Magnesian anorthositic granulites in lunar meteorites Allan Hills A81005 and Dhofar 309: Geochemistry and global significance


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Abstract– Fragments of magnesian anorthositic granulite are found in the lunar highlands meteorites Allan Hills (ALH) A81005 and Dhofar (Dho) 309. Five analyzed clasts of meteoritic magnesian anorthositic granulite have Mg′ [molar Mg/(Mg + Fe)] = 81–87; FeO ≈ 5% wt; Al2O3 ≈ 22% wt; rare earth elements abundances ≈ 0.5–2 × CI (except Eu ≈ 10 × CI); and low Ni and Co in a non-chondritic ratio. The clasts have nearly identical chemical compositions, even though their host meteorites formed at different places on the Moon. These magnesian anorthositic granulites are distinct from other highlands materials in their unique combination of mineral proportions, Mg′, REE abundances and patterns, Ti/Sm ratio, and Sc/Sm ratio. Their Mg′ is too high for a close relationship to ferroan anorthosites, or to have formed as flotation cumulates from the lunar magma ocean. Compositions of these magnesian anorthositic granulites cannot be modeled as mixtures of, or fractionates from, known lunar rocks. However, compositions of lunar highlands meteorites can be represented as mixtures of magnesian anorthositic granulite, ferroan anorthosite, mare basalt, and KREEP. Meteoritic magnesian anorthositic granulite is a good candidate for the magnesian highlands component inferred from Apollo highland impactites: magnesian, feldspathic, and REE-poor. Bulk compositions of meteorite magnesian anorthositic granulites are comparable to those inferred for parts of the lunar farside (the Feldspathic Highlands Terrane): ∼4.5 wt% FeO; ∼28 wt% Al2O3; and Th <1 ppm. Thus, magnesian anorthositic granulite may be a widespread and abundant component of the lunar highlands.