Mineralogy, geochemistry, and (40)Ar-(39)Ar geochronology of lunar granulitic breccia Northwest Africa 3163 and paired stones: Comparisons with Apollo samples

J. A. Hudgins, S. P. Kelley, R. L. Korotev, J. G. Spray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The lunar meteorites Northwest Africa (NWA) 3163, 4881, and 4483 are paired stones classified as granulitic breccias. At 2.4 kg, these three stones constitute one of the largest known lunar meteorite masses. Here we describe the petrography, mineralogy, and chemistry of NWA 3163, 4881, and 4483, and present (40)Ar-(39)Ar data for two of the meteorites. Two-pyroxene thermometry indicates that the rocks equilibrated at 1050 +/- 50 degrees C, which represents the high-temperature, low-pressure event that generated their characteristic recrystallization textures and reset their Ar systematics. Stepped-heating, in situ infrared laser microprobe (40)Ar-(39)Ar geochronology yields a mean age of 3327 +/- 29 Ma for NWA 3163, and a more disturbed release spectrum for NWA 4881. NWA 4881 shows an upward-trending pattern, suggesting that it may have had a (40)Ar-(39)Ar age of >3.0 Ga, but that it was partially reset at similar to 2.6 Ga. NWA 3163 et al. exhibit shock effects, including maskelynitized plagioclase, shock veins, and melt pockets, which are absent in the Apollo granulitic breccias. Although the Apollo and meteorite samples are texturally similar and have comparable bulk compositions and equilibration temperatures, their trace and siderophile element contents point to distinct parental lithologies derived from different regions of the Moon. Based on mineralogical and geochemical differences between the Apollo and meteorite samples, we conclude that the parent rock(s) of the paired NWA meteorites came from an area outside the Imbrium region and that they underwent high-temperature (granulite event) metamorphism long after the Late Heavy Bombardment. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2865-2881
Number of pages17
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume75
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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