Moon pp 1-21 | Cite as

A Survey of Geologic Resources

  • Jennifer Edmunson
  • Douglas L. Rickman


This chapter focuses on the resources available from the Moon itself: regolith, geologically concentrated materials, and lunar physical features that will enable habitation and generation of power on the surface. This chapter briefly covers the formation of the Moon and thus the formation of the crust of the Moon, as well as the evolution of the regolith. The characteristics of the regolith are provided in some detail, including its mineralogy and lithology. The location of high concentrations of specific minerals or rocks is noted. Other ideal locations for in situ resource utilization technology and lunar habitation are presented.


Lunar Surface Lunar Regolith Lunar Soil Lava Tube Magma Ocean 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, C.C., Morris, R.V., McKay, D.S.: Oxygen extraction from lunar soils and pyroclastic glass. Journal of Geophysical Research 101, 26085–26095 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowen, N.L.: Melting phenomena in plagioclase feldspars. American Journal of Science 35, 577–599 (1913)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brecher, A., Menke, W.H., Adams, J.B., Gaffey, M.J.: The effects of heating and subsolidus reduction on lunar materials: An analysis by magnetic methods, optical, Mössbauer, and X-ray diffraction spectroscopy. In: Proceedings of the 6th Lunar Science Conference, pp. 3091–3109 (1975)Google Scholar
  4. Bussey, D.B.J., Fristad, K.E., Schenk, P.M., Robinson, M.S., Spudis, P.D.: Constant illumination at the lunar north pole. Nature 434, 842 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bussey, D.B.J., McGovern, J.A., Spudis, P.D., Neish, C.D., Noda, H., Ishihara, Y., Sørensen, S.A.: Illumination conditions of the south pole of the Moon derived using Kaguya topography. Icarus 208, 558–564 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Canup, R.M., Asphaug, E.: Origin of the Moon in a giant impact near the end of the Earth’s formation. Nature 412, 708–712 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carrier III, W.D., Olhoeft, G.R., Mendell, W.: Physical properties of the lunar suface. In: Heiken, G.H., Vaniman, D.T., French, B.M. (eds.) Lunar Sourcebook: A User’s Guide to the Moon, pp. 475–594 (1991)Google Scholar
  8. Carrier III, W.D.: Particle size distribution of lunar soil. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 129, 956–959 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chambers, J.G., Taylor, L.A., Patchen, A., McKay, D.S.: Quantitative mineralogical characterization of lunar high-Ti mare basalts and soils for oxygen production. Journal of Geophysical Research 100, 14391–14401 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cintala, M.J.: Impact-induced thermal effects in the lunar and mercurian regoliths. Journal of Geophysical Research 97, 947–973 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cole, D.M., Taylor, L.A., Liu, Y., Hopkins, M.A.: Grain-scale mechanical properties. In: Engineering Science, Construction and Operations in Challenging Environments (12th), Earth and Space 2010, March 14-17, American Society of Civil Engineers, Honolulu HI (2010)Google Scholar
  12. Deer, W.A., Howie, R.A., Zussman, J.: An Introduction to the rock-forming minerals, 2nd edn., p. 696. Longman Scientific and Technical, Harlow (1992)Google Scholar
  13. Dence, M.R.: Shock zoning at Canadian craters: Petrography and structural implications. In: French, B.M., Short, N.M. (eds.) Shock Metamorphism of Natural Materials, pp. 169–184. Mono Book Corp., Baltimore (1968)Google Scholar
  14. Drees, L.R., Wilding, L.P.: Pedology, pedogenesis, and the lunar surface. In: Ming, D.W., Henninger, D.L. (eds.) Lunar Base Agriculture: Soils for Plant Growth, pp. 69–83 (1989)Google Scholar
  15. Elkins-Tanton, L.T., Burgess, S., Yin, Q.Z.: The lunar magma ocean: Reconciling the solidification process with lunar petrology and geochronology. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 304, 326–336 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Faierson, E.J., Logan, K.V., Stewart, B.K., Hunt, M.P.: Demonstration of concept for fabrication of lunar physical assets utilizing lunar regolith simulant and a geothermite reaction. Acta Astronautica 67, 38–45 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. French, B.M.: Traces of Catastrophe: A handbook of shock-metamorphic effects in terrestrial meteorite impact structures. LPI Contribution No. 954, p. 120. Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston (1998)Google Scholar
