Evolution of isotopic signatures in lunar-regolith nitrogen: noble gases and nitrogen in grain-size fractions from regolith breccia 79035.
Ilmenite and pyroxene grain-size separates from 79035 were analyzed for trapped N; the ilmenite was also analyzed for trapped Xe. Ilmenite N contains two or more isotopically distinct trapped components differing in release temperature and therefore plausibly in implantation energy. The isotopically light, higher-temperature (higher-energy?) component has a delta N-15 value equal to -180 percent, significantly above the minimum value observed in bulk 79035, suggesting that parts of 79035 were exposed on the lunar surface earlier than the ilmenite. Using trapped Ar-40/Ar-36 and cosmogenic Ne-21 (Benkert, 1989) a compaction age of about 1 Ga was derived for the ilmenite. This implies a considerably more recent exposure than previously thought, and suggests that the long-term change in delta N-15 of regolith N was more rapid than generally believed. Comparison of these results with those for black/orange glass from 74001/74002 (compaction age 3.7 Ga; delta N-15 in the range -36 to +18 percent (Kerridge et al., 1991) indicates that the long-term trend may have followed a complex evolutionary path. Data for 79035 pyroxenes are consistent with the ilmenite compaction age but suggest a more complex exposure history.
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Proceedings
- Pub Date:
- Grain Size;
- Lunar Surface;
- Nitrogen Isotopes;
- Rare Gases;
- Lunar Soil;
- Lunar and Planetary Exploration