Lunar meteorites provide information about areas of the Moon not sampled by the Apollo and Luna missions, so they can be used as more-representative geochemical datasets for evaluating global lunar evolution. However, the launching craters remain unknown for many lunar meteorites. This paper, therefore, aims to identify the launching sites of lunar meteorites with remote-sensing datasets. This work focuses on one lunar-meteorite group, the Northwest Africa 773 (NWA 773) clan, which has the very-low-Ti basaltic composition and one of the youngest crystallization ages (~3 Ga) among the lunar basaltic meteorites. We investigated the source of the NWA 773 clan by comparing their geochemical compositions and geochronological information with the following remote-sensing datasets: 1) the Lunar Prospector gamma-ray elemental maps (FeO, TiO2, Th) and the SELENE gamma-ray elemental maps (CaO), 2) the surface ages determined from imaging data by using the crater-counting method, and 3) high-spatial-resolution maps of the FeO and TiO2 and spectral-ratio images made from the SELENE multi-band imager data. From these comparisons, the NWA 773 clan is most likely to have originated from the north part of Mare Imbrium inside the Procellarum KREEP Terrane (PKT). Furthermore, the eruption age of surface basalt surrounding the Le Verrier D crater in the north part of Mare Imbrium between 3.0 and 3.3 Ga, and the formation of the Le Verrier D crater, are consistent with the duration of igneous activity and timing of meteoroid impact of the NWA 773 clan. There is a fresh crater with bright ejecta on the edge of the Le Verrier D crater, and it is possibly the young launch crater of this meteorite group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas