Magmatic chlorine isotope fractionation recorded in apatite from Chang'e-5 basalts

Ji, Jianglong; He, Huicun; Hu, Sen; Lin, Yangting; Hui, Hejiu; Hao, Jialong; Li, Ruiying; Yang, Wei; Yan, Yihong; Tian, Hengci; Zhang, Chi; Anand, Mahesh; Tartèse, Romain; Gu, Lixin; Li, Jinhua; Zhang, Di; Mao, Qian; Jia, Lihui; Chen, Yi; Wu, Shitou; Wang, Hao; He, Huaiyu; Li, Xianhua and Wu, Fuyuan (2022). Magmatic chlorine isotope fractionation recorded in apatite from Chang'e-5 basalts. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 591, article no. 117636.



The Moon can have elevated chlorine (Cl) isotope ratios, much higher than any other Solar System objects. Deciphering the Cl isotope compositions of volcanic lunar samples is critical for unraveling the volcanic processes and volatile inventory of the Moon's interior. However, the processes and mechanisms of Cl isotope fractionation are not yet fully understood through previous studies on lunar samples. The China's Chang'e-5 (CE5) basalt samples were collected far from the Apollo and Luna landing sites, and dated at about 2.0 billion years ago (Ga), approximately 1 Ga younger than previously reported lunar basalts. The CE5 samples, therefore, provide an opportunity to investigate Cl isotope characteristics and fractionation mechanisms during a younger lunar volcanism. In this study, we performed systematic petrography, mineral chemistry, volatile abundances and distribution, and Cl isotopic studies on the CE5 apatite via a combination of scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalyser, and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry. The CE5 apatite grains from basalt clasts and fragments have subhedral to euhedral shapes with grains sizes mostly less than 10 μm, mainly coexisting with the mesostasis, fayalite olivine, and the margins of pyroxene. These apatites are F-dominated (0.91-3.93 wt%) with a Cl abundance range of 820 to 11989 μg.g−1 and a water abundance range of 134 to 6564 μg.g−1, similar to those in the mare samples previously reported. Chlorine displays notable zoning distributions in some CE5 apatite grains with higher abundance at the rims gradually decrease towards the cores. Chlorine isotopic compositions of CE5 apatite vary from 4.5 to 18.9‰, positively correlated with the Cl abundances. These lines of evidence suggest that magmatic degassing of Cl-bearing species during the crystallisation of apatite at or near the lunar surface could have resulted in a large Cl isotope fractionation. Our new findings highlight a significant role of magmatic fractionation of Cl isotopes during crystallisation of mare lavas and provide clues for determining the primordial Cl isotopic signature of the Moon.

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