Lunar Impact