The moon

, Volume 11, Issue 1–2, pp 53–76

On the origin of the moon by rotational fission

  • Alan B. Binder
Article

Abstract

Based on simple CIPW norms for the proposed terrestrial upper mantle material, it is shown that if the Moon fissioned from the Earth and gravitationally differentiated, it could have a 72 km thick anorthosite (An97) crust, a calcium poor (3.8% by weight) pyroxenite upper mantle 100 Mg/Mg + Fe = 75 to 80) ending at a depth of 313 km and a dunite (Fo93_95) lower mantle below a depth of 313 km. Refinements of these simple norm models, based on the cooling history, crystallization sequence and the variations of the 100 Mg/Mg + Fe ratio of the liquid and crystals during the crystallization sequence, indicate that the final form of such a Moon could have the following properties: (1) a primitive, cumulate anorthosite - minor troctolite crust with intrusive and extrusive feldspathic basalts and KREEP rich norites; the thickness of this crust would be 75 km; (2) a zone in the bottom of the crust and the top of the upper mantle which is rich in KREEP, the incompatible elements, silica, and possibly voltiles; this zone would be the source area for the upland feldspathic basalts, KREEP rich norites and KREEP and silica rich fluids; (3) an upper mantle between the depths of 75 km and 350 to 400 km which consists of peridotite containing 80–85% pyroxene (Wo10En68_72Fs18_22) and 15–20% olivine (Fo75_80); the Al2O3 content of the upper mantle is ∼ 3%; the peridotite layer would be the source area for mare basalts and; (4) a lower mantle below a depth of 350–400 km which consists of dunite (Fo93_97).

The cooling history of such a moon indicates that the primitive anorthosite crust would have been completely formed within 108 yr after fission. The extrusion and intrusion of upland basalts and KREEP rich norites and the metamorphism of the crustal rocks via KREEP and silica rich fluids would have ended about 4 × 109 yr ago when cooling well below the solidus reached a depth of 150 km. As cooling continied, the only source of magmas after 4 × 109 yr ago would have been the peridotite upper mantle, i.e. the source area of the mare basalts. Extrusion of mare basalts ended when cooling below the solidus reached the top of the refractory dunite lower mantle 3-3.3 × 109 yr ago.

Thus, it is shown that the chemistry, primary lithology, structure and developmental history of a fissioned Moon readily match those known for the real Moon. As such, the models presented in this paper strongly support the fission origin of the Moon.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Akimoto, S. I.: 1972, in A. R. Ritsema (ed.),The Upper Mantle, Elsevier Publishing Co., Amsterdam, pp. 161.Google Scholar
  2. Albee, A. L., Burnett, D. S., Chodos, A. A., Heines, W. L., Huneke, J. L., Papanastassiou, D. A., Podosed, F. A., Russ III, G. P., and Wasserburg, G. J.: 1970,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 9, 137.Google Scholar
  3. Anders, E., Ganapathy, R., Keays, R. R., Laul, J. C., and Morgan, J. W.: 1971,Proc. 2nd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 2,2, 1021.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, O.: 1915,Am. J. Sci. Ser. 4,39, 407.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, D. L.: 1973,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 18, 301Google Scholar
  6. El Goresy, A., Ramdohr, P., Pavicevic, M., Medenbach, O., Müller, O., and Gentner, W.: 1973,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 18, 411.Google Scholar
  7. Engel, A. E. and Engel, C. G.: 1970,Science 167, 527.Google Scholar
  8. Epstein, S. and Taylor, H. P., Jr.: 1972,Proc. 3rd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 3,2, 1429.Google Scholar
  9. Ganapathy, R., Keays, R. R., Laul, J. C., and Anders, E.: 1970,Proc. Apollo 11 Lunar, Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 1,2, 1117.Google Scholar
  10. Green, D. H.: 1968, in H. H. Hess (ed.),Basalts, Vol. 2, Interscience Publishers, New York, pp. 835.Google Scholar
  11. Green, D. H. and Ringwood, A. E.: 1973,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 19, 1.Google Scholar
  12. Green, D. H., Ringwood, A. E., Ware, N. G., and Hibberson, W. O.: 1972,Proc. 3rd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 3,1, 197.Google Scholar
  13. Green, D. H., Ringwood, A. E., Ware, N. G., Hibberson, W. O., Major, A., and Kiss, E.: 1971,Proc. 2nd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 2,1, 601.Google Scholar
  14. Hubbard, N. J. and Gast, P. W.: 1970,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 9, 181.Google Scholar
  15. Hubbard, N. J. and Gast, P. W.: 1971,Proc. 2nd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 2,2, 999.Google Scholar
  16. Hubbard, N. J., Rhodes, J. M., and Gast, P. W.: 1973,Science 181, 339.Google Scholar
  17. Hubbard, N. J., Gast, P. W., Rhodes, J. M., Bansal, B. M., and Wiesmann, H.: 1972,Proc. 3rd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 3,2, 1161.Google Scholar
  18. Jaeger, J. C.: 1968, in H. H. Hess (ed.),Basalts, Vol. 2, Interscience Publishers, New York, pp. 503.Google Scholar
  19. Kirsten, T., Horn, P. and Heymann, D.: 1973,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 20, 125.Google Scholar
  20. Kridelbaugh, S. J., McKay, G. A., and Weill, D. F.: 1973,Science 179, 71.Google Scholar
  21. Latham, G. V., Ewing, M., Press, F., Sutton, G., Dorman, J., Nakamura, Y., Toksőz, N., Lammlein, D., and Duennebier, F.: 1972, Apollo 16 Preliminary Science Report.Google Scholar
  22. Lingenfelter, R. E. and Schubert, G.: 1973,The Moon 7, 172.Google Scholar
  23. Lunar Sample Preliminary Examination Team: 1970, Apollo 12 Preliminary Science Report.Google Scholar
  24. Lunar sample Preliminary Examination Team: 1972, Apollo 15 Preliminary Science Report.Google Scholar
  25. MacDonald, G. J. F.: 1966, in B. G. Marsden and A. G. W. Cameron (eds.),The Earth-Moon System, Plenum Press, New York, pp. 165.Google Scholar
  26. Mason, B. and Melson, W. G.: 1970,The Lunar Rocks, Wiley-Interscience, New York, pp. 32.Google Scholar
  27. Meyer, C. Jr., Brett, R., Hubbard, N. J., Morrison, D. A., McKay, D. S., Aitken, F. K., Takeda, H., and Schonfeld, W.: 1971,Proc. 2nd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 2,1, 393.Google Scholar
  28. Morgan, J. W., Krähenbühl, U., Ganapathy, R. and Anders, E.: 1972,Proc. 3rd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 3,2, 1361.Google Scholar
  29. Nakamura, Y. and Latham, C. V.: 1969,J. Geophys. Res. 74, 3771.Google Scholar
  30. Nakamura, Y., Lammlein, D., Latham, G., Ewing, M., Dorman, J., Press, F., and Toksőz, N.: 1973,Science 181, 49.Google Scholar
  31. Neukum, G. and Arkani-Hamed, J.: in preparation.Google Scholar
  32. O'Keefe, J. A.: 1969,J. Geophys. Res. 74, 2758.Google Scholar
  33. Öpik, E. J.: 1961,Ann. Acad. Sci. Fennicae A3, 185.Google Scholar
  34. Papanastassiou, D. A. and Wasserburg, G. J.: 1972,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 16, 289.Google Scholar
  35. Papanastassiou, D. A. and Wasserburg, G. J.: 1973,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 17, 324.Google Scholar
  36. Prinz, M., Dowty, E., Keil, K., and Buchn, T. E.: 1973,Science 179, 74.Google Scholar
  37. Ringwood, A. E.: 1960,Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 20, 241.Google Scholar
  38. Ringwood, A. E.: 1966,Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 30, 41.Google Scholar
  39. Ringwood, A. E.: 1970,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 8, 131.Google Scholar
  40. Ringwood, A. E. and Essene, E.: 1970,Proc. Apollo 11 Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 1,1, 769.Google Scholar
  41. Ringwood, A. E. and Green, D. H.: 1967,Earth Planetary Sci. Letters 3, 151.Google Scholar
  42. Sjorgen, W. L., Gottlieb, P., Muller, P. M., and Wollenhaupt, W.: 1972,Science 175, 165.Google Scholar
  43. Solomon, S. C. and Toksőz, M. N.: 1973,Phys. Earth Planetary Interiors 7, 15.Google Scholar
  44. Terra, F., Papanastassiou, D. A., and Wasserburg, G. J.: 1973, presented at theFourth Lunar Sci. Conf. Google Scholar
  45. Toksőz, M. N. and Solomon, S. C.: 1973,The Moon 7, 251.Google Scholar
  46. Toksőz, M. N., Press, F., Dainty, A., Anderson, K., Latham, G., Ewing, M., Dorman, J., Lammlein, D., Sutton, G., and Duennebier, F.: 1972,Proc. 3rd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 3,3, 2527.Google Scholar
  47. Weill, D. F., Grieve, R. A., McCallum, I. S., and Bottinga, Y.: 1971,Proc. 2nd Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cismochim. Acta, Suppl. 2,1, 413.Google Scholar
  48. Wise, D. U.: 1963,J. Geophys. Res. 68, 1547.Google Scholar
  49. Wise, D. U.: 1969,J. Geophys. Res. 74, 6034.Google Scholar
  50. Wood, J. A.: 1970,J. Geophys. Res. 75, 6497.Google Scholar
  51. Wood, J. A.: 1972,Icarus 16, 462.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan B. Binder
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für KernphysikHeidelbergFRG
  2. 2.Science Applications Inc.TucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations