Re-evaluating 142Nd/144Nd in lunar mare basalts with implications for the early evolution and bulk Sm/Nd of the Moon

Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1215 W. Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (Impact Factor: 4.25). 10/2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.07.015

ABSTRACT The Moon likely accreted from melt and vapor ejected during a cataclysmic collision between Proto-Earth and a Mars-sized impactor very early in solar system history. The identical W, O, K, and Cr isotope compositions between materials from the Earth and Moon require that the material from the two bodies were well-homogenized during the collision process. As such, the ancient isotopic signatures preserved in lunar samples provide constraints on the bulk composition of the Earth. Two recent studies to obtain high-precision 142Nd/144Nd ratios of lunar mare basalts yielded contrasting results. In one study, after correction of neutron fluence effects imparted to the Nd isotope compositions of the samples, the coupled 142Nd–143Nd systematics were interpreted to be consistent with a bulk Moon having a chondritic Sm/Nd ratio [Rankenburg K., Brandon A. D. and Neal C. R. (2006) Neodymium isotope evidence for a chondritic composition of the Moon. Science312, 1369–1372]. The other study found that their data on the same and similar lunar mare basalts were consistent with a bulk Moon having a superchondritic Sm/Nd ratio [Boyet M. and Carlson R. W. (2007) A highly depleted Moon or a non-magma origin for the lunar crust? Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.262, 505–516]. Delineating between these two potential scenarios has key ramifications for a comprehensive understanding of the formation and early evolution of the Moon and for constraining the types of materials available for accretion into large terrestrial planets such as Earth.To further examine this issue, the same six lunar mare basalt samples measured in Rankenburg et al. [Rankenburg K., Brandon A. D. and Neal C. R. (2006) Neodymium isotope evidence for a chondritic composition of the Moon. Science312, 1369–1372] were re-measured for high-precision Nd isotopes using a multidynamic routine with reproducible internal and external precisions to better than ±3 ppm (2σ) for 142Nd/144Nd ratios. The measurements were repeated in a distinct second analytical campaign to further test their reproducibility. Evaluation of accuracy and neutron fluence corrections indicates that the multidynamic Nd isotope measurements in this study and the 3 in Boyet and Carlson [Boyet M. and Carlson R. W. (2007) A highly depleted Moon or a non-magma origin for the lunar crust? Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.262, 505–516] are reproducible, while static measurements in the previous two studies show analytical artifacts and cannot be used at the resolution of 10 ppm to determine a bulk Moon with either chondritic or superchondritic Sm/Nd ratios. The multidynamic data are best explained by a bulk Moon with a superchondritic Sm/Nd ratio that is similar to the present-day average for depleted MORB. Hafnium isotope data were collected on the same aliquots measured for their 142Nd/144Nd isotope ratios in order to assess if the correlation line for 142Nd–143Nd systematics reflect mixing processes or times at which lunar mantle sources formed. Based on the combined 142Nd–143Nd–176Hf obtained we conclude that the 142Nd–143Nd correlation line measured in this study is best interpreted as an isochron with an age of 229+24−20Ma after the onset of nebular condensation. The uncertainties in the data permit the sources of these samples to have formed over a 44 Ma time interval. These new results for lunar mare basalts are thus consistent with a later Sm–Nd isotope closure time of their source regions than some recent studies have postulated, and a superchondritic bulk Sm/Nd ratio of the Moon and Earth. The superchondritic Sm/Nd signature was inherited from the materials that accreted to make up the Earth–Moon system. Although collisional erosion of crust from planetesimals is favored here to remove subchondritic Sm/Nd portions and drive the bulk of these bodies to superchondritic in composition, removal of explosive basalt material via gravitational escape from such bodies, or chondrule sorting in the inner solar system, may also explain the compositional features that deviate from average chondrites that make up the Earth–Moon system. This inferred superchondritic nature for the Earth similar to the modern convecting mantle means that there is no reason to invoke a missing, subchondritic reservoir to mass balance the Earth back to chondritic for Sm/Nd ratios. However, to account for the subchondritic Sm/Nd ratios of continental crust, a second superchondritic Sm/Nd mantle reservoir is required.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have measured Sm-Nd systematics, including the short-lived 146Sm-142Nd chronometer, in lunar ferroan anorthositic suite (FAS) whole rocks (15415, 62236, 62255, 65315, 60025). At least some members of the suite are thought to be primary crystallization products formed by plagioclase flotation during crystallization of the lunar magma ocean (LMO). Most of these samples, except 62236, have not been exposed to galactic cosmic rays for a long period and thus require minimal correction to their 142Nd isotope composition. These samples all have measured deficits in 142Nd relative to the JNdi-1 terrestrial standard in the range -45 to -21 ppm. The range is -45 to -15 ppm once the 62236 142Nd/144Nd ratio is corrected from neutron-capture effects. Analyzed FAS samples do not define a single isochron in either 146Sm-142Nd or 147Sm-143Nd systematics, suggesting that they either do not have the same crystallization age, come from different sources, or have suffered isotopic disturbance. Because the age is not known for some samples, we explore the implications of their initial isotopic compositions for crystallization ages in the range of 50-300 Ma after the beginning of accretion, a timing interval that covers all the ages determined for the ferroan anorthositic suite whole rocks as well as different estimates for the crystallization of the LMO. 62255 has the largest deficit in initial 142Nd and does not appear to have followed the same differentiation path as the other FAS samples. The large deficit in 142Nd of FAN 62255 may suggest a crystallization age around 60-125 Ma after the beginning of solar system accretion. This result provides essential information about the age of the giant impact forming the Moon. The initial Nd isotopic compositions of FAS samples can be matched either with a bulk-Moon with chondritic Sm/Nd ratio but enstatite-chondrite-like initial 142Nd/144Nd (e.g. 10 ppm below modern terrestrial), or a bulk-Moon with superchondritic Sm/Nd ratio and initial 142Nd/144Nd similar to ordinary chondrites.
    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 12/2014; 148. DOI:10.1016/j.gca.2014.09.021 · 4.25 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: New Rb-Sr, (146,147)Sm-(142,143)Nd and Lu-Hf isotopic analyses of Mg-suite lunar crustal rocks 67667, 76335, 77215 and 78238, including an internal isochron for norite 77215, were undertaken to better define the time and duration of lunar crust formation and the history of the source materials of the Mg-suite. Isochron ages determined in this study for 77215 are: Rb-Sr=4450±270 Ma, (147)Sm-(143)Nd=4283±23 Ma and Lu-Hf=4421±68 Ma. The data define an initial (146)Sm/(144)Sm ratio of 0.00193±0.00092 corresponding to ages between 4348 and 4413 Ma depending on the half-life and initial abundance used for (146)Sm. The initial Nd and Hf isotopic compositions of all samples indicate a source region with slight enrichment in the incompatible elements in accord with previous suggestions that the Mg-suite crustal rocks contain a component of KREEP. The Sm/Nd-(142)Nd/(144)Nd correlation shown by both ferroan anorthosite and Mg-suite rocks is coincident with the trend defined by mare and KREEP basalts, the slope of which corresponds to ages between 4.35 and 4.45 Ga. These data, along with similar ages for various early Earth differentiation events, are in accord with the model of lunar formation via giant impact into Earth at ca 4.4 Ga.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 09/2014; 372(2024). DOI:10.1098/rsta.2013.0246 · 2.86 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Mg-suite represents an enigmatic episode of lunar highlands magmatism that presumably represents the first stage of crustal building following primordial differentiation. This review examines the mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology, chronology, and the planetary-scale distribution of this suite of highlands plutonic rocks, presents models for their origin, examines petrogenetic relationships to other highlands rocks, and explores the link between this style of magmatism and early stages of lunar differentiation. Of the models considered for the origin of the parent magmas for the Mg-suite, the data best fit a process in which hot (solidus temperature at ≥2 GPa = 1600 to 1800 °C) and less dense (r ~3100 kg/m 3) early lunar magma ocean cumulates rise to the base of the crust during cumulate pile overturn. Some decompressional melting would occur, but placing a hot cumulate horizon adjacent to the plagioclase-rich primordial crust and KREEP-rich lithologies (at temperatures of <1300 °C) would result in the hybridization of these divergent primordial lithologies, producing Mg-suite parent magmas. As urKREEP (primeval KREEP) is not the "petrologic driver" of this style of magmatism, outside of the Procellarum KREEP Terrane (PKT), Mg-suite magmas are not required to have a KREEP signature. Evaluation of the chronology of this episode of highlands evolution indicates that Mg-suite magmatism was initiated soon after primordial differentiation (<10 m.y.). Alternatively, the thermal event associated with the mantle overturn may have disrupted the chronometers utilized to date the primordial crust. Petrogenetic relationships between the Mg-suite and other highlands suites (e.g., alkali-suite and magnesian anorthositic granulites) are consistent with both fractional crystallization processes and melting of distinctly different hybrid sources.
    American Mineralogist 01/2015; 100:294-325. DOI:10.2138/am-2015-4817 · 2.06 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 16, 2014