Discovery of abundant shock-induced metallic lead nanograins in lunar zirconolite

Ai-Cheng Zhang, Hao-Xuan Sun, Tian-ran Trina Du, Jia-Ni Chen, Li-Xin Gu

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Available online 21 April 2024


“The behaviors of radiogenic Pb in Zr-minerals are critical for reconstructing the chronological framework for the evolutionary history of our Earth and other planetary bodies. Previous investigations have revealed the presence of Pb nanograins in some terrestrial zircons and attributed it to radiation decay of U and mobilization and accumulation in zircon and a subsequent thermal metamorphic event. However, whether impact, a ubiquitous and fundamental process for the evolution of materials on planetary surfaces, can directly produce Pb nanograins in Zr-minerals remains unknown. Here, we report the discovery of abundant metallic Pb nanograins in zirconolite polycrystalline aggregates in the brecciated lunar meteorite Northwest Africa 8182. We propose that the metallic Pb nanograins and their host zirconolite polycrystalline aggregates formed during shock lithification of the host meteorite, which had a significant impact on micro-scale U-Pb isotopic chronology of shocked Zr-minerals. The formation of metallic Pb nanograins also indicates that a reduction of PbO took place during shock metamorphism.”