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Highly Silicic Compositions on the Moon

Science  17 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5998, pp. 1510-1513
DOI: 10.1126/science.1192148

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Abstract

Using data from the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, we show that four regions of the Moon previously described as “red spots” exhibit mid-infrared spectra best explained by quartz, silica-rich glass, or alkali feldspar. These lithologies are consistent with evolved rocks similar to lunar granites in the Apollo samples. The spectral character of these spots is distinct from surrounding mare and highlands material and from regions composed of pure plagioclase feldspar. The variety of landforms associated with the silicic spectral character suggests that both extrusive and intrusive silicic magmatism occurred on the Moon. Basaltic underplating is the preferred mechanism for silicic magma generation, leading to the formation of extrusive landforms. This mechanism or silicate liquid immiscibility could lead to the formation of intrusive bodies.

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