Report

Seismic Detection of the Lunar Core

Science  21 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6015, pp. 309-312
DOI: 10.1126/science.1199375

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Abstract

Despite recent insight regarding the history and current state of the Moon from satellite sensing and analyses of limited Apollo-era seismic data, deficiencies remain in our understanding of the deep lunar interior. We reanalyzed Apollo lunar seismograms using array-processing methods to search for the presence of reflected and converted seismic energy from the core. Our results suggest the presence of a solid inner and fluid outer core, overlain by a partially molten boundary layer. The relative sizes of the inner and outer core suggest that the core is ~60% liquid by volume. Based on phase diagrams of iron alloys and the presence of partial melt, the core probably contains less than 6 weight % of lighter alloying components, which is consistent with a volatile-depleted interior.

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