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Title: A Low Viscosity Lunar Magma Ocean Forms a Stratified Anorthitic Flotation Crust With Mafic Poor and Rich Units

Abstract

Much of the lunar crust is monomineralic, comprising >98% plagioclase. The prevailing model argues the crust accumulated as plagioclase floated to the surface of a solidifying lunar magma ocean (LMO). Whether >98% pure anorthosites can form in a flotation scenario is debated. An important determinant of the efficiency of plagioclase fractionation is the viscosity of the LMO liquid, which was unconstrained. Here we present results from new experiments conducted on a late LMO-relevant ferrobasaltic melt. The liquid has an exceptionally low viscosity of 0.22 $$+0.11\atop{-0.19}$$to 1.45 $$+0.46\atop{-0.82}$$ Pa s at experimental conditions (1,300–1,600°C; 0.1–4.4 GPa) and can be modeled by an Arrhenius relation. Extrapolating to LMO-relevant temperatures, our analysis suggests a low viscosity LMO would form a stratified flotation crust, with the oldest units containing a mafic component and with very pure younger units. Old, impure crust may have been buried by lower crustal diapirs of pure anorthosite in a serial magmatism scenario.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States)
  3. Carnegie Inst. of Science, Argonne, IL (United States). High Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Advanced Photon Source (APS)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
OSTI Identifier:
1418040
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC02- 06CH11357]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 44; Journal Issue: 22]; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
ENGLISH
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; viscosity; viscometry; lunar magma ocean; flotation crust; plagioclase; Paris‐Edinburgh

Citation Formats

Dygert, Nick, Lin, Jung-Fu, Marshall, Edward W., Kono, Yoshio, and Gardner, James E. A Low Viscosity Lunar Magma Ocean Forms a Stratified Anorthitic Flotation Crust With Mafic Poor and Rich Units. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017GL075703.
Dygert, Nick, Lin, Jung-Fu, Marshall, Edward W., Kono, Yoshio, & Gardner, James E. A Low Viscosity Lunar Magma Ocean Forms a Stratified Anorthitic Flotation Crust With Mafic Poor and Rich Units. United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL075703.
Dygert, Nick, Lin, Jung-Fu, Marshall, Edward W., Kono, Yoshio, and Gardner, James E. Tue . "A Low Viscosity Lunar Magma Ocean Forms a Stratified Anorthitic Flotation Crust With Mafic Poor and Rich Units". United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL075703. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1418040.
@article{osti_1418040,
title = {A Low Viscosity Lunar Magma Ocean Forms a Stratified Anorthitic Flotation Crust With Mafic Poor and Rich Units},
author = {Dygert, Nick and Lin, Jung-Fu and Marshall, Edward W. and Kono, Yoshio and Gardner, James E.},
abstractNote = {Much of the lunar crust is monomineralic, comprising >98% plagioclase. The prevailing model argues the crust accumulated as plagioclase floated to the surface of a solidifying lunar magma ocean (LMO). Whether >98% pure anorthosites can form in a flotation scenario is debated. An important determinant of the efficiency of plagioclase fractionation is the viscosity of the LMO liquid, which was unconstrained. Here we present results from new experiments conducted on a late LMO-relevant ferrobasaltic melt. The liquid has an exceptionally low viscosity of 0.22 $+0.11\atop{-0.19}$to 1.45 $+0.46\atop{-0.82}$ Pa s at experimental conditions (1,300–1,600°C; 0.1–4.4 GPa) and can be modeled by an Arrhenius relation. Extrapolating to LMO-relevant temperatures, our analysis suggests a low viscosity LMO would form a stratified flotation crust, with the oldest units containing a mafic component and with very pure younger units. Old, impure crust may have been buried by lower crustal diapirs of pure anorthosite in a serial magmatism scenario.},
doi = {10.1002/2017GL075703},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = [22],
volume = [44],
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}

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