ArticlesTrace Elements

Trace Elements and Radioactivity in Lunar Rocks: Implications for Meteorite Infall, Solar-Wind Flux, and Formation Conditions of Moon

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Science  30 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3918, pp. 490-493
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3918.490


Lunar soil and type C breccias are enriched 3-to 100-fold in Ir, Au, Zn, Cd, Ag, Br, Bi, and Tl, relative to type A, B rocks. Smaller enrichments were found for Co, Cu, Ga, Pd, Rb, and Cs. The solar wind at present intensity can account for only 3 percent of this enrichment; an upper limit to the average proton flux during the last 4.5 x 109 years thus is 8 x 109 cm-2 yr-1. The remaining enrichment seems to be due to a 1.5 to 2 percent admixture of carbonaceous-chondritelike material, corresponding to an average influx rate of meteoritic and cometary matter of 2.9 x 10-9 g cm-2 yr-1 at Tranquility Base. This is about one-quarter the terrestrial rate. Type A, B rocks are depleted 10-to 100-fold in Ag, Au, Zn, Cd, In, Tl, and Bi, relative to terrestrial basalts. This suggests loss by high-temperature volatilization, before or after accretion of the moon. Positron activities due mainly to 22Na and 26Al range from 90 to 220 β+ min-1 kg-1 in five small rocks or fragments (9 to 29 g). The higher activities presumably indicate surface locations. Th and U contents generally agree with those found by the preliminary examination team.

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