Age and composition of young basalts on the Moon, measured from samples returned by Chang'e-5

Xiaochao Che, Alexander Nemchin*, Dunyi Liu*, Tao Long, Chen Wang, Marc D. Norman, Katherine H. Joy, Romain Tartese, James Head, Bradley Jolliff, Joshua F. Snape, Clive R. Neal, Martin J. Whitehouse, Carolyn Crow, Gretchen Benedix, Fred Jourdan, Zhiqing Yang, Chun Yang, Jianhui Liu, Shiwen XieZemin Bao, Runlong Fan, Dapeng Li, Zengsheng Li, Stuart G. Webb

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    183 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Orbital data indicate that the youngest volcanic units on the Moon are basalt lavas in Oceanus Procellarum, a region with high levels of the heat-producing elements potassium, thorium, and uranium. The Chang'e-5 mission collected samples of these young lunar basalts and returned them to Earth for laboratory analysis. We measure an age of 1963 ± 57 million years for these lavas and determine their chemical and mineralogical compositions. This age constrains the lunar impact chronology of the inner Solar System and the thermal evolution of the Moon. There is no evidence for high concentrations of heat-producing elements in the deep mantle of the Moon that generated these lavas, so alternate explanations are required for the longevity of lunar magmatism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)887-890
    Number of pages4
    JournalScience
    Volume374
    Issue number6569
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2021

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