A Critical Examination of Relative Concentrations of Volume-correlated and Surface-correlated Submicron Globules of Pure Fe-0 in Lunar SoilsImpacts on lunar soils produce melt and vapor in an approximate proportion of 7:1. The melt scavenges soil grains of diverse size, quenches and forms agglutinates, thereby converting surface correlated components of soil grains as volume correlated components; simultaneously, parts of the vapor may condense or escape. Cumulative small impacts increase the maturity of the soils, increase the abundance of agglutinates, and increase the concentration of vapor condensated material. Since the discovery of vapor deposited crystalline Fe-0 in vugs of regolith breccias and the theoretical anticipation of amorphous vapor deposits of diverse composition coating lunar soils grains, empirical evidence is gathering in support of such deposits, now commonly called vapor deposited patina (VDP). In addition, submicron globules of Fe-0 are seen to be ubiquitous in VDP. The amorphous VDP lowers the albedo of lunar soils, affects magnetic properties of soils, changes the slopes of uv-vis-ir reflectance spectra, and potentially also alters the gamma and x-ray spectra of lunar soils, compromising compositional inferences from remote sensing.
Basu, A. (Indiana Univ. Bloomington, IN, United States)
McKay, D. S. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Wentworth, S. J. (Lockheed Martin Corp. Houston, TX, United States)