Lunar Meteorite

Queen Alexandra Range 94281



QUE 94281 has an unusual shape and appears to be a small piece of a larger meteorite because fusion crust covers only part of the stone.  The fusion crust is visible on the top surface (T).  Like QUE 93069, the fusion crust is vesicular - it contains bubbles because the rock is a regolith breccia.  Only lunar meteorites that are regolith breccias have thick, highly vesicular fusion crusts.  The bubbles form as the meteor passes through the Earth's atmosphere and solar-wind implanted gases are released when the exterior melts. The small cube in the corner is 1 cm on each side.
(photo credit: NASA)


Note:  Several people have looked at these photos and then contacted me saying something like, "I have a rock that looks just like that!"  They probably do, but it's not a lunar meteorite.  Many terrestrial basalts and pieces of slag resemble QUE 94281 at first glance, but not upon close inspection. So, if you have a rock that looks like this, it's just a piece of basalt (like the "lava rock" in a gas barbeque grill) or a piece of slag from some industrial process.  See number 68 from "Photo Gallery of Meteorwrongs" for more discussion.


Above and Below: Figure 1 of Jolliff et al. (1998). Notice that the fusion crust (right edge) is vesicular but the interior of the meteorite is not.


Above - A backscattered-electron image of a polished chip of QUE94281. Places having the highest mean atomic number (usually iron-rich minerals) appear brightest; those having low the lowest mean atomic number (usually plagioclase and aluminum-rich glass) appear darkest.


Below - Line drawing of major lithologies: LC = lithic clast (small rock fragment), gls = glass clast, Fa = fayalite, Hd = hedenbergite, Cr = crystobalite (a silica mineral), M = metal, v = void. The rectangles mark the location of other figures from Jolliff et al. (1998).
(photo credit: Brad Jolliff)

Listed in The Meteoritical Bulletin, No. 79, Meteoritics & Planetary Science 31, A161–A174 (1996)

from Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter, vol. 18, No. 2, 1995

Queen Alexandra Range 94281

Location: Queen Alexandra Range
Dimensions (cm): 4.0 x 3.1 x 1.0
Mass: 23.4 g

Lunar-Basaltic Breccia

Macroscopic Description: Roberta Score and Marilyn Lindstrom. This is a very strange meteorite. It is highly glassy and inhomogeneous. The exterior is black with thick, shiny glass on one side and an irregular, rough surface on the other. The glass is black, conchoidal, vesicular in places, and has melted into many of the abundant cavities. The interior is very inhomogeneous. This meteorite is wedge-shaped, ranging in thickness from 3 mm to 10 mm. At the thin end, the rough black material has small white flecks in it, while the middle region consists of a chaotic aphanitic material. The thick end is a coarse-grained breccia with abundant angular white, yellow, and black mineral and lithic clasts up to 3 mm across. Two 2 mm-thick glassy, vesicular, black veins cut across the different areas. Oxidation is lightly scattered throughout the meteorite. It will be difficult to do detailed sampling of this complex breccia.

Thin Section (,4) Description: Brian Mason. The section shows a microbreccia of pale brown pyroxene and colorless plagioclase clasts, up to 1.2 mm across, in a comminuted groundmass of these minerals. Colorless fusion crust rims part of the section, which is cut by a 1 mm-wide veinlet of vesicular black glass. Pyroxene compositions show a wide range: Wo4-30, Fs23-55, En25-66. Plagioclase composition is An91-97. A little olivine, Fa33-36, was analyzed, and one grain of silica polymorph, probably tridymite. Fusion crust composition is SiO2 47, Al2O3 16, FeO 13, MgO 9.1, CaO 12, K2O <0.1, TiO2 0.6, MnO 0.2, Na2O 0.5. The black glass has a similar but somewhat variable composition. The high FeO:MnO ratio indicates a lunar origin, and the meteorite has a composition of a basalt-rich breccia. Its composition appears to be intermediate between those of EET87521 (Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, v. 53, p. 3323, 1989) and Calcalong Creek (Nature, v. 352, p.614, 1991) and very similar to that of Y793274 (Proc. NIPR Symp. Antarct. Meteorites, v. 4, p. 3, 1991).


Randy Says…

It is the first brecciated lunar meteorite for which there was petrographic and compositional evidence that it was launched from the same crater as a previously known lunar meteorite, Yamato 793274 (Arai and Warren, 1999)


More Information

Meteoritical Bulletin Database

QUE 94281



ANSMET Location Map



Arai T. and Warren P. H. (1999) Lunar meteorite Queen Alexandra Range 94281: Glass compositions and other evidence for launch pairing with Yamato 793274. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 34, 209-234.

Basilevsky A. T., Neukum G., and Nyquist L. (2010) Lunar meteorites: What they tell us about the spatial and temporal distribution of mare basalts. 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1214.

Dreibus G., Spettel B., Wlotzka F., Jochum K. P., Schultz L., Weber H. W., and Wänke H. (1996) Chemistry, petrology, and noble gases of basaltic lunar meteorite QUE 94281. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 31, A38-A39.

Fritz J. (2012) Impact ejection of lunar meteorites and the age of Giordano Bruno. Icarus 221, 1183-1186.

Jolliff B. L., Rockow K. M., and Korotev R. L. (1998) Geochemistry and petrology of lunar meteorite Queen Alexandra Range 94281, a mixed mare and highland regolith breccia, with special emphasis on very-low-Ti mafic components. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 33, 581-601.

Korotev R. L. (2005) Lunar geochemistry as told by lunar meteorites. Chemie der Erde 65, 297-346.

Korotev R. L. and Irving A. J. (2016) Not quite keeping up with the lunar meteorites – 2016. 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1358.

Korotev R. L. and Zeigler R. A. (2014) Chapter 6. ANSMET Meteorites from the Moon, Thirty-five Seasons of U.S. Antarctic Meteorites (1976–2010): A Pictorial Guide to the Collection (editors K. Righter, R. P. Harvey, C. M. Corrigan, and T. J. McCoy), 101–130, Special Publications 68, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C., 296 pages, ISBN: 978-1-118-79832-4.

Korotev R. L., Jolliff B. L., Zeigler R. A., and Haskin L. A. (2003) Compositional constraints on the launch pairing of three brecciated lunar meteorites of basaltic composition. Antarctic Meteorite Research 16, 152-175.

Korotev R. L., Irving A. J., and Bunch T. E. (2008) Keeping up with the lunar meteorites - 2008. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIX, abstract no. 1209.

Korotev R. L, Zeigler R. A., Jolliff B. L., Irving A. J., and Bunch T. E. (2009) Compositional and lithological diversity among brecciated lunar meteorites of intermediate iron composition. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 44, 1287-1322.

Kring D. A., Hill D. H., and Boynton W. V. (1996) A glass-rich view of QUE94281, a new meteoritic sample from a mare region of the Moon. Lunar and Planetary Science XXVII, 707-708.

Mikouchi T. (1999) Mineralogy and petrology of a new lunar meteorite EET96008: Lunar basaltic breccia similar to Y-793274, QUE94281 and EET87521. Lunar and Planetary Science XXX, abstract no. 1558.

Nishiizumi K. (2003) Exposure histories of lunar meteorites. Evolution of Solar System Materials: A New Perspective from Antarctic Meteorites, 104.

Nishiizumi K. and Caffee M. W. (1996) Exposure histories of lunar meteorites Queen Alexandra Range 94281 and 94269. Lunar and Planetary Science XXVII, 959-960.

Polnau E. and Eugster O. (1998) Cosmic-ray produced, radiogenic, and solar noble gases in lunar meteorites Queen Alexandra Range 94269 and 94281. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 33, 313-319.

Terada K., Sasaki Y., and Sano Y. (2006) Ion microprobe U-Pb dating of phosphates in very-low-Ti basaltic breccia. 69th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, abstract no. 5129.

Wolf S. F., Wang M.S., and Lipschutz M. E. (2009) Labile trace elements in basaltic achondrites: Can they distinguish between meteorites from the Moon, Mars, and V-type asteroids? Meteoritics & Planetary Science 44, 891–903.



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Prepared by: Randy L. Korotev

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis

Please don’t contact me about the meteorite you think that
you’ve found until you read this and this.



Last revised: 3 June 2019