Remote observation by the reflectance spectrometers onboard the Japanese lunar explorer Kaguya (SELENE) showed the purest anorthosite (PAN) spots (>98% plagioclase) at some large craters. Mineralogical and petrologic investigations on the feldspathic lunar meteorites, Dhofar 489 and Dhofar 911, revealed the presence of several pure anorthosite clasts. A comparison with Apollo nearside samples of ferroan anorthosite (FAN) indicated that of the FAN samples returned by the Apollo missions, sample 60015 is the largest anorthosite with the highest plagioclase abundance and homogeneous mafic mineral compositions. These pure anorthosites (>98% plagioclase) have large chemical variations in Mg number (Mg#∈=∈molar 100∈×∈Mg/(Mg∈+∈Fe)) of each coexisting mafic mineral. The variations imply that these pure anorthosites underwent complex formation processes and were not formed by simple flotation of plagioclase. The lunar highland samples with pure anorthosite and the PAN observed by Kaguya suggest that pure anorthosite is widely distributed as lunar crust lithology over the entire Moon.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science