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An intrinsic volatility scale relevant to the Earth and Moon and the status of water in the Moon

Abstract : The notion of a dry Moon has recently been challenged by the discovery of high water contents in lunar apatites and in melt inclusions within olivine crystals from two pyroclastic glasses. The highest and most compelling water contents were found in pyroclastic glasses that are not very common on the lunar surface. To obtain more representative constraints on the volatile content of the lunar interior, we measured the Zn content, a moderately volatile element, of mineral and rock fragments in lunar soils collected during Apollo missions. We here confirm that the Moon is significantly more depleted in Zn than the Earth. Combining Zn with existing K and Rb data on similar rocks allows us to anchor a new volatility scale based on the bond energy of nonsiderophile elements in their condensed phases. Extrapolating the volatility curve to H shows that the bulk of the lunar interior must be dry (<=1 ppm). This contrasts with the water content of the mantle sources of pyroclastic glasses, inferred to contain up to approximately 40 ppm water based on H2O/Ce ratios. These observations are best reconciled if the pyroclastic glasses derive from localized water-rich heterogeneities in a dominantly dry lunar interior. We argue that, although late addition of 0.015% of a chondritic veneer to the Moon seems required to explain the abundance of platinum group elements (Day et al. 2007), the volatile content of the added material was clearly heterogeneous.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 25, 2019 - 6:23:45 PM
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Francis Albarede, Emmanuelle Albalat, Cin-Ty Lee. An intrinsic volatility scale relevant to the Earth and Moon and the status of water in the Moon. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, Wiley, 2015, 50, pp.568-577. ⟨10.1111/maps.12331⟩. ⟨hal-02334188⟩



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