• Northwest Africa 773: Lunar origin and iron-enrichment trend

      Fagan, T. J.; Taylor, G. J.; Keil, K.; Hicks, T. L.; Killgore, M.; Bunch, T. E.; Wittke, J. H.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Clayton, R. N.; Mayeda, T. K.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      The meteorite Northwest Africa 773 (NWA 773) is a lunar sample with implications for the evolution of mafic magmas on the moon. A combination of key parameters including whole-rock oxygen isotopic composition, Fe/Mn ratios in mafic silicates, noble gas concentrations, a KREEP-like rare earth element pattern, and the presence of regolith agglutinate fragments indicate a lunar origin for NWA 773. Partial maskelynitization of feldspar and occasional twinning of pyroxene are attributed to shock deformation. Terrestrial weathering has caused fracturing and precipitation of Carich carbonates and sulfates in the fractures, but lunar minerals appear fresh and unoxidized. The meteorite is composed of two distinct lithologies: a two-pyroxene olivine gabbro with cumulate texture, and a polymict, fragmental regolith breccia. The olivine gabbro is dominated by cumulate olivine with pigeonite, augite, and interstitial plagioclase feldspar. The breccia consists of several types of clasts but is dominated by clasts from the gabbro and more FeO-rich derivatives. Variations in clast mineral assemblage and pyroxene Mg/(Mg + Fe) and Ti/(Ti + Cr) record an igneous Fe-enrichment trend that culminated in crystallization of fayalite + silica + hedenbergitebearing symplectites. The Fe-enrichment trend and cumulate textures observed in NWA 773 are similar to features of terrestrial ponded lava flows and shallow-level mafic intrusives, indicating that NWA 773 may be from a layered mafic intrusion or a thick, differentiated lava flow. NWA 773 and several other mafic lunar meteorites have LREE-enriched patters distinct from Apollo and Luna mare basalts, which tend to be LREE-depleted. This is somewhat surprising in light of remote sensing data that indicates that the Apollo and Luna missions sampled a portion of the moon that was enriched in incompatible heatproducing elements.
    • Solar wind and other gases in the regoliths of the Pesyanoe parent object and the moon

      Mathew, K. J.; Marti, K. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      We report new data from Pesyanoe-90,1 (dark lithology) on the isotopic signature of solar wind (SW) Xe as recorded in this enstatite achondrite which represents a soil-breccia of an asteroidal regolith. The low temperature (less than or equal to 800 degrees C) steps define the Pesyanoe-S xenon component, which is isotopically consistent with SW Xe reported for the lunar regolith. This implies that the SW Xe isotopic signature was the same at two distinct solar system locations and, importantly, also at different times of solar irradiation. Further, we compare the calculated average solar wind "SW-Xe" signature to Chass-S Xe, the indigenous Xe observed in SNC (Mars) meteorites. Again, a close agreement between these compositions is observed, which implies that a mass-dependent differential fractionation of Xe between SW-Xe and Chass-S Xe is <1.5 ppm per amu. We also observe fractionated (Pesyanoe-F) Xe and Ar components in higher temperature steps and we document a fission component due to extinct 244Pu. Interestingly, the Pesyanoe-F Xe component is revealed only at the highest temperatures (>1200 degrees C). The Pesyanoe-F gas reveals Xe isotopic signatures that are consistent with lunar solar energetic particles (SEP) data and may indicate a distinct solar energetic particle radiation as was inferred for the moon. However, we cannot rule out fractionation processes due to parent body processes. We note that ratios 36Ar/38Ar less than or equal to 5 are also consistent with SEP data. Calculated abundances of the fission component correlate well with radiogenic 40Ar concentrations, revealing rather constant 244Pu/K ratios in Pesyanoe, and separates thereof, and indicate that both components were retained. We identify a nitrogen component (delta-15N = 44 ppm) of non-solar origin with an isotopic signature distinct from indigenous N (delta-15N = -33 ppm). While large excesses at 128Xe and 129Xe are observed in the lunar regolith samples, these excesses in Pesyanoe are small. On the other hand, significant 126Xe isotopic excesses, comparable to relative excesses observed in lunar soils and breccias, are prominent in the intermediate temperature steps of Pesyanoe-90,1.