Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Examining the compositions of impactors striking the Moon using Apollo impact melt coats and anorthositic regolith breccia meteorites

TitleExamining the compositions of impactors striking the Moon using Apollo impact melt coats and anorthositic regolith breccia meteorites
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsMcIntosh E.C, Day JMD, Liu Y., Jiskoot C.
Date Published2020/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0016-7037
Accession NumberWOS:000518382500011
Keywordsaccretion history; Anorthositic regolith breccias; constraints; earth; geochemistry; Geochemistry & Geophysics; Highly; Impact melt coats; Impactors; lunar meteorites; mantle; Moon; origin; Os isotopes; osmium isotope; siderophile element systematics; siderophile elements; silicate melts

Impactors striking the Moon since the formation of its crust have left an indelible imprint on the lunar surface, in the guise of craters and associated impact rocks. The lunar crust has low intrinsic abundances of the highly siderophile elements (HSE: Re, Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Rh, Pd, Au), at greater than 3000 times lower than in chondrite meteorites. Consequently, during impact, bolides with chondritic or differentiated iron-rich compositions should impart elevated HSE signatures to the lunar crust. Here we examine glassy lunar impact melt coats (IMC) from the outside rims of Apollo 16 cataclastic anorthosites (60015, 65325) and breccias (65035), as well as both fragments and powders of Antarctic anorthositic regolith breccia (ARB) meteorites (Miller Range 090034/36/70/75 and MacAlpine Hills 88105) for their petrography, mineral chemistry and bulk-rock compositions. The HSE concentrations for IMC range from similar to 0.001 to 0.1 x CI chondrite, with measured Os-187/Os-188 between 0.1189 and 0.1366. Anorthositic regolith breccia meteorites, which have components with 2.6-4.1 Ga ages, have similar HSE concentrations to IMC, but typically have lower Os-187/Os-188 (0.1164-0.1284). These latter Os ratios are generally less radiogenic than those measured in similar to 3.8-3.9 Ga Apollo impact melt breccias. The Apollo 16 IMC are not well-dated, but their KREEPy trace-element signatures and associated ages of 3.7 to 3.8 Ga for Apollo 16 glasses might imply, at least in part, an origin from the Imbrium or Serenitatis basin-forming impacts. Within the IMC, metal-schreibersite-troilite assemblages record significant inter-element HSE fractionation which is also reflected in bulk HSE patterns for both IMC and ARB meteorites. Variations in relative and absolute HSE compositions directly reflect the control of metal and sulfide segregation within and between impact melt and breccia lithologies. Collectively, IMC and ARB meteorites exhibit approximately 50% of the variation in Ru/Ir and Os-187/Os-188 observed in lunar impact melt breccias. These results imply that significant variations in inter-element compositions can occur during impact brecciation and melting and so some impact melt rock HSE compositions may not record the compositions of impactors that struck the Moon with fidelity. Nonetheless, the generally low Re-1(87)/Os-1(88) of lunar impact melt rocks means that osmium isotope ratios provide evidence for impact composition, and a change from ordinary to carbonaceous-like impactors either with time - or location - striking the Moon. (C) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Student Publication: