ArticlesOther Physical Properties

Thermoluminescence of Lunar Samples

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Science  30 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3918, pp. 713-715
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3918.713


Appreciable natural thermoluminescence with glow curve peaks at about 350 degrees centigrade for lunar fines and breccias and above 400 degrees centigrade for crystalline rocks has been recognized in lunar samples. Plagioclase has been identified as the principal carrier of thermoluminescence, and the diference in peak temperatures indicates compositional or structural differences between the feldspars of the different rock types. The present thermoluminescence in the lunar samples is probably the result of a dynamic equilibrium between acquisition from radiation and loss in the lunar thermal environment. A progressive change in the glow curves of core samples with depth below the surface suggests the use of thermoluminescence disequilibrium to detect surfaces buried by recent surface activity, and it also indicates that the lunar diurnal temperature variation penetrates to at least 10.5 centimeters.