The effect of core segregation on the Cu and Zn isotope composition of the silicate Moon

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Xia, Y.
Kiseeva, Ekaterina S.
Wade, J.
Huang, F.
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European Association of Geochemistry
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Compared to elements of similar volatility, such as Rb, Ga and K, the bulk silicate Moon (BSM) exhibits significant enrichment in the heavy isotopes of Zn and Cu. However, both elements display a greater affinity for lunar sulfide phases than the other volatiles, suggesting their isotopic abundance in the BSM may also reflect their sequestration to the lunar core. Experimentally determined Cu and Zn isotopic fractionation between liquid metal, sulfide and silicates reveals carbon-bearing iron melts to be isotopically heavier than the silicate melt, and sulfide melts the lightest. During sulfide sequestration from a cooling lunar magma ocean, Cu, unlike Zn, partitions strongly into sulfides (100 < DCuSulfide/Melt < 200), leaving the BSM both elementally depleted in Cu, and isotopically heavier. Sulfide sequestration therefore explains the larger offsets in the Cu isotope compositions of lunar rocks and the silicate Earth relative to other moderately volatile elements. The lunar Zn isotopic inventory is best explained by volatility driven surface processes. Irrespective of the elemental loss mechanism, the Cu isotopic content of the BSM rules out carbon as a significant light element of the lunar core.
Lunar isotopes , Lunar formation , Elemental volatility , Experimental petrology , Lunar core formation , Sulfide-silicate isotopic partitioning
Xia, Y., Kiseeva, E. S., Wade, J. and Huang, F. (2019) 'The effect of core segregation on the Cu and Zn isotope composition of the silicate Moon', Geochemical Perspectives Letters, 12, pp. 12-17. doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1928