Sub-microscopic magnetite and metallic iron particles formed by eutectic reaction in Chang’E-5 lunar soilOPEN ACCESS 

Zhuang Guo, Chen Li, Yang Li, Yuanyun Wen, Yanxue Wu, Bojun Jia, Kairui Tai, Xiaojia Zeng, Xiongyao Li, Jianzhong Liu & Ziyuan Ouyang

Nature Communications, Volume 13, Article number: 7177


“Ferric iron as well as magnetite are rarely found in lunar samples, and their distribution and formation mechanisms on the Moon have not been well studied. Here, we discover sub-microscopic magnetite particles in Chang’E-5 lunar soil. Magnetite and pure metallic iron particles are embedded in oxygen-dissolved iron-sulfide grains from the Chang’E-5 samples. This mineral assemblage indicates a FeO eutectoid reaction (4FeO = Fe3O4 + Fe) for formation of magnetite. The iron-sulfide grains’ morphology features and the oxygen’s distribution suggest that a gas–melt phase reaction occurred during large-impact events. This could provide an effective method to form ubiquitous sub-microscopic magnetite in fine lunar soils and be a contributor to the presentation of ferric iron on the surface of the Moon. Additionally, the formation of sub-microscopic magnetite and metallic iron by eutectoid reaction may provide an alternative way for the formation of magnetic anomalies observed on the Moon.”