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Al Haggounia 001 | Explained

Posted by Dustin Dickens on

Al Haggounia 001 | Not an Aubrite

The Aubrite class of achondrite meteorites, comprised mostly of the mineral Enstatite share a close kinship with the class of meteorites named after the same mineral, the ¨Enstatite¨ or ¨E¨ Chondrite. While they’re both comprised of the same mineral, they don’t appear to originate from the same parent bodies. It is thought however that the Aubrites, tending to be highly reduced igneous breccias of enstatite and plagioclase, could likely be mimicked by a sufficiently altered enstatite chondrite.

Such was the case for Al Haggounia 001. When the meteorite was first analysed with a limited sampling, it was thought to be an Aubrite. It was only a larger sampling of material examined over many years which allowed scientists to piece together Al Haggounia 001’s actual classification. It is now widely accepted, though vastly under reported, that Al Haggounia is better classified as an ancient EL3 Enstatite that has been through extensive secondary terrestrial processing. Al Haggounia 001 and its pairings are in effect ¨paleo¨ meteorites thought to have landed on Earth near the end of the Pleistocene epoch, over 20,000 years ago. This controversial meteorite has undergone so much secondary terrestrial processing that it is not uncommon to find large xenolithic terrestrial clasts that have been incorporated into the meteorite often resembling a mixed metamorphic breccia.

Despite efforts by the original researchers to have the Meteoritical Society’s Nomenclature Committee officially reclassify Al Haggounia 001 as an ¨EL3 chondrite anomalous (W3)¨, it remains in the official Meteoritical Society’s public database as an Aubrite. Researchers in the know also indicate that perhaps twenty other meteorites with classifications ranging from Aubrite to EL6 are likely paired with Al Haggounia 001.

UDATE: Dr. Alan Rubin of UCLA has reclassified (2016) Al Haggounia 001 as an "EL Melt-rock", and the Meteoritical Bulletin entry was updated in 2019 to reflect the new classification.

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