Petrogenesis and chronology of lunar meteorite Northwest Africa 4472: A KREEPy regolith breccia from the Moon

K.H. Joy, R. Burgess, R. Hinton, V.A. Fernandes, I.A. Crawford, A.T. Kearsley, A.J. Irving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Northwest Africa (NWA) 4472 is a polymict lunar regolith meteorite. The sample is KREEP-rich (high concentrations of potassium, rare earth elements and phosphorus) and comprises a heterogeneous array of lithic and mineral fragments. These clasts and mineral fragments were sourced from a range of lunar rock types including the lunar High Magnesian Suite, the High Alkali Suite, KREEP basalts, mare basalts and a variety of impact crater environments. The KREEP-rich nature of NWA 4472 indicates that the sample was ejected from regolith on the nearside of the Moon in the Procellarum KREEP Terrane and we have used Lunar Prospector gamma-ray remote sensing data to show that the meteorite is most similar to (and most likely sourced from) regoliths adjacent to the Imbrium impact basin.

U–Pb and Pb–Pb age dates of NWA 4472 phosphate phases reveal that the breccia has sampled Pre-Nectarian (4.35 Ga) rocks related to early episodes of KREEP driven magmatism. Some younger phosphate U–Pb and Pb–Pb age dates are likely indicative of impact resetting events at 3.9–4 Ga, consistent with the suggested timing of basin formation on the Moon. Our study also shows that NWA 4472 has sampled impact melts and glass with an alkali-depleted, incompatible trace element-rich (high Sc, low Rb/Th ratios, low K) compositional signature not related to typical Apollo high-K KREEP, or that sampled by KREEPy lunar meteorite Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 169. This provides evidence that there are numerous sources of KREEP-rich protoliths on the Moon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2420-2452
Number of pages33
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Petrogenesis and chronology of lunar meteorite Northwest Africa 4472: A KREEPy regolith breccia from the Moon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this