Water in Evolved Lunar Rocks

Robinson, Katharine
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
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The Moon was thought to be completely anhydrous until indigenous water was found in lunar samples in 2008. This discovery raised two fundamental questions about the Moon: how much water is present in the bulk Moon and is water uniformly distributed in the lunar interior? To address these questions, I studied a suite of lunar samples rich in a chemical component called KREEP (K, Rare Earth Elements, P), all of which are incompatible elements. Water behaves as an incompatible element in magmas, so KREEP-rich lunar samples are potentially water rich. In this dissertation, I present the results of a petrologic study of KREEP-rich lunar rocks, measurements of their water contents and deuterium (D) to hydrogen (H) ratios (D/H), and examined where these rocks fit into our understanding of water in the Moon as a whole. We performed a study of highly evolved, KREEP-rich lunar rocks called felsites and determined that they contain quartz. Using cooling rates derived from quartz-Ti thermometry, we show the felsites originated at a minimum pressure of ~1 kbar, corresponding to a minimum depth of 20-25 km in the lunar crust. We calculate that at that pressure water would have been soluble in the melt, indicating that degassing of H2O from the felsite parental melts was likely minimal and hydrogen isotopes in intrusive rocks are likely unfractionated. We then measured D/H in apatite in KREEP-rich intrusive rocks to clarify the solar system source of the Moon’s water. When viewed in the context of other lunar D/H studies, our results indicate there are at least three distinctive reservoirs in the lunar interior, including an ultra-low D reservoir that could represent a primitive component in the Moon’s interior. Furthermore, our measurements of residual glass in a KREEP basalt show that the KREEP basaltic magmas contained 10 times less water than the source of the Apollo 17 pyroclastic glass beads, indicating that, though wetter than previously thought, the concentration of water in the bulk Moon is still much lower than bulk Earth. The origin of these diverse reservoirs likely reflects a combination of complex processes during lunar formation and differentiation.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Moon, Lunar water, Evolved rocks, Hydrogen isotopes, Felsites, Lunar evolution
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Geology & Geophysics
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