well these terrains (light in color and bar of vegetation), which they have been prospecting for years in group in search of meteorites.

The Martian Meteorite NWA 8656 is constituted by a multitude of fragments for a total weight of more than 1600 grams. These Martian fragments have lost most of their melting crust, because of their long stay in the desert, exposed to the wind of deeply abrasive sand.

External part of the 9.88g fragment of Martian meteorite WA 8656 with the fusion crust visible , given par ABC Mines (#83439 ; 2.9 x 2.6 x 1.3 cm). 


The internal structure is grainy, gray to greenish-gray in color, with visible minerals such as maskelynite in the form of translucent grains. One can also observe dark pockets and veins of fusion glass which are the result of impact on the planet Mars, most likely formed during the impact that ejected this very Martian rock from the surface of Mars.

Internal part of the 9,88g fragment of the Martian meteorite NWA 8656,given by ABC Mines (#83439 ; 2.9 x 2.6 x 1.3 cm). 


NWA 8656 is a Martian meteorite that belongs to the shergottite group with a so-called diabasic texture. The rock is mainly composed of crystals of clinopyroxenes and maskelynite (shocked plagioclase).

The Martian origin of the meteorite was confirmed by the analysis of oxygen isotopes as well as by the iron to manganese (Fe / Mn) ratio.

The official statement of this martian meteorite can be found by clicking here.


Slice of 1,18g of the Martian meteorite NWA 8656, found in the Sahara desert, given by Labenne Météorites (#83439 ; 1.8 x 1.1 x 0.2 cm).


A meteorite from Mars! - MINES ParisTech

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