To characterize the compositions of materials accreted to the Earth-Moon system between about 4.5 and 3.8 Ga, we have determined Os isotopic compositions and some highly siderophile element (HSE: Re, Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, and Pd) abundances in 48 subsamples of six lunar breccias. These are: Apollo 17 poikilitic melt breccias 72395 and 76215; Apollo 17 aphanitic melt breccias 73215 and 73255; Apollo 14 polymict breccia 14321; and lunar meteorite NWA482, a crystallized impact melt. Plots of Ir versus other HSE define excellent linear correlations, indicating that all data sets likely represent dominantly two-component mixtures of a low-HSE target, presumably endogenous component, and a high-HSE, presumably exogenous component. Linear regressions of these trends yield intercepts that are statistically indistinguishable from zero for all HSE, except for Ru and Pd in two samples. The slopes of the linear regressions are insensitive to target rock contributions of Ru and Pd of the magnitude observed; thus, the trendline slopes approximate the elemental ratios present in the impactor components contributed to these rocks. The 187Os/188Os and regression-derived elemental ratios for the Apollo 17 aphanitic melt breccias and the lunar meteorite indicate that the impactor components in these samples have close affinities to chondritic meteorites. The HSE in the Apollo 17 aphanitic melt breccias, however, might partially or entirely reflect the HSE characteristics of HSE-rich granulitic breccia clasts that were incorporated in the impact melt at the time of its creation. In this case, the HSE characteristics of these rocks may reflect those of an impactor that predated the impact event that led to the creation of the melt breccias. The impactor components in the Apollo 17 poikilitic melt breccias and in the Apollo 14 breccia have higher 187Os/188Os, Pt/Ir, and Ru/Ir and lower Os/Ir than most chondrites. These compositions suggest that the impactors they represent were chemically distinct from known chondrite types, and possibly represent a type of primitive material not currently delivered to Earth as meteorites. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.
Additional publication details
Osmium isotope and highly siderophile element systematics of lunar impact melt breccias: Implications for the late accretion history of the Moon and Earth