Department of Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences
Building & Room: 54-1220
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
ORIGIN OF LUNAR BASALTS
A long-standing paradigm for the origin of lunar mare basalts has been that they are the late products (~3.3 to 3.7 Ga) of remelting of a deep cumulate pile that was formed from the solidifcation of a 400 km deep, global magma ocean between 4.4 and 4.3 Ga. A unique class of lunar mare magmas, the ultramafic glasses provide key evidence of the conditions and processes that led to the cumulate remelting.
Our current research focuses on the conditions of remelting in the moon's interior and on the nature of the source materials. This is accomplished by performing high-pressure, high-temperature experiments on both lunar ultramafic glasses and inferred cumulate source composition.
Our recent work has shown that oxidation state of the source is anextremely important variable that was not previously recognized. Graduate student Mike Krawczynski is exploring the constraints of variations in source oxidation state on the processes of ultramafic glass production.
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