The lithologic diversity of the Moon recorded in lunar meteorites Northwest Africa 7611 and 10480

Haijun Cao, Jian Chen, Chengxiang Yin, Xiaohui Fu, Zongcheng Ling, Xiaochao Che

MAPS, Version of Record online: 23 January 2024


“Northwest Africa (NWA) 7611/10480 are lunar regolith breccia meteorites, composed of mineral fragments and various clasts including mare basalts, volcanic glasses, gabbroic lithologies, and a diverse variety of highland materials (ferroan anorthosite, Mg-suite, magnesian anorthosite, and alkali suite rocks) as well as different subvarieties of impact melt breccia. The Apollo two-component mixing model calculation reveals that the NWA 7611 source region contains 58 wt% mare materials and 42 wt% highland components, but the estimated mare components in NWA 10480 have a higher abundance (66 wt%). The predominantly very low-Ti (VLT) composition in both fine-grained basaltic and coarse-grained gabbroic lithologies indicates a provenance associated with a thick lava flow or a single magmatic system. The co-occurrence of zoning patterns and fine-scale exsolution lamellae in pyroxene debris supports a cryptomare deposit as the best candidate source. Phosphate Pb–Pb ages in matrix fragments, impact melt breccia, and basaltic clast indicate that the breccia NWA 7611 records geological events spanning approximately 4305–3769 Ma, which is consistent with the ages of ancient lunar VLT volcanism and the products of basin-forming impacts on the lunar nearside. The youngest reset age at ~3.2 Ga is potentially related to the strong shock lithification process of breccia NWA 7611. Moreover, the similar petrology, texture, geochemistry, cosmic-ray exposure data, and crystallization ages support that basaltic component in Yamato (Y)-793274, and Queen Alexandra Range (QUE) 94281, NWA 4884, and NWA 7611 clan came from the same basalt flow.”