Lunar samples record an impact 4.2 billion years ago that may have formed the Serenitatis BasinOPEN ACCESS 

Ana Černok, Lee F. White, Mahesh Anand, Kimberly T. Tait, James R. Darling, Martin Whitehouse, Katarina Miljković, Myriam Lemelin, Steven M. Reddy, Denis Fougerouse, William D. A. Rickard, David W. Saxey & Rebecca Ghent

Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, Article number: 120


“Impact cratering on the Moon and the derived size-frequency distribution functions of lunar impact craters are used to determine the ages of unsampled planetary surfaces across the Solar System. Radiometric dating of lunar samples provides an absolute age baseline, however, crater-chronology functions for the Moon remain poorly constrained for ages beyond 3.9 billion years. Here we present U–Pb geochronology of phosphate minerals within shocked lunar norites of a boulder from the Apollo 17 Station 8. These minerals record an older impact event around 4.2 billion years ago, and a younger disturbance at around 0.5 billion years ago. Based on nanoscale observations using atom probe tomography, lunar cratering records, and impact simulations, we ascribe the older event to the formation of the large Serenitatis Basin and the younger possibly to that of the Dawes crater. This suggests the Serenitatis Basin formed unrelated to or in the early stages of a protracted Late Heavy Bombardment.”