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Surface Coatings on Lunar Volcanic GlassesWe are undertaking a detailed study of surface deposits on lunar volcanic glass beads. These tiny deposits formed by vapor condensation during cooling of the gases that drove the fire fountain eruptions responsible for the formation of the beads. Volcanic glass beads are present in most lunar soil samples in the returned lunar collection. The mare-composition beads formed as a result of fire-fountaining approx.3.4-3.7 Ga ago, within the age range of large-scale mare volcanism. Some samples from the Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 landing sites are enriched in volcanic spherules. Three major types of volcanic glass bead have been identified: Apollo 15 green glass, Apollo 17 orange glass, and Apollo 17 "black" glass. The Apollo 15 green glass has a primitive composition with low Ti. The high-Ti compositions of the orange and black glasses are essentially identical to each other but the black glasses are opaque because of quench crystallization. A poorly understood feature common to the Apollo 15 and 17 volcanic glasses is the presence of small deposits of unusual materials on their exterior surfaces. For example, early studies indicated that the Apollo 17 orange glasses had surface enrichments of In, Cd, Zn, Ga, Ge, Au, and Na, and possible Pb- and Zn-sulfides, but it was not possible to characterize the surface features in detail. Technological advances now permit us to examine such features in detail. Preliminary FE-TEM/X-ray studies of ultramicrotome sections of Apollo 15 green glass indicate that the surface deposits are heterogeneous and layered, with an inner layer consisting of Fe with minor S and an outer layer of Fe and no S, and scattered Zn enrichments. Layering in surface deposits has not been identified previously; it will be key to defining the history of lunar fire fountaining.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wentworth, Susan J. (Engineering Research and Consulting, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
McKay, D. S. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Thomas,-Keprta, K. L. (Barrios Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Clemett, S. J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2007
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Meeting Information
Geological Society of America Annual Meeting(Denver, CO)
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