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Phosphate ages in Apollo 14 breccias: Resolving multiple impact events with high precision U-Pb SIMS analyses
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology. (Early Planetary Evolution)
Curtin University.
Curtin University.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology. (Early Planetary Evolution)
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2016 (English)In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, ISSN 0016-7037, E-ISSN 1872-9533, Vol. 174, 13-29 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The U-Pb systems of apatite and merrillite grains within four separate Apollo 14 impact melt breccia samples were analysed by secondary ion mass spectrometry. No systematic difference was identified between the 207Pb/206Pb ages of the apatites and merrillites. A combined 207Pb/206Pb age of 3927±2 Ma (95% conf.) is determined for three of these samples (14305,103: 3926±4 Ma; 14306,150: 3926±6 Ma; 14314,13: 3929±4 Ma). By combining these data with the ages previously obtained for zircons in Apollo 12 impact melt breccia fragments and the lunar meteorite SaU 169, a weighted average age of 3926±2 Ma (95% conf.) is obtained, which is attributed to the formation of the Imbrium basin. An age of 3943±5 Ma is determined for the fourth breccia (14321,134), which is similar to ages of 3946±15 Ma and 3958±19 Ma, obtained from several older phosphates in 14305,103 and 14314,13. The weighted average of these three older ages is 3944±4 Ma (95% conf.). This is indistinguishable to the age (3938±4 Ma; 2σ) obtained for a different Apollo 14 impact melt breccia in a previous study. After investigating likely sources for this older ~3940 Ma age, we conclude that the Humorum or Serenitatis basin forming events are likely candidates. The potential identification of two large impact events within ~15 Myrs has important implications for the rate of lunar bombardment around 3.95-3.92 Ga. This study demonstrates the importance of high-precision age determinations for interpreting the impact record of the Moon, as documented in lunar samples.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 174, 13-29 p.
Keyword [en]
Lunar, meteorite impacts, Apollo 14, SIMS, U-Pb, Phosphates
National Category
Research subject
The changing Earth
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-1434DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2015.11.005OAI: diva2:875028
Early Planetary Evolution
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, 2012.0097Swedish Research Council, VR 621-2012-4370
Available from: 2015-11-30 Created: 2015-11-30 Last updated: 2015-11-30Bibliographically approved

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Snape, JoshuaBellucci, JeremyThiessen, FionaWhitehouse, Martin
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