Dating Granites using CODEX, with Application to In-Situ Dating on the Moon

Jonathan Levine, F. Scott Anderson, Sarah Braden, Rico G. Fausch, Sean Foster, Gavin Fowler, Katherine H. Joy, Steven Osterman, John Pernet-Fisher, Stephen Seddio, Peter Wurz, Marcella Yant, Teng Ee Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have measured 87Rb-87Sr isochron ages for two granites, using the breadboard version of our Chemistry, Organics, and Dating EXperiment (CODEX), a laser-ablation resonance-ionization mass spectrometer designed for in-situ geochronology on the Moon or Mars. These measurements extend the demonstrated analytical capabilities of CODEX, and indicate the value of incorporating a flight-ready version of CODEX, now under construction, into a future mission payload. We used CODEX to obtain accurate ages for the 1700 Ma Boulder Creek Granite, with 1σ statistical precision of 110 Myr, and for the 1100 Ma Pikes Peak Granite, with 1σ statistical precision of 160 Myr.

To provide an end-to-end illustration of how CODEX analysis of granites can address critical lunar science questions regarding rock age and composition in situ, we describe an example mission to the lunar Gruithuisen Domes. Gruithuisen Domes appear to be volcanic edifices of granitic composition. Though orbital remote sensing suggests that granitic rocks represent only a small fraction of the lunar surface, the mere fact of their existence on the Moon is a puzzle. CODEX determination of the timing and process of their formation, both presently ill-understood, would provide important constraints on the thermal and geochemical evolution of the lunar interior.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Planetary Science Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Apr 2023


  • Boulder Creek Granite
  • Pikes Peak Granite
  • Moon
  • In-Situ Chronology
  • Rb-Sr


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