ArticlesAbundance of Major Elements

Rare Gases in Lunar Samples: Study of Distribution and Variafions by a Microprobe Technique

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Science  30 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3918, pp. 571-574
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3918.571


The rare gas distribution in lunar soil, breccias, and rocks was studied with a micro-helium-probe. Gases are concentrated in grain surfaces and originate from solar wind. Helium-4 concentrations of different mineral components vary by more than a factor of 10 apart from individual fluctuations for each type. Also grains with no detectable helium-4 exist. Titanium-rich components have the highest, calcium-rich minerals the lowest concentrations. The solar wind was redistributed by diffusion. Mean gas layer thicknesses are 10, 6, and 5 µm for helium, neon, and argon respectively. Lithic fragments in breccias contain no solar gases. Glass pitted surfaces of crystalline rocks contain about 10-2 cubic centimeter of helium-4 per square centimeter. Etched dust grains clearly show spallogenic and radiogenic components. The apparent mean exposure age of dust is approximately 500 x 106 years, its potassium-argon age is approximately 3.5 x 109 yerars. Cavities of crystalline rocks contain helium-4, radiogenic argon, H2, and N2

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