The contribution of the sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) to lunar geochronology
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The sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) developed at the Australian National University (ANU) was the first of the high-resolution ion microprobes. The impact of this instrument on geochronological research over the last twenty years has been immense. This is particularly so for lunar geochronology where it has opened up avenues of research that were not possible using conventional TIMS techniques. The great advantage of SHRIMP is that it provides a means for determining precise U–Pb isotopic ratios on selected micron-size areas on polished grains of zircon and other U-bearing minerals. One of the first projects undertaken on the newly invented SHRIMP I was an investigation of U–Pb ages of lunar zircon. Using SHRIMP, multiple analyses could be made on areas of individual zircons to test the stability of U–Pb systems in shocked grains. Also, by analysing grains “in situ”, textural relationships between the analysed zircon and the components of the sample breccia could be used in the interpretation of the SHRIMP data.As a result of this research it was realised that most lunar zircons have ages up to 500 Ma older than the Imbrium and Serenitatis impacts at ca. 3.9 Ga, demonstrating that the zircons have not been affected by the these impact events although heating and shock effects have profoundly disturbed other dating systems. This has opened the way for research into the early lunar magmatic and bombardment record. For example, recent SHRIMP results have revealed profound differences in the ages of zircons from breccias from the Apollo 14 and Apollo 17 sample sites, raising new questions about the evolution of lunar magmatism. Also, multiple SHRIMP analyses on complex lunar zircons have shown that these grains can record U–Pb disturbance by later impact events. SHRIMP U–Pb age determinations on phosphates in lunar meteorites has identified lunar events not recognised in samples from the Apollo program. SHRIMP-based research on lunar materials is ongoing and, in combination with other chemical and structural evidence, continues to stimulate new ideas on the early evolution of the Moon.
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Grange, Marion; Nemchin, Alexander; Pidgeon, Robert; Timms, Nicholas Eric; Muhling, J.; Kennedy, Allen (2009)Lunar breccia 73217 is composed of plagioclase and pyroxene clasts originating from a single gabbronorite intrusion, mixed with a silica-rich glass interpreted to represent an impact melt. A study of accessory minerals ...
Cavosie, Aaron; Erickson, Timmons; Timms, Nicholas Eric; Reddy, Steven; Talavera, Cristina; Montalvo, S.; Pincus, M.; Gibbon, R.; Moser, D. (2015)Deformed lunar zircons yielding U-Pb ages from 4333 Ma to 1407 Ma have been interpreted as dating discrete impacts on the Moon. However, the cause of age resetting in lunar zircons is equivocal; as ex situ grains in ...
Grange, Marion; Pidgeon, Robert; Nemchin, Alexander; Timms, Nicholas Eric; Meyer, C. (2013)In this paper, we describe primary and secondary microstructures and textural characteristics found in lunar zircon and discuss the relationships between these features and the zircon U–Pb isotopic systems and the ...