Petrology and geochemistry of lunar feldspathic meteorite Northwest Africa 11111: Insights into the lithology of the lunar farside highlands

Xiaohui Fu, Haijun Cao, Jian Chen, Xuting Hou, Zongcheng Ling, Lin Xu, Yongliao Zou, Chipui Tang, Weibiao Hsu

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Version of Record online: 23 September 2021


“We performed a petrological, mineralogical, and geochemical study of the lunar feldspathic meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 11111. This meteorite contains several types of lithic clasts, including feldspathic clasts, mafic-rich clasts, granulites, impact melt breccias, minor basaltic clasts, and highly evolved clasts cemented in a recrystallized fine grain matrix. Both mineral chemistry and geochemical characteristics indicate a lunar origin for NWA 11111. The bulk analysis suggests that NWA 11111 is a typical feldspathic lunar meteorite, which is consistent with its large population of anorthositic clasts and plagioclase fragments. A comparison of geochemical data made by lunar orbiter missions indicates that this meteorite was likely launched from the Feldspathic Highland Terrane on the lunar farside. The chemical zoning, coupled with extensive exsolution lamellae (up to 20 μm in width) occurring in pyroxene across three sections of NWA 11111, demonstrates that this meteorite contains components derived from the surface to about 10 km of lunar crust. Magnesian anorthosite clasts are commonly present in the meteorite, indicating that magnesian anorthosite probably represents an important lithology in the lunar farside crust. Basaltic clasts in NWA 11111 range from a very low-Ti to a low-Ti mare basalt, possibly representing cryptomare on the lunar farside. Although a KREEPy signature for NWA 11111 is not evident, highly evolved clasts containing various silica polymorphs and/or K-feldspar are present. They may originate from late-stage residual liquids. Lithic clasts and mineral fragments within NWA 11111 provide new insights into the diversity of lunar crust lithology and magmatic processes on the lunar farside. This meteorite also offers rocky materials from a wide vertical section of lunar crust.”