Assessing the shock state of the lunar highlands: Implications for the petrogenesis and chronology of crustal anorthositesOPEN ACCESS 

J. F. Pernet-Fisher, K. H. Joy, D. J. P. Martin & K. L. Donaldson Hanna

Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 5888 (2017)


“Our understanding of the formation and evolution of the primary lunar crust is based on geochemical systematics from the lunar ferroan anorthosite (FAN) suite. Recently, much effort has been made to understand this suite’s petrologic history to constrain the timing of crystallisation and to interpret FAN chemical diversity. We investigate the shock histories of lunar anorthosites by combining Optical Microscope (OM) ‘cold’ cathodoluminescence (CL)-imaging and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analyses. In the first combined study of its kind, this study demonstrates that over ~4.5 Ga of impact processing, plagioclase is on average weakly shocked (<15 GPa) and examples of high shock states (>30 GPa; maskelynite) are uncommon. To investigate how plagioclase trace-element systematics are affected by moderate to weak shock (~5 to 30 GPa) we couple REE+Y abundances with FTIR analyses for FAN clasts from lunar meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 2995. We observe weak correlations between plagioclase shock state and some REE+Y systematics (e.g., La/Y and Sm/Nd ratios). This observation could prove significant to our understanding of how crystallisation ages are evaluated (e.g., plagioclase-whole rock Sm-Nd isochrons) and for what trace-elements can be used to differentiate between lunar lithologies and assess magma source compositional differences.”