History of lunar meteorites Queen Alexandra Range 93069, Asuka 881757, and Yamato 793169 based on noble gas isotopic abundances, radionuclide concentrations, and chemical composition

Christoph Thalmann, Otto Eugster, Gregory F. Herzog, Jeffrey Klein, Urs Krähenbühl, Stephan Vogt, Suizhou Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated the characteristics and history of lunar meteorites Queen Alexandra Range 93069, Yamato 793169 and Asuka 881757 based on the abundances of all stable noble gas isotopes, the concentrations of the radionuclides 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, and 81Kr, and the abundances of Mg, Al, K, Ca, Fe, Cl, Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, and La. Based on the solar wind and cosmic-ray irradiations, QUE 93069 is the most mature lunar meteorite studied up to now. The 40Ar/36Ar ratio of the trapped component is 1.87 ± 0.16. This ratio corresponds to a time when the material was exposed to solar and lunar atmospheric volatiles ∼400 Ma ago. On the other hand, Yamato 793169 and Asuka 881757 contain very little or no solar noble gases, which indicates that these materials resided in the top layer of the lunar regolith only briefly or not at all. For all lunar meteorites, we observe a positive correlation of the concentrations of cosmic-ray produced with trapped solar noble gases. The duration of lunar regolith residence for the lunar meteorites was calculated based on cosmic-ray produced 21Ne, 38Ar, 78Kr, 83Kr, and 126Xe and appropriate production rates that were derived based on the target element abundances and the shielding indicator 131Xe/126Xe. For QUE 93069, Yamato 793169, and Asuka 881757, we obtained 1000 ± 400 Ma, 50 ± 10 Ma, and <1 Ma, respectively. Both Asuka 881757 and Yamato 793169 show losses of radiogenic 4He from U and Th decay and Yamato 793169 also 40Ar loss from K-decay. For Asuka 881757, we calculate a K-Ar gas retention age of 3100 ± 600 Ma and a 244Pu-136Xe fission age of 4240 ± 170 Ma. This age is one of the oldest formation ages ever observed for a lunar basalt. The exposure history of QUE 93069 after ejection from the Moon was derived from the radionuclide concentrations: ejection 0.16 ± 0.03 Ma ago, duration of Moon-Earth transit 0.15 ± 0.02 Ma and fall on Earth <0.015 Ma ago. This ejection event is distinguished temporally from those which produced the other lunar meteorites. We conclude that six to eight events are necessary to eject all the known lunar meteorites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-868
Number of pages12
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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