The production rate of cosmogenic deuterium at the Moon’s surface

1Evelyn Füri, 1Etienne Deloulea, 2Reto Trappitsch
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 474, 76-82 Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2017.05.042]
1Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques, CNRS-UL, 15 rue Notre Dame des Pauvres, BP20, 54500 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex, France
2The University of Chicago, Department of Geophysical Sciences and Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry, 5734 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
Copyright Elsevier

The hydrogen (D/H) isotope ratio is a key tracer for the source of planetary water. However, secondary processes such as solar wind implantation and cosmic ray induced spallation reactions have modified the primordial D/H signature of ‘water’ in all rocks and soils recovered on the Moon. Here, we re-evaluate the production rate of cosmogenic deuterium (D) at the Moon’s surface through ion microprobe analyses of hydrogen isotopes in olivines from eight Apollo 12 and 15 mare basalts. These in situ measurements are complemented by CO2 laser extraction-static mass spectrometry analyses of cosmogenic noble gas nuclides (3He, 21Ne, 38Ar). Cosmic ray exposure (CRE) ages of the mare basalts, derived from their cosmogenic 21Ne content, range from 60 to 422 Ma. These CRE ages are 35% higher, on average, than the published values for the same samples. The amount of D detected in the olivines increases linearly with increasing CRE ages, consistent with a production rate of (2.17±0.11)×10−12 mol(g rock)−1 Ma−1. This value is more than twice as high as previous estimates for the production of D by galactic cosmic rays, indicating that for water-poor lunar samples, i.e., samples with water concentrations ≤50 ppm, corrected D/H ratios have been severely overestimated.

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