Lunar Meteorite Source Regions and Craters

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Lunar Meteorite Source Regions and Craters

A question and issue of great interest is where do the lunar meteorites come from? Cosmic ray exposure age data, bulk compositional and age dating can be used to determine whether some meteorites may be source or launch paired - that is if they were derived from the same impact event on the lunar surface. There are a few large groups of meteorites that have been placed in this category. For example, the Yamato 793169 - Asuka 881757 - MET 01210 - MIL 05035 grouping is suggested to be sourced paired (Arai et al., 2009) based on similar REE abundances, crystallization ages (approx. 3.8- 3.9 Ga), and isotopic compositions (low U/Pb, low Rb/Sr, and high Sm/Nd). Similarly, the LaPaz Icefield basalts and the NWA 032/479 samples are thought to be launch paired on the basis of bulk composition, age and cosmic ray exposure age data (Ziegler et al., 2006). Finally, the Yamato 981031 - QUE 94281 - NWA 4884 are also thought to be launch or source crater paired on the basis of their unique petrology, geochemistry (Korotev, 2005, Korotev et al., 2009b), and could be from a mare-highlands edge or cryptomare region.

Specific locations have been suggested for some lunar meteorites based on comparison of compositions with available spacecraft data such as Th, FeO, or other elemental parameters.

South polar region:

Dhofar 961 has been proposed to be from the South Pole - Aitken basin (Jolliff et al., 2008, 2009). Two other samples - Calcalong Creek and Y983885 are also proposed to be possibly from SPA (Corrigan et al., 2009).


Many lunar meteorites have been proposed to be from the lunar farside based on their low Th contents and feldspathic nature - Dho 489 (Takeda et al., 2007), Dhofar 11 081, 303 (Corrigan et al., 2009), SaU 300 (Hudgins et al., 2007; Hsu et al., 2008), and Kalahari 008 and 009 (Sokol et al., 2008).


Several samples have been proposed to be from the lunar nearside, based on the magnitude of the incompatible elements such as Th. SaU 169 is REE enriched and seems a good candidate for originating near the PKT on the nearside (Gnos et al., 2005). Dhofar 1180 on the other hand is proposed to be from the nearside, but not close to the PKT (Zhang and Hsu, 2009). A few lunar meteorites are suggested to have originated from the nearside and close to Apollo sites. For examples, the LAP and NWA 032/479 basalts are thought to be related to the Apollo 12 basalt suites (Ziegler et al., 2007; Righter et al., 2005; Joy et al., 2007). And NEA 003 bulk composition is very similar to samples from Mare Serenitatis (Corrigan et al., 2009; Haloda et al., 2006) high Ca/Mg basalt.


The source of the YAMM meteorites is likely a terrain of locally high mare highland mixing within a cryptomare (Arai et al., 2009). Searches for a possible source crater of the YAMM meteorites within the well-defined cryptomare, resulted in an unnamed 1.4 km-diameter crater (53°W, 44.5°S) on the floor of the Schickard crater as a suitable source for the YAMM meteorites (Arai et al., 2009). A different study has identified other potential source areas based on Th, FeO and TiO2 contents; they identify at least four possibilities that are all outside of the PKT area, and include Mare Crisum, Tsiolkovsky and Humorum (Joy et al., 2008).

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