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Minerals 2018, 8(10), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8100455

Rare Earth Elements in Planetary Crusts: Insights from Chemically Evolved Igneous Suites on Earth and the Moon

1
Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Sciences, 203 Shideler Hall, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
2
Department of Geosciences, Trace Element and Radiogenic Isotope Lab (TRaIL), University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposits of Critical Elements)
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Abstract

The abundance of the rare earth elements (REEs) in Earth’s crust has become the intense focus of study in recent years due to the increasing societal demand for REEs, their increasing utilization in modern-day technology, and the geopolitics associated with their global distribution. Within the context of chemically evolved igneous suites, 122 REE deposits have been identified as being associated with intrusive dike, granitic pegmatites, carbonatites, and alkaline igneous rocks, including A-type granites and undersaturated rocks. These REE resource minerals are not unlimited and with a 5–10% growth in global demand for REEs per annum, consideration of other potential REE sources and their geological and chemical associations is warranted. The Earth’s moon is a planetary object that underwent silicate-metal differentiation early during its history. Following ~99% solidification of a primordial lunar magma ocean, residual liquids were enriched in potassium, REE, and phosphorus (KREEP). While this reservoir has not been directly sampled, its chemical signature has been identified in several lunar lithologies and the Procellarum KREEP Terrane (PKT) on the lunar nearside has an estimated volume of KREEP-rich lithologies at depth of 2.2 × 108 km3. This reservoir therefore offers a prospective location for future lunar REE exploration. Within the context of chemically evolved lithologies, lunar granites are rare with only 22 samples currently classified as granitic. However, these extraterrestrial granites exhibit chemical affinities to terrestrial A-type granites. On Earth, these anorogenic magmatic systems are hosts to U-Th-REE-ore deposits and while to date only U-Th regions of enrichment on the lunar surface have been identified, future exploration of the lunar surface and interior may yet reveal U-Th-REE regions associated with the distribution of these chemically distinct, evolved lithologies. View Full-Text
Keywords: rare earth elements; igneous; granite; Moon; lunar; resources rare earth elements; igneous; granite; Moon; lunar; resources
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McLeod, C.L.; Shaulis, B.J. Rare Earth Elements in Planetary Crusts: Insights from Chemically Evolved Igneous Suites on Earth and the Moon. Minerals 2018, 8, 455.

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