Paper No. 9-12
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-6:00 PM
DETERMINING THE ABUNDANCE AND CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF MAFIC CRYSTALS IN A LUNAR METEORITE
The origin of the Moon is a topic that is fervently debated due to the limited number of samples returned from the surface. Just after the Moon formed, it was thought that the Moon had a lunar magma ocean, a vast world of flowing magma that reached unknown depths. The precise chemical nature of the magma ocean is unknown but can be elucidated with chemical analysis of rocks from a wide variety of locales. In particular, olivine, plagioclase, and pyroxene crystals, termed "mafic crystals", record chemical changes that occurred in in the lunar magma ocean. Lunar meteorites can contain "new" types of rocks because they can come from anywhere on the Moon. The focus of this study is a new meteorite, NWA 11788, that has not been analyzed before and this project was part of a summer undergraduate research program. The sample NWA 11788 contains rock pieces rich in olivine, plagioclase, and pyroxene crystals. In this study we analyzed the chemistry of olivine, plagioclase, and pyroxene crystals to determine if any new rock types exist in NWA11788. We also determined which thin sections contained abundant mafic crystals, and therefore should be targeted for future chemical analysis.