  18. Glasstone, S.: Sourcebook on the Space Sciences, p. 937. Van Nostrand, Princeton (1965)Google Scholar
  19. Hapke, B.: Space weathering from Mercury to the asteroid belt. Journal of Geophysical Research 106, 10039–10073 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hapke, B., Cassidy, W., Wells, E.: Effects of vapor-phase deposition processes on the optical, chemical, and magnetic properties of the lunar regolith. The Moon 13, 339–353 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hartmann, W.K., Davis, D.R.: Satellite-sized planetesimals and lunar origin. Icarus 24, 504–515 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heiken, G.H., Vaniman, D.T.: Characterization of lunar ilmenite resources. In: Proceedings of the 20th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, pp. 239–247 (1990)Google Scholar
  23. Heiken, G.H., McKay, D.S., Brown, R.W.: Lunar deposits of possible pyroclastic origin. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 38, 1703–1718 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heiken, G., Vaniman, D., French, B.M.: Lunar Sourcebook: A User’s Guide to the Moon, p. 736. Cambridge University Press, New York (1991)Google Scholar
  25. Hess, P.C.: Origins of igneous rocks, p. 336. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1989)Google Scholar
  26. Hörz, F., Grieve, R., Heiken, G., Spudis, P., Binder, A.: Lunar surface processes. In: Heiken, G.H., Vaniman, D.T., French, B.M. (eds.) Lunar Sourcebook: A User’s Guide to the Moon, pp. 61–120. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1991)Google Scholar
  27. James, C., Letsinger, S., Basu, A., Wentworth, S.J., McKay, D.S.: Size distribution of Fe0 globules in lunar agglutinitic glass. In: 33rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Abstract #1827 (2002)Google Scholar
  28. Karner, J., Papike, J.J., Shearer, C.K.: Plagioclase from planetary basalts: Chemical signatures that reflect planetary volatile budgets, oxygen fugacity, and styles of igneous differentiation. American Mineralogist 89, 1101–1109 (2004)Google Scholar
  29. Keller, L.P., McKay, D.S.: Discovery of vapor deposits in the lunar regolith. Science 261, 1305–1307 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Keller, L.P., McKay, D.S.: The nature and origin of rims on lunar soil grains. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 61, 2331–2341 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Klein, C., Hurlbut Jr., C.S.: Manual of Mineralogy, p. 681. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York (1993)Google Scholar
  32. Lindsay, J.F.: A steady-state model for the lunar soil. Geological Society of America Bulletin 86, 1661–1670 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lingenfelter, R.E., Canfield, E.H., Hampel, V.E.: The lunar neutron flux revisited. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 16, 355–369 (1972)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Liu, Y., Park, J., Schnare, D., Hill, E., Taylor, L.A.: Characterization of lunar dust for toxicological studies II: Texture and shape characteristics. Journal of Aerospace Engineering 21, 272–279 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Longhi, J.: A new view of lunar ferroan anorthosites: Postmagma ocean petrogenesis. Journal of Geophysical Research 108 (E8), 5083 (2003), doi:10.1029/2002JE001941MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lucey, P.G., Blewett, D.T., Taylor, G.J., Hawke, B.R.: Imaging of lunar surface maturity. Journal of Geophysical Research 105, 20377–20386 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lucey, P., Korotev, R.L., Gillis, J.J., Taylor, L.A., Lawrence, D., Campbell, B.A., Elphic, R., Feldman, W., Hood, L.L., Hunten, D., Mendillo, M., Noble, S., Papike, J.J., Reedy, R.C., Lawson, S., Prettyman, T., Gasnault, O., Maurice, S.: Understanding the lunar surface and space-Moon interactions. In: Jolliff, B.L., Wieczorek, M.A., Shearer, C.K., Neal, C.R. (eds.) Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 60, New Views of the Moon, pp. 83–219. Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly (2006)Google Scholar
