Unusual exotic clasts in Chinese lunar samples indicate unexplored terrane on the moon
#Unusual #exotic #clasts #Chinese #lunar #samples #unexplored #terrane #moon Welcome to Alaska Green Light Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:
Chang’e-5 is a Chinese lunar exploration mission aiming to collect and bring back samples from the moon. It was launched on November 24, 2020 and successfully landed on the lunar surface on December 1. The spacecraft collected samples from the lunar surface and successfully returned to Earth on December 16, 2020. This mission is the first to collect lunar samples in over 40 years and the first to do so using an unmanned spacecraft. It is named after the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e.
The Chang’e-5 mission landed in the Mons Rümker region in the moon’s northern Oceanus Procellarum and returned 3,816 pounds (1,731 kg) of lunar regolith.
The detection of exotic clasts (ie, locally mined non-Chang’e-5 materials) in the Chang’e-5 regolith could provide important information about the lithological diversity and regolith gardening process in the Moon’s young Mare region.
Recently dr. Xiaojia Zeng, Prof. Xiongyao Li and Prof. Jianzhong Liu from the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGCAS) identified seven exotic magmatic clasts in Chang’e-5 samples from more than 3,000 Chang’. e-5 regolith particles.
This work was published in Nature Astronomy on December 22, 2022.
In particular, the seven exotic clasts identified are: a high-Ti vitrophyric fragment, a low-Ti basalt, an olivine pyroxenite, a magnesian anorthosite, an evolved lithology, a Mg-rich olivine fragment, and a pyroclastic glass bead. The researchers linked these exotic magmatic clasts to impact ejected materials from other regions of the moon over 50-400 km (30-250 miles) from the Chang’e-5 Mare unit.
When compared to lunar rocks from the US Apollo mission, the researchers found that three exotic igneous clasts in the Chang’e-5 regolith exhibited unusual petrological and compositional features.
The high-Ti Vitrophyric fragment showed unique mineralogy among lunar basalts and likely represents a new type of lunar basalt.
The magnesian anorthosite clast, not observed in Apollo samples, provides evidence that magnesian anorthosite is also an important component of the nearby lunar crust.
The pyroclastic glass records a compositionally unique volcanic eruption on the moon.
This study was the first to obtain exotic igneous lithologies from the Moon’s 2 Gyr-old basaltic unit. This information will provide baseline truths for modeling the origin of regolith in the Moon’s young mare unit. Additionally, the identification of unusual lunar rocks in the Chang’e-5 sample provides evidence that the lithological components and magmatic activity of the lunar crust are more diverse than previously thought.
This research suggests that there are still unknown geological entities on the moon that could be helpful in planning future lunar exploration missions.
Reference: “Exotic clasts in Chang’e-5 regolith indicative of unexplored terrane on the Moon” by Xiaojia Zeng, Xiongyao Li and Jianzhong Liu, December 22, 2022, Nature Astronomy.