The University of Arizona

Major element and primary sulfur concentrations in Apollo 12 mare basalts: The view from melt inclusions

D. J. Bombardieri, M. D. Norman, V. S. Kamenetsky, L. V. Danyushevsky

Abstract


Major element and sulfur concentrations have been determined in experimentally heated olivine-hosted melt inclusions from a suite of Apollo 12 picritic basalts (samples 12009, 12075, 12020, 12018, 12040, 12035). These lunar basalts are likely to be genetically related by olivine accumulation (Walker et al. 1976a, b). Our results show that major element compositions of melt inclusions from samples 12009, 12075, and 12020 follow model crystallization trends from a parental liquid similar in composition to whole rock sample 12009, thereby partially confirming the olivine accumulation hypothesis. In contrast, the compositions of melt inclusions from samples 12018, 12040, and 12035 fall away from model crystallization trends, suggesting that these samples crystallized from melts compositionally distinct from the 12009 parent liquid and therefore may not be strictly cogenetic with other members of the Apollo 12 picritic basalt suite. Sulfur concentrations in melt inclusions hosted in early crystallized olivine (Fo75) are consistent with a primary magmatic composition of 1050 ppm S, or about a factor of 2 greater than whole rock compositions with 400 600 ppm S. The Apollo 12 picritic basalt parental magma apparently experienced outgassing and loss of S during transport and eruption on the lunar surface. Even with the higher estimates of primary magmatic sulfur concentrations provided by the melt inclusions, the Apollo 12 picritic basalt magmas would have been undersaturated in sulfide in their mantle source regions and capable of transporting chalcophile elements from the lunar mantle to the surface. Therefore, the measured low concentration of chalcophile elements (e.g., Cu, Au, PGEs) in these lavas must be a primary feature of the lunar mantle and is not related to residual sulfide remaining in the mantle during melting. We estimate the sulfur concentration of the Apollo 12 mare basalt source regions to be ~75 ppm, which is significantly lower than that of the terrestrial mantle.

Keywords


Melt inclusions;mare Basalt;Olivine;Sulfur

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