4.46 Ga zircons anchor chronology of lunar magma oceanOPEN ACCESS 

J. Greer, B. Zhang, D. Isheim, D.N. Seidman, A. Bouvier, P.R. Heck

Geochemical Perspectives Letters, V27
Published 23 October 2023


“The crystallisation ages of lunar samples provide critical constraints on the minimum formation age of the Moon and its early evolution. Zircon crystals from Apollo 17 lunar impact melt breccia 72255 preserve ancient domains with a concordant average uranium-lead radiometric date of 4460 ± 31 Ma (Zhang et al., 2021), the oldest lunar zircon yet reported. To assess the possible mobility of radiogenic lead in zircon, which may lead to redistribution and clustering of Pb atoms that may cause a U-Pb age bias (Valley et al., 2014), we investigated a zircon grain from Zhang et al. (2021) by atom probe tomography (APT). The atomic spatial resolution analysis of individual mineral grains demonstrates the absence of nanoscale clustering of lead, which supports a 4.46 Ga ancient formation age for lunar zircon in sample 72255. This age pushes back the age of the first preserved lunar crust by ∼40 Myr and provides a minimum formation age for the Moon within 110 Myr after the formation of the solar system.”