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The moon

, Volume 8, Issue 1–2, pp 3–24 | Cite as

Meteoritic material on the moon

  • Edward Anders
  • R. Ganapathy
  • Urs Krähenbühl
  • John W. Morgan
Article

Abstract

Three types of meteoritic material are found on the Moon: micrometeorites, ancien planetesimal debris from the ‘early intense bombardment’, and debris of recent, crater-forming projectiles. Their amounts and compositions have been determined from trace element studies.

The micrometeorite component is uniformly distributed over the entire lunar surface, but is seen most clearly in mare soils. It has a primitive, C1-chondrite-like composition, and comprises 1-1.5% of mature soils. Apparently it represents cometary debris. The mean annual influx rate is 2.4 × 10−9 g cm−2 yr−1. It shows no detectable time variation or dependence on selenographic position.

The ancient component is seen in highland breccias and soils more than 3.9 AE old. It has a fractionated composition, with volatiles depleted relative to siderophiles. The abundance pattern does not match that of any known meteorite class. At least two varieties exist (LN and DN, with Ir/Au, Re/Au 0.25-0.5 and > 0.5 the C1 value). Both seem to represent the debris of planetesimals that produced the mare basins and highland craters during the first 700 Myr of the Moon's history. It appears that the LN and DN objects impacted at less then 10 km s−1, had diameters less than 100 km, contained more than 15% Fe, and were not internally differentiated. Both were depleted in volatiles; the LN objects also in refractories (Ir, Re). This makes it unlikely that the LN bodies served as important building blocks of the Moon.

The crater-forming component has remained elusive. Only a possible hint of this component has been seen, in ejecta from Dune Crater and Apollo 12 KREEP glasses of Copernican (?) origin.

Keywords

Breccia Lunar Surface Influx Rate Mature Soil Important Building Block 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Anders
    • 1
  • R. Ganapathy
    • 1
  • Urs Krähenbühl
    • 1
  • John W. Morgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Enrico Fermi Institute and Dept. of ChemistryUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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