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Joy K.H.,The Lunar and Planetary Institute USRA | Joy K.H.,NASA | Joy K.H.,University of Manchester | Visscher C.,Dordt College | And 6 more authors.
Meteoritics and Planetary Science | Year: 2015

Lunar regolith breccias are temporal archives of magmatic and impact bombardment processes on the Moon. Apollo 16 sample 60016 is an "ancient" feldspathic regolith breccia that was converted from a soil to a rock at ~3.8Ga. The breccia contains a small (70×50μm) rock fragment composed dominantly of an Fe-oxide phase with disseminated domains of troilite. Fragments of plagioclase (An95-97), pyroxene (En74-75, Fs21-22,Wo3-4), and olivine (Fo66-67) are distributed in and adjacent to the Fe-oxide. The silicate minerals have lunar compositions that are similar to anorthosites. Mineral chemistry, synchrotron X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (XANES) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) studies demonstrate that the oxide phase is magnetite with an estimated Fe3+/ΣFe ratio of ~0.45. The presence of magnetite in 60016 indicates that oxygen fugacity during formation was equilibrated at, or above, the Fe-magnetite or wüstite-magnetite oxygen buffer. This discovery provides direct evidence for oxidized conditions on the Moon. Thermodynamic modeling shows that magnetite could have been formed from oxidization-driven mineral replacement of Fe-metal or desulphurisation from Fe-sulfides (troilite) at low temperatures (<570°C) in equilibrium with H2O steam/liquid or CO2 gas. Oxidizing conditions may have arisen from vapor transport during degassing of a magmatic source region, or from a hybrid endogenic-exogenic process when gases were released during an impacting asteroid or comet impact. © The Meteoritical Society, 2015.

Joy K.H.,University of Manchester | Crawford I.A.,University of London | Curran N.M.,University of Manchester | Zolensky M.,The Lunar and Planetary Institute USRA | And 3 more authors.
Earth, Moon and Planets | Year: 2016

The Moon is an archive of impact cratering in the Solar System throughout the past 4.5 billion years. It preserves this record better than larger, more complex planets like the Earth, Mars and Venus, which have largely lost their ancient crusts through geological reprocessing and hydrospheric/atmospheric weathering. Identifying the parent bodies of impactors (i.e. asteroid bodies, comets from the Kuiper belt or the Oort Cloud) provides geochemical and chronological constraints for models of Solar System dynamics, helping to better inform our wider understanding of the evolution of the Solar System and the transfer of small bodies between planets. In this review article, we discuss the evidence for populations of impactors delivered to the Moon at different times in the past. We also propose approaches to the identification and characterisation of meteoritic material on the Moon in the context of future lunar exploration efforts. © 2016, The Author(s).

Joy K.H.,The Lunar and Planetary Institute USRA | Joy K.H.,NASA | Kring D.A.,The Lunar and Planetary Institute USRA | Kring D.A.,NASA | And 4 more authors.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta | Year: 2011

The lunar regolith is exposed to irradiation from the solar wind and to bombardment by asteroids, comets and inter-planetary dust. Fragments of projectiles in the lunar regolith can potentially provide a direct measure of the sources of exogenous material being delivered to the Moon. Constraining the temporal flux of their delivery helps to address key questions about the bombardment history of the inner Solar System. Here, we use a revised antiquity calibration (after Eugster et al., 2001) that utilises the ratio of trapped 40Ar/36Ar ('parentless' 40Ar derived from radioactive decay of 40K, against solar wind derived 36Ar) to semi-quantitatively calculate the timing of the assembly of the Apollo 16 regolith breccias. We use the trapped 40Ar/36Ar ratios reported by Mckay et al. (1986). Our model indicates that the Apollo 16 ancient regolith breccia population was formed between ∼3.8 and 3.4Ga, consistent with regoliths developed and assembled after the Imbrium basin-forming event at ∼3.85Ga, and during a time of declining basin-forming impacts. The material contained within the ancient samples potentially provides evidence of impactors delivered to the Moon in the Late-Imbrian epoch. We also find that a young regolith population was assembled, probably by local impacts in the Apollo 16 area, in the Eratosthenian period between ∼2.5 and 2.2Ga, providing insights to the sources of post-basin bombardment. The 'soil-like' regolith breccia population, and the majority of local Apollo 16 soils, were likely closed in the last 2Ga and, therefore, potentially provide an archive of projectile types in the Eratosthenian and Copernican periods. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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