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The magma ocean as an impediment to lunar plate tectonicsThe primary impediment to plate tectonics on the moon was probably the great thickness of its crust and particularly its high crust/lithosphere thickness ratio. This in turn can be attributed to the preponderance of low-density feldspar over all other Al-compatible phases in the lunar interior. During the magma ocean epoch, the moon's crust/lithosphere thickness ratio was at the maximum theoretical value, approximately 1, and it remained high for a long time afterwards. A few large regions of thin crust were produced by basin-scale cratering approximately contemporaneous with the demise of the magma ocean. However, these regions probably also tend to have uncommonly thin lithosphere, since they were directly heated and indirectly enriched in K, Th, and U by the same cratering process. Thus, plate tectonics on the moon in the form of systematic lithosphere subduction was impeded by the magma ocean.
Document ID
19930049223
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Warren, Paul H. (California Univ. Los Angeles, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
March 25, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 98
Issue: E3
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NAG9-87
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other