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Possible lunar oresDespite the conventional wisdom that there are no lunar ores, geochemical considerations suggest that local concentrations of useful rare elements exist on the Moon in spite of its extreme dryness. The Moon underwent protracted igneous activity in its history, and certain magmatic processes can concentrate incompatible elements even if anhydrous. Such processes include: (1) separation of a magma into immiscible liquid phases (depending on composition, these could be silicate-silicate, silicate-oxide, silicate-sulfide, or silicate-salt); (2) cumulate deposits in layered igneous intrusions; and (3) concentrations of rare, refractory, lithophile elements (e.g., Be, Li, Zr) in highly differentiated, silica-rich magmas, as in the lunar granites. Terrestrial mining experience indicates that the single most important characteristic of a potential ore is its concentration of the desire element. The utility of a planet as a resource base is that the welter of interacting processes over geologic time can concentrate rare element automatically. This advantage is squandered if adequate exploration for ores is not first carried out.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gillett, Stephen L.
(Nevada Univ. Reno, NV, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Resources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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