  38. Mathew, K.J., Marti, K.: Lunar nitrogen: Indigenous signature and cosmic-ray production rate. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 184, 659–669 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McCubbin, F.M., Steele, A., Hauri, E.H., Nekvasil, H., Yamashita, S., Hemley, R.J.: Nominally hydrous magmatism on the Moon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107, 11223–11228 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McKay, D.S., Williams, R.J.: A geologic assessment of potential lunar ores. In: Billingham, J., Gilbreath, W., O’Leary, B. (eds.) Space Resources and Space Settlements, pp. 243–255 (1979)Google Scholar
  41. McKay, D.S., Heiken, G., Basu, A., Blanford, G., Simon, S., Reedy, R., French, B.M., Papike, J.: The lunar regolith. In: Heiken, G.H., Vaniman, D.T., French, B.M. (eds.) Lunar Sourcebook: A User’s Guide to the Moon, pp. 285–356. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1991)Google Scholar
  42. McKay, D.S., Fruland, R.M., Heiken, G.H.: Grain size and the evolution of lunar soils. In: Proceedings of the 5th Lunar Science Conference, pp. 887–906 (1974)Google Scholar
  43. Miller, J., Taylor, L., Zeitlin, C., Heilbronn, L., Guetersloh, S., DiGiuseppe, M., Iwata, Y., Murakami, T.: Lunar soil as shielding against space radiation. Radiation Measurements 44, 163–167 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Morimoto, N.: Nomenclature of pyroxenes. Mineralogical Magazine 52, 535–550 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Morris, R.V.: The surface exposure (maturity) of lunar soils: Some concepts and Is/FeO compilation. In: Proceedings of the 9th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, pp. 2287–2297 (1978)Google Scholar
  46. Nealy, J.E., Wilson, J.W., Townsend, L.W.: Solar-flare shielding with regolith at a lunar base site. NASA Technical Paper 2869, p. 18 (1988)Google Scholar
  47. Ohtake, M., Matsunaga, T., Haruyama, J., Yokota, Y., Morota, T., Honda, C., Ogawa, Y., Torii, M., Miyamoto, H., Arai, T., Hirata, N., Iwasaki, A., Nakamura, R., Hiroi, T., Sugihara, T., Takeda, H., Otake, H., Pieters, C.M., Saiki, K., Kitazo, K., Abe, M., Asada, N., Demura, H., Yamaguchi, Y., Sasaki, S., Kodama, S., Terazono, J., Shirao, M., Yamaji, A., Minami, S., Akiyama, H., Josset, J.L.: The global distribution of pure anorthosite on the Moon. Nature 461, 236–240 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pahlevan, K., Stevenson, D.J.: Equilibration in the aftermath of the lunar-forming giant impact. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 262, 438–449 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Paige, D.A., Siegler, M.A., Zhang, J.A., Hayne, P.O., Foote, E.J., Bennett, K.A., Vasavada, A.R., Greenhagen, B.T., Schofield, J.T., McCleese, D.J., Foote, M.C., DeJong, E., Bills, B.G., Hartford, W., Murray, B.C., Allen, C.C., Snook, K., Soderblom, L.A., Calcutt, S., Taylor, F.W., Bowles, N.E., Banfield, J.L., Elphic, R., Ghent, R., Glotch, T.D., Wyatt, M.B., Lucey, P.G.: Diviner lunar radiometer observations of cold traps in the Moon’s south polar region. Science 330, 479–483 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Papike, J.J., Hodges, F.N., Bence, A.E., Cameron, M., Rhodes, J.M.: Mare basalts: Crystal chemistry, mineralogy and petrology. Reviews in Geophysics and Space Physics 14, 475–540 (1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Papike, J.J., Simon, S.B., Laul, J.C.: The lunar regolith: Chemistry, mineralogy, and petrology. Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics 20, 761–826 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Papike, J.J., Ryder, G., Shearer, C.K.: Lunar samples. In: Papike, J.J. (ed.) Planetary Materials, p. 234. Mineralogical Society of America, Washington DC (1998)Google Scholar
  53. Papike, J.J., Karner, J.M., Shearer, C.K.: Comparative planetary mineralogy: Valence state partitioning of Cr, Fe, Ti, and V among crystallographic sites in olivine, pyroxene, and spinel from planetary basalts. American Mineralogist 90, 277–290 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Parmentier, E.M., Zhong, S., Zuber, M.T.: Gravitational differentiation due to initial chemical stratification: Origin of lunar asymmetry by the creep of dense KREEP? Earth and Planetary Science Letters 201, 473–480 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pieters, C.M., Fischer, E.M., Rode, O., Basu, A.: Optical effects of space weathering: The role of the finest fraction. Journal of Geophysical Research 98, 20817–20824 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pieters, C.M., Boardman, J., Buratti, B., Clark, R., Combe, J.P., Green, R., Goswami, J.N., Head III, J., Hicks, M., Isaacson, P., Klima, R., Kramer, G., Kumar, K., Lundeen, S., Malaret, E., McCord, T., Mustard, J., Nettles, J., Petro, N., Runyon, C., Staid, M., Sunshine, J., Taylor, L.A., Thaisen, K., Tompkins, S., Varanasi, P.: Identification of a new spinel-rich lunar rock type by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3). In: 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #1854 (2010)Google Scholar
