ArticlesAbundance of Major Elements

Tritium and Argon Radioactivties in Lunar Material

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Science  30 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3918, pp. 566-568
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3918.566


Tritium and argon radioactivities, attributable to galactic and solar cosmic-ray interactions, were measured in lunar soil and in three lunar rocks. The tritium in the soil, 325 ± 17 disintegrations per minute per kilogram, is slightly higher than that in the rocks, 212 to 250 dpm/kg. For two rocks, the tritium was combined with the helium-3 in order to calculate exposure ages of 375 ± 40 and 205 ± 25 million years. The argon-37 radioactivities, 21.0 to 27.2 dpm/kg, and the argon-39 radioactivities, 12.1 to 16.4 dpm/kg, are slightly higher than those in stony meteorites. Higher exposure ages were obtained from the argon isotopes than from tritium and helium-3. On the basis of the known galactic cosmic-ray flux and the known cross section, at least half of the observed radioactivities are produced by solar cosmic rays.

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