The rare earth elements (REE) and selected other trace elements were measured in plagioclase and pyroxene from nine samples of the lunar ferroan anorthosite (FAN) suite of rocks. Samples were selected from each of four FAN subgroups previously defined by James et al. (1989). Plagioclase compositions are homogeneous within each sample, but high- and low-Ca pyroxenes from lithic clasts typically have different REE abundances from their counterparts in the surrounding granulated matrices. Measured plagioclase/low-Ca pyroxene concentration ratios for the REE have steeper patterns than experimentally determined plagioclase/low-Ca pyroxene partition coefficients in most samples. Textural and trace element evidence suggest that, although subsolidus equilibration may be responsible for some of the discrepancy, plagioclase compositions in most samples have been largely unaffected by intermineral redistribution of the REE. The REE systematics of plagioclase from the four subgroups are broadly consistent with their deviation through crystallization from a single evolving magma. However, samples from some of the subgroups exhibit a decoupling of plagioclase and pyroxene compositions that probably reflects the complexities inherent in crystallization from a large-scale magmatic system. For example, two anorthosites with very magnesian mafic minerals have highly evolved trace element compositions; major element compositions in plagioclase also do not reflect the evolutionary sequence recorded by their REE compositions. Finally, a noritic anorthosite breccia with relatively ferroan mafic minerals contains several clasts with high and variable REE and other trace element abundances. Although plagioclase REE compositions are consistent with their derivation from a magma with a KREEPy trace element signature, very shallow REE patterns in the pyroxenes suggest the addition of a component enriched in the light REE.
Additional publication details
Lunar ferroan anorthosite petrogenesis: clues from trace element distributions in FAN subgroups