Lunar feldspathic meteorite Dhofar 081: Petrochemical constraints on petrogenesis

Dwijesh Ray, Saumitra Misra & David R Nelson

Journal of Earth System Science, Volume 130
Article number: 39 (2021)
Published: 13 February 2021


“Two alternative petrogenetic models, plagioclase flotation and serial magmatism have been proposed to explain the origin of the lunar anorthositic crust, covering ~80% of the lunar highland. In this study, we re-examine the possible relict igneous texture present in an inferred lunar highland breccia clast (area ~1 mm2) in the Dhofar 081 meteorite. Our new petrographic and in-situ mineral microprobe chemical data on this clast show this coarse grained (average grain size ~0.5 mm) clast preserves relict igneous texture where subhedral, prismatic low-Ca pyroxene has intergrown with anhedral anorthitic plagioclase, suggesting its eutectic crystallization from its parent silicate magma. Absence of maskelynite and similarity of Na, K contents of plagioclase with the FAN assemblages negate the possibility of crystallization of the studied relict clast from an impact melt. The mineral-chemical data of Dhofar 081 suggest it is FAN (Ferroan anorthosite) in composition (after Warren in Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 13:201–240, 1985). Hence, intergrown crystallization of minerals in the present relict igneous clasts and other reported FAN samples argues against a cumulate origin of the lunar anorthosite. The orthopyroxenes present in the unbrecciated portion of this meteoritic clast include bimodal low- and high-iron geochemical sub-groups. The application of orthopyroxene and plagioclase thermobarometry (after Gasparik in Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 96:357–370, 1987) on our new microprobe data, and also two-pyroxene thermometry (after Lindsley in Am. Mineral. 68:477–493, 1983; Putirka in Rev. Mineral. Geochem. 69(1):61–120, 2008) on our new microprobe data and synthesis of literature data constrain the pressure and temperature of crystallization of lunar anorthosite parent magma close to 8 kbar and 1050°C, respectively. Application of Fo–An–Q experimental phase diagram at high pressure (up to 20 kbar) negates the possibility of generation of lunar anorthosite from a lherzolite source, the parent magma of these anorthosites probably lie on or close to Fo–An join of this phase diagram close to the spinel field.”