Searching for nonlocal lithologies in the Apollo 12 regolith: A geochemical and petrological study of basaltic coarse fines from the Apollo lunar soil sample 12023,155

Louise Alexander*, Joshua F. Snape, Ian A. Crawford, Katherine H. Joy, Hilary Downes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

New data from a petrological and geochemical examination of 12 coarse basaltic fines from the Apollo 12 soil sample 12023,155 provide evidence of additional geochemical diversity at the landing site. In addition to the bulk chemical composition, major, minor, and trace element analyses of mineral phases are employed to ascertain how these samples relate to the Apollo 12 lithological basalt groups, thereby overcoming the problems of representativeness of small samples. All of the samples studied are low-Ti basalts (0.9-5.7 wt% TiO2), and many fall into the established olivine, pigeonite, and ilmenite classification of Apollo 12 basaltic suites. There are five exceptions: sample 12023,155_1A is mineralogically and compositionally distinct from other Apollo 12 basalt types, with low pigeonite REE concentrations and low Ni (41-55 ppm) and Mn (2400-2556 ppm) concentrations in olivine. Sample 12023,155_11A is also unique, with Fe-rich mineral compositions and low bulk Mg# (=100 × atomic Mg/[Mg+Fe]) of 21.6. Sample 12023,155_7A has different plagioclase chemistry and crystallization trends as well as a wider range of olivine Mg# (34-55) compared with other Apollo 12 basalts, and shows greater similarities to Apollo 14 high-Al basalts. Two other samples (12023,155_4A, and _5A) are similar to the Apollo 12 feldspathic basalt 12038, providing additional evidence that feldspathic basalts represent a lava flow proximal to the Apollo 12 site rather than material introduced by impacts. We suggest that at least one parent magma, and possibly as many as four separate parent magmas, are required in addition to the previously identified olivine, pigeonite, and ilmenite basaltic suites to account for the observed chemical diversity of basalts found in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1288-1304
Number of pages17
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Volume49
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

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