Discovery of seifertite in a shocked lunar meteorite

Nat Commun. 2013;4:1737. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2733.


Many craters and thick regoliths of the moon imply that it has experienced heavy meteorite bombardments. Although the existence of a high-pressure polymorph is a stark evidence for a dynamic event, few high-pressure polymorphs are found in a lunar sample. α-PbO₂-type silica (seifertite) is an ultrahigh-pressure polymorph of silica, and is found only in a heavily shocked Martian meteorite. Here we show evidence for seifertite in a shocked lunar meteorite, Northwest Africa 4734. Cristobalite transforms to seifertite by high-pressure and -temperature condition induced by a dynamic event. Considering radio-isotopic ages determined previously, the dynamic event formed seifertite on the moon, accompanying the complete resetting of radio-isotopic ages, is ~2.7 Ga ago. Our finding allows us to infer that such intense planetary collisions occurred on the moon until at least ~2.7 Ga ago.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't