  57. Sasaki, S., Nakamura, K., Hamabe, Y., Kurahashi, E., Hiroi, T.: Production of iron nanoparticles by laser irradiation in a simulation of lunar-like space weathering. Nature 410, 555–557 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sharp, Z.D., Shearer, C.K., McKeegan, K.D., Barnes, J.D., Wang, Y.Q.: The chlorine isotope composition of the Moon and implications for an anhydrous mantle. Science (2010), doi:10.1126/science.1192606Google Scholar
  59. Shkuratov, Y.G., Bondarenko, N.V.: Regolith layer thickness mapping of the Moon by radar and optical data. Icarus 149, 329–338 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Smith, J.V., Anderson, A.T., Newton, R.C., Olsen, E.J., Wyllie, P.J., Crewe, A.V., Isaacson, M.S., Johnson, D.: Petrologic history of the Moon inferred from petrography, mineralogy, and petrogenesis of Apollo 11 rocks. In: Proceedings of the Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference, pp. 897–925 (1970)Google Scholar
  61. Stoeser, D.B., Benzel, W.M., Schrader, C.M., Edmunson, J.E., Rickman, D.L.: Notes on lithology, mineralogy, and production for lunar simulants. NASA technical memorandum 2011-216454, 49 p (2011)Google Scholar
  62. Stöffler, D., Grieve, R.A.F.: Impactites. Recommendations by the IUGS Subcommission on the Systematics of Metamorphic Rocks. IUGS Subcommission on the Systematics of Metamorphic Rocks 15 (2007)Google Scholar
  63. Sunshine, J.M., Besse, S., Petro, N.E., Pieters, C.M., Head, J.W., Taylor, L.A., Klima, R.L., Isaacson, P.J., Boardman, J.W., Clark, R.C., M3 Team.: Hidden in plain sight: Spinel-rich deposits on the nearside of the Moon as revealed by Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3). In: 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #1508 (2010)Google Scholar
  64. Taylor, L.A., Carrier III, W.D.: Oxygen production on the Moon: An overview and evaluation. In: Lewis, J., Matthews, M.S., Guerrieri, M.L. (eds.) Resources of Near-Earth Space, pp. 69–108 (1993)Google Scholar
  65. Taylor, L.A., Meek, T.T.: Microwave sintering of lunar soil: properties, theory, and practice. Journal of Aerospace Engineering 18, 188–196 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Taylor, L.A., Pieters, C.M., Keller, L.P., Morris, R.V., McKay, D.S.: Lunar mare soils: Space weathering and the major effects of surface-correlated nanophase Fe. Journal of Geophysical Research 106, 27985–27999 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Taylor, L.A., Pieters, C., Patchen, A., Taylor, D.-H.S., Morris, R.V., Keller, L.P., McKay, D.S.: Mineralogical and chemical characterization of lunar highlands soils: Insights into the space weathering of soils on airless bodies. Journal of Geophysical Research 115, E02002 (2010), doi:10.1029/2009JE003427Google Scholar
  68. Vaniman, D., Reedy, R., Heiken, G., Olhoeft, G., Mendell, W.: The lunar environment. In: Heiken, G.H., Vaniman, D.T., French, B.M. (eds.) Lunar Sourcebook: A User’s Guide to the Moon, pp. 27–60. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1991)Google Scholar
  69. Weber, R.C., Lin, P.Y., Garnero, E.J., Williams, Q., Lognonné, P.: Seismic detection of the lunar core. Science 331, 309–312 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wilhelms, D.E.: The geologic history of the Moon. United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 1348 (1987)Google Scholar
  71. Wong, N., Santarius, J., Taylor, L.A., Garrison, D.H., James, J.T., McKay, D.S., Kuhlman, K.R.: Decay of reactivity in forsterite due to UV radiation. Earth and Space, 29–35 (2010)Google Scholar
  72. Wood, J.A., Dickey, J.S., Marvin, U.B., Powell, B.N.: Lunar anorthosites and a geophysical model of the Moon. In: Proceedings of the Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference, pp. 965–988 (1970)Google Scholar
  73. Yoder, H.S., Stewart, D.B., Smith, J.R.: Ternary feldspars. Carnegie Institution of Washington Yearbook 56, 206–216 (1957)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Edmunson
    • 1
  • Douglas L. Rickman
    • 1
  1. 1.Marshall Space Flight CenterHuntsvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations