NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
The Stratigraphy and Evolution of the Lunar CrustReconstruction of stratigraphic relationships in the ancient lunar crust has proved to be a formidable task. The intense bombardment during the first 700 m.y. of lunar history has severely perturbed the original stratigraphy and destroyed the primary textures of all but a few nonmare rocks. However, a knowledge of the crustal stratigraphy as it existed prior to the cataclysmic bombardment about 3.9 Ga is essential to test the major models proposed for crustal origin, i.e., crystal fractionation in a global magmasphere or serial magmatism in a large number of smaller bodies. Despite the large difference in scale implicit in these two models, both require an efficient separation of plagioclase and mafic minerals to form the anorthositic crust and the mafic mantle. Despite the havoc wreaked by the large body impactors, these same impact processes have brought to the lunar surface crystalline samples derived from at least the upper half of the lunar crust, thereby providing an opportunity to reconstruct the stratigraphy in areas sampled by the Apollo missions. As noted, ejecta from the large multiring basins are dominantly, or even exclusively, of crustal origin. Given the most recent determinations of crustal thicknesses, this implies an upper limit to the depth of excavation of about 60 km. Of all the lunar samples studied, a small set has been recognized as "pristine", and within this pristine group, a small fraction have retained some vestiges of primary features formed during the earliest stages of crystallization or recrystallization prior to 4.0 Ga. We have examined a number of these samples that have retained some record of primary crystallization to deduce thermal histories from an analysis of structural, textural, and compositional features in minerals from these samples. Specifically, by quantitative modeling of (1) the growth rate and development of compositional profiles of exsolution lamellae in pyroxenes and (2) the rate of Fe-Mg ordering in orthopyroxenes, we can constrain the cooling rates of appropriate lunar samples. These cooling rates are used to compute depths of burial at the time of crystallization, which enable us to reconstruct parts of the crustal stratigraphy as it existed during the earliest stages of lunar history.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
McCallum, I. Stewart (Washington Univ. Seattle, WA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: Workshop on New Views of the Moon: Integrated Remotely Sensed, Geophysical, and Sample Datasets
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Exploration
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle19990046115Analytic PrimaryWorkshop on New Views of the Moon: Integrated Remotely Sensed, Geophysical, and Sample Datasets