Shock metamorphic history of >4 Ga Apollo 14 and 15 zircons

1,2Carolyn A. Crow,3Desmond E. Moser,4Kevin D. McKeegan
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California, USA
2Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
3Zircon and Accessory Phase Laboratory, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
4Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

During impact events, zircons develop a wide range of shock metamorphic features that depend on the pressure and temperature conditions experienced by the zircon. These conditions vary with original distance from impact center and whether the zircon grains are incorporated into ejecta or remain within the target crust. We have employed the range of shock metamorphic features preserved in >4 Ga lunar zircons separated from Apollo 14 and 15 breccias and soils in order to gain insights into the impact shock histories of these areas of the Moon. We report microstructural characteristics of 31 zircons analyzed using electron beam methods including electron backscatter pattern (EBSP) and diffraction (EBSD). The major results of this survey are as follows. (1) The abundance of curviplanar features hosting secondary impact melt inclusions suggests that most of the zircons have experienced shock pressures between 3 and 20 GPa; (2) the scarcity of recrystallization or decomposition textures and the absence of the high‐pressure polymorph, reidite, suggests that few grains have been shocked to over 40 GPa or heated above 1000 °C in ejecta settings; (3) one grain exhibits narrow, arc‐shaped bands of twinned zircon, which map out as spherical shells, and represent a novel shock microstructure. Overall, most of the Apollo 14 and 15 zircons exhibit shock features similar to those of terrestrial zircon grains originating from continental crust below large (~200 km) impact craters (e.g., Vredefort impact basin), suggesting derivation from central uplifts or uplifted rims of large basins or craters on the Moon and not high‐temperature and ‐pressure ejecta deposits.


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