Case study of magmatic differentiation trends on the Moon based on lunar meteorite Northwest Africa 773 and comparison with Apollo 15 quartz monzodiorite

Timothy J. Fagan*, Daiju Kashima, Yuki Wakabayashi, Akiko Suginohara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Pyroxene and feldspar compositions indicate that most clasts from the Northwest Africa 773 (NWA 773) lunar meteorite breccia crystallized from a common very low-Ti (VLT) mare basalt parental magma on the Moon. An olivine cumulate (OC), with low-Ca and high-Ca pyroxenes and plagioclase feldspar formed during early stages of crystallization, followed by pyroxene gabbro, which is characterized by zoned pyroxene (Fe#=molar Fe/(Fe+Mg)×100 from ~35 to 90; Ti#=molar Ti/(Ti+Cr)×100 from ~20 to 99) and feldspar (~An90-95Ab05-10 to An80-85Ab10-16). Late stage lithologies include alkali-poor symplectite consisting of fayalite, hedenbergitic pyroxene and silica, and alkaline-phase-ferroan clasts characterized by K-rich glass and/or K,Ba-feldspar with fayalite and/or pyroxene. Igneous silica only occurs with the alkaline-phase-ferroan clasts. This sequence of clasts represents stages of magmatic evolution along a ferroan-titanian trend characterized by correlated Fe# and Ti# in pyroxene, and a wide range of increase in Fe# and Ti# prior to crystallization of igneous silica.Clasts of Apollo 15 quartz monzodiorite (QMD) also have pyroxene co-existing with silica, but the QMD pyroxene has more moderate Fe# (~70). Thus, in AFM components (A=Na2O+K2O, M=MgO, F=FeO), the QMD clasts are similar to the terrestrial calc-alkaline trend (silica-enrichment at moderate Fe#), whereas the ferroan-titanian trend is similar to the terrestrial tholeiitic trend (silica-enrichment only after strong increase in Fe#). However, the variations in SiO2-contents of QMD clasts are due to variable mixing of SiO2-rich and FeO-rich immiscible liquids (i.e., not a progressive increase in SiO2). Immiscibility occurred after fractionation of a KREEP-rich parent liquid.A third trend is based on zoning relations within the NWA 773 OC, where pyroxene Ti# increases at constant Fe# with proximity to intercumulus, incompatible element-rich pockets rich in K,Ba-feldspar and Ca-phosphates. This type of fractionation (increasing refractory trace elements at constant Fe#) in a cumulate parent rock may have been important for generating lunar rocks that combine low Fe# with high incompatible trace element concentrations, such as KREEP basalts and the magnesian suite.MELTS (Ghiorso and Sack, 1995; Asimow and Ghiorso, 1998) models of one VLT, one low-Ti and two high-Ti mare basalts and one KREEP basalt all show evolution from low to high Fe# residual liquids during fractional crystallization; however strong enrichments in FeO-concentrations are limited to the VLT and low-Ti liquids. In the high-Ti liquids, crystallization of Fe-Ti-oxides prevents enrichment in FeO, and the increases in Fe# are due to depletion of MgO. Fe-Ti-oxide fractionation results in steady silica-enrichment in the high-Ti mare compositions. Intervals of FeO-enrichment on the VLT and low-Ti mare liquid lines of descent are linked to shifts from olivine to pyroxene crystallization. The onset of plagioclase feldspar crystallization limits the depletion of FeO during crystallization of one high-Ti mare basalt and of the KREEP basalt composition modeled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-127
Number of pages31
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May 15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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