The present lead (Pb)-isotopic database of over 200 analyses from nearly 90 samples of non-mare basalt, lunar highland rocks (>3.9 Ga) delineate at least three isotopically distinct signatures that in some combination can be interpreted to characterize the systematics of the entire database. Two are fairly new sets of lunar data and are typical of Pb data from other solar-system objects, describing nearly linear arrays slightly above the 'geochron' values, with 207Pb/206Pb values <0.9. In aggregate, those data allow a relatively new interpretation of the Pb-isotopic evolution of the Moon, helping to identify and characterize a planetary evolutionary stage not preserved by Earth rocks. From the Pb-isotopic compositions, a source 238U/204Pb (??) value can be calculated; differences in ?? values from one Pb signature to another can have important implications on the age and evolution of Moon-forming events. In particular, the U/Pb ratio is one method of measuring the fractionation between refractory and volatile elements, an important indicator when considering large-scale planetary differentiation stages. The oldest Pb signature is represented solely by ferroan anorthosite 60025, presumably a piece of the early plagioclase-rich lunar crust produced from a magma ocean, and is characterized by source ?? values between 35 and 100 at ~4.43b Ga. Another prominent and uniquely lunar Pb signature, identified more than 20 years ago, is representative of many ferroan anorthosites and most high-Mg suite rocks (particularly 15415, 62237, 76535, and 78235), and is characterized by extremely high 207Pb/206Pb values (~1.45) that require extremely high source ?? values (>500). Although the age and origin of this exotic Pb is not well constrained, it is interpreted to be related to the entrapment of incompatible-element-rich (U, Th) melts within the lunar upper mantle and crust between 4.36 and 4.46 Ga (urKREEP residuum?). The latest discovered Pb signature is found only in lunar meteorites and is characterized by relatively low source ?? values between 10 and 50 at 3.9 Ga. The fact that most lunar crustal rocks (>3.9 Ga) exhibit high 207Pb/206Pb values requires that they were derived from, mixed with, or contaminated by Pb produced from early-formed, high-?? sources. The ubiquity of these U-Pb characteristics in the sample collection is probably an artifact of Apollo and Luna sampling sites, all located on the near side of the Moon, which was deeply excavated during the basin-forming event(s). However, the newest Pb-isotopic data support the idea that the Moon originally had a ?? value of ~8 to 35, slightly elevated from Earth values, and that progressive U-Pb fractionations occurred within the Moon during later stages of differentiation between 4.36 and 4.46 Ga.
Additional publication details
Pb-isotopic systematics of lunar highland rocks (>3.9 Ga): Constraints on early lunar evolution