The University of Arizona

Regolith history of lunar meteorites

S. Lorenzetti, H. Busemann, O. Eugster


The regolith evolution of the lunar meteorites Dhofar (Dho) 081, Northwest Africa (NWA) 032, NWA 482, NWA 773, Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 169, and Yamato (Y-) 981031 was investigated by measuring the light noble gases He, Ne, and Ar. The presence of trapped solar neon in Dho 081, NWA 773, and Y-981031 indicates an exposure at the lunar surface. A neon three-isotope diagram for lunar meteorites yields an average solar 20Ne/22Ne ratio of 12.48 ±  0.07 representing a mixture of solar energetic particles neon at a ratio of 11.2 and solar wind neon at a ratio of 13.8. Based on the production rate ratio of 21Ne and 38Ar, the shielding depth in the lunar regolith of NWA 032, NWA 482, SaU 169, and Y-981031 was obtained. The shielding depth of these samples was between 10.5 g/cm2 and >500 g/cm^2. Based on spallogenic Kr and Xe, the shielding depth of Dho 081 was estimated to be most likely between 120 and 180 g/cm^2. Assuming a mean density of the lunar regolith of 1.8 g/cm^3, 10.5 g/cm^2 corresponds to a depth of 5.8 cm and 500 g/cm^2 to 280 cm below the lunar surface. The range of regolith residence time observed in this study is 100 Ma up to 2070 Ma.


Noble gases;Mineralogy;Cosmic-ray exposure ages

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