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Day, JMD, Taylor LA, Floss C, Patchen AD, Schnare DW, Pearson DG.  2006.  Comparative petrology, geochemistry, and petrogenesis of evolved, low-Ti lunar mare basalt meteorites from the LaPaz Icefield, Antarctica. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 70:1581-1600.   10.1016/j.gca.2005.11.015   AbstractWebsite

New data is presented for five evolved, low-Ti lunar mare basalt meteorites from the LaPaz Icefield, Antarctica, LAP 02205, LAP 02224, LAP 02226, LAP 02436, and LAP 03632. These basalts have nearly identical mineralogies, textures, and geochemical compositions, and are therefore considered to be paired. The LaPaz basalts contain olivine (Fo(64-2)) and pyroxene (Fs(32)Wo(8)En(60) to Fs(84-86)Wo(15)En(2-0)) crystals that record extreme chemical fractionation to Fe-enrichment at the rims, and evidence for silicate liquid immiscibility and incompatible element enrichment in the mesostasis. The basalts also contain FeNi metals with unusually high Co and Ni contents, similar to some Apollo 12 basalts, and a single-phase network of melt veins and fusion crusts. The fusion crust has similar chemical characteristics to the whole rock for the LaPaz basalts, whereas the melt veins represent localized melting of the basalt and have an endogenous origin. The crystallization conditions and evolved nature of the LaPaz basalts are consistent with fractionation of olivine and chromite from a parental liquid similar in composition to some olivine-phyric Apollo 12 and Apollo 15 basalts or lunar low-Ti pyroclastic glasses. However, the young reported ages for the LaPaz mare basalts (similar to 2.9 Ga) and their relative incompatible element enrichment compared to Apollo mare basalts and pyroclastic glasses indicate they cannot be directly related. Instead, the LaPaz mare basalts may represent fractionated melts from a magmatic system fed by similar degrees of partial melting of a mantle source similar to that of the low-Ti Apollo mare basalts or pyroclastic glasses, but which possessed greater incompatible element enrichment. Despite textural differences, the LaPaz basalts and mare basalt meteorite NWA 032 have similar ages and compositions and may originate from the same magmatic system on the Moon. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Day, JMD, Ash RD, Liu Y, Bellucci JJ, Rumble D, McDonough WF, Walker RJ, Taylor LA.  2009.  Early formation of evolved asteroidal crust. Nature. 457:179-182.   10.1038/nature07651   AbstractWebsite

Mechanisms for the formation of crust on planetary bodies remain poorly understood(1). It is generally accepted that Earth's andesitic continental crust is the product of plate tectonics(1,2), whereas the Moon acquired its feldspar- rich crust by way of plagioclase flotation in a magma ocean(3,4). Basaltic meteorites provide evidence that, like the terrestrial planets, some asteroids generated crust and underwent large- scale differentiation processes(5). Until now, however, no evolved felsic asteroidal crust has been sampled or observed. Here we report age and compositional data for the newly discovered, paired and differentiated meteorites Graves Nunatak ( GRA) 06128 and GRA 06129. These meteorites are feldspar- rich, with andesite bulk compositions. Their age of 4.5+/-0.06 Gyr demonstrates formation early in Solar System history. The isotopic and elemental compositions, degree of metamorphic re-equilibration and sulphide- rich nature of the meteorites are most consistent with an origin as partial melts from a volatile- rich, oxidized asteroid. GRA 06128 and 06129 are the result of a newly recognized style of evolved crust formation, bearing witness to incomplete differentiation of their parent asteroid and to previously unrecognized diversity of early- formed materials in the Solar System.

Day, JMD, Floss C, Taylor LA, Anand M, Patchen AD.  2006.  Evolved mare basalt magmatism, high Mg/Fe feldspathic crust, chondritic impactors, and the petrogenesis of Antarctic lunar breccia meteorites Meteorite Hills 01210 and Pecora Escarpment 02007. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 70:5957-5989.   10.1016/j.gca.2006.05.001   AbstractWebsite

Antarctic lunar meteorites Meteorite Hills 01210 and Pecora Escarpment 02007 are breccias that come from different regolith lithologies on the Moon. MET 01210 is composed predominantly of fractionated low-Ti basaltic material and is classified as an immature, predominantly basaltic glassy matrix regolith breccia. PCA 02007 is a predominantly feldspathic regolith breccia consisting of metamorphosed feldspathic, noritic, troctolitic and noritic-anorthosite clasts, agglutinate and impact-glasses, as well as a number of basaltic clasts with mare and possible non-mare affinities. The basalt clasts in MET 0 12 10 have undergone 'Fenner' trend enrichments in iron and may also have witnessed late-stage crystallization of zircon or a zirconium-rich mineral. Some of the features of MET 0 1210 are similar to other basaltic lunar breccia meteorites (e.g., Northwest Africa 773; Elephant Moraine 87521/96008; Yamato 793274/981031), but it is not paired with them. The presence of metamorphic anorthositic clasts as well as agglutinates indicates a small regolith component. Similarities with previously discovered evolved (e.g., LaPaz Icefield 02205; Northwest Africa 032) and ferroan (e.g., Asuka 881757; Yamato 793169) basaltic lunar meteorites suggest a similar mare source region for MET 01210. Despite lack of evidence for pairing, PCA 02007 shares many features with other feldspathic regolith breccias (e.g., Yamato 791197, Queen Alexandra Range 94281), including a high Mg/Fe whole-rock composition, glass spherules, agglutinate fragments and a diverse clast inventory spanning the range of ferroan anorthosite and high magnesium suite rocks. Some of the basalt fragments in this sample are fractionated and have an igneous origin. However, the majority of the basalt fragments are impact melt clasts. PCA 02007 supports previous studies of feldspathic lunar meteorites that have suggested an aluminous crust for the Moon, with compositions more similar to magnesium granulite breccias than ferroan anorthosites. A 'chondrule-like' fragment found in PCA 02007 and unlike any previously described lunar material is described and tentatively identified as the remnants of a chondritic lunar impactor. This clast is porphyritic with equant olivines that have forsterite-rich cores (Fo(> 98)), extreme normal zonation to more fayalitic rims (Fo(> 44)), and a mineral assemblage with rare earth element abundances distinct from described lunar material and more similar to chondrules found in ordinary or carbonaceous chondrites. Its discovery and description is significant for understanding the composition of lunar impactors. Previously, the main evidence for chondritic lunar impactors was from chondritic relative abundances and near chondritic ratios of highly siderophile elements in lunar impact melt breccias. However, the presence of this clast, along with two other chondritic clasts from Apollo soils 12037 and 15602, provides clues to the identity of ancient meteorite impactors on the Moon. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Schnare, DW, Day JMD, Norman MD, Liu Y, Taylor LA.  2008.  A laser-ablation ICP-MS study of Apollo 15 low-titanium olivine-normative and quartz-normative mare basalts. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 72:2556-2572.   10.1016/j.gca.2008.02.021   AbstractWebsite

Apollo 15 low-Ti mare basalts have traditionally been subdivided into olivine- and quartz-normative basalt types, based on their different SiO(2), FeO, and TiO(2) whole-rock compositions. Previous studies have reconciled this compositional diversity by considering the olivine- and quartz-normative basalts as originating from different lunar mantle source regions. To provide new information on the compositions of Apollo 15 low-Ti mare basalt parental magmas, we report a study of major and trace-element compositions of whole rocks, pyroxenes, and other phases in the olivine-normative basalts 15016 and 15555 and quartz-normative basalts 15475 and 15499. Results show similar rare-earth-element patterns in pyroxenes from all four basalts. The estimated equilibrium parental-melt compositions from the trace-element compositions of pyroxenes are similar for 15016, 15555 and 15499. Additionally, an independent set of trace-element distribution coefficients has been determined from measured pyroxene and mesostasis compositions in sample 15499. These data suggest that fractional crystallization may be a viable alternative to compositional differences in the mantle source to explain the similar to 25% difference in whole-rock TiO(2), and corresponding differences in SiO(2) and FeO between the Apollo 15 olivine- and quartz-normative basalts. In this model, the older (similar to 3.35 Ga) quartz-normative basalts, with lower TiO(2) experienced olivine, chromite, and Cr-ulvospinel fractionation at 'crustal levels' in magma chambers or dikes, followed by limited near-surface mineral fractionation, within the lava flows. In contrast, the younger (similar to 3.25 Ga) olivine-normative basalts experienced only limited magmatic differentiation at 'crustal-levels', but extensive near-surface mineral fractionation to produce their evolved mineral compositions. A two-stage mineral-fractionation model is consistent with textural and mineralogical observations, as well as the mineral trace-element constraints developed by this study. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Day, JMD, Walker RJ, James OB, Puchtel IS.  2010.  Osmium isotope and highly siderophile element systematics of the lunar crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 289:595-605.   10.1016/j.epsl.2009.12.001   AbstractWebsite

Coupled (187)Os/(188)Os and highly siderophile element (HSE: Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Pd, and Re) abundance data are reported for pristine lunar crustal rocks 60025, 62255, 65315 (ferroan anorthosites, FAN) and 76535, 78235, 77215 and a norite clast in 15455 (magnesian-suite rocks, MGS). Osmium isotopes permit more refined discrimination than previously possible of samples that have been contaminated by meteoritic additions and the new results show that some rocks, previously identified as pristine, contain meteorite-derived HSE. Low HSE abundances in FAN and MGS rocks are consistent with derivation from a strongly HSE-depleted lunar mantle. At the time of formation, the lunar floatation crust, represented by FAN, had 1.4 +/- 0.3 pg g(-1) Os, 1.5 +/- 0.6 pg g(-1) Ir, 6.8 +/- 2.7 pg g(-1) Ru, 16 +/- 15 pg g(-1) Pt,33 +/- 30 pg g(-1) Pd and 0.29 +/- 0.10 pg g(-1) Re (similar to 0.00002 x Cl) and Re/Os ratios that were modestly elevated ((187)Re/(188)Os = 0.6 to 1.7) relative to Cl chondrites. MGS samples are, on average, characterised by more elevated HSE abundances (similar to 0.00007 x Cl) compared with FAN. This either reflects contrasting mantle-source HSE characteristics of FAN and MGS rocks, or different mantle-crust HSE fractionation behaviour during production of these lithologies. Previous studies of lunar impact-melt rocks have identified possible elevated Ru and Pd in lunar crustal target rocks. The new results provide no supporting evidence for such enrichments. If maximum estimates for HSE in the lunar mantle are compared with FAN and MGS averages, crust-mantle concentration ratios (D-values) must be <= 0.3. Such D-values are broadly similar to those estimated for partitioning between the terrestrial crust and upper mantle, with the notable exception of Re.Given the presumably completely different mode of origin for the primary lunar floatation crust and tertiary terrestrial continental crust, the potential similarities in crust-mantle HSE partitioning for the Earth and Moon are somewhat surprising. Low HSE abundances in the lunar crust, coupled with estimates of HSE concentrations in the lunar mantle implies there may be a 'missing component' of late-accreted materials (as much as 95%) to the Moon if the Earth/Moon mass-flux estimates are correct and terrestrial mantle HSE abundances were established by late accretion. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Spicuzza, MJ, Day JMD, Taylor LA, Valley JW.  2007.  Oxygen isotope constraints on the origin and differentiation of the Moon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 253:254-265.   10.1016/j.epsl.2006.10.030   AbstractWebsite

We report new high-precision laser fluorination three-isotope oxygen data for lunar materials. Terrestrial silicates with a range of delta O-18 values (-0.5 to 22.9 parts per thousand) were analyzed to independently determine the slope of the terrestrial fractionation line (TFL; lambda = 0.5259 +/- 0.0008; 95% confidence level). This new TFL determination allows direct comparison of lunar oxygen isotope systematics with those of Earth. Values of Delta O-17 for Apollo 12, 15, and 17 basalts and Luna 24 soil samples average 0.01 parts per thousand and are indistinguishable from the TFL. The delta O-18 values of high- and low-Ti lunar basalts are distinct. Average whole-rock delta O-18 values for low-Ti lunar basalts from the Apollo 12 (5.72 +/- 0.06 parts per thousand) and Apollo 15 landing sites (5.65 +/- 0.12 parts per thousand) are identical within error and are markedly higher than Apollo 17 high-Ti basalts (5.46 +/- 0.11 parts per thousand). Evolved low-Ti LaPaz mare-basalt meteorite delta O-18 values (5.67 +/- 0.05 parts per thousand) are in close agreement with more primitive low-Ti Apollo 12 and 15 mare basalts. Modeling of lunar mare-basalt source composition indicates that the high- and low-Ti mare-basalt mantle reservoirs were in oxygen isotope equilibrium and that variations in delta O-18 do not result from fractional crystallization. Instead, these differences are consistent with mineralogically heterogeneous mantle sources for mare basalts, and with lunar magma ocean differentiation models that result in a thick feldspathic crust, an olivine-pyroxene-rich mantle, and late-stage ilmenite-rich zones that were convectively mixed into deeper portions of the lunar mantle. Higher average delta O-18 (WR) values of low-Ti basalts compared to terrestrial mid ocean ridge basalts (Delta=0.18 parts per thousand) suggest a possible oxygen isotopic difference between the terrestrial and lunar mantles. However, calculations of the delta O-18 of lunar mantle olivine in this study are only 0.05 parts per thousand higher than terrestrial mantle olivine. These observations may have important implications for understanding the formation of the Earth-Moon system. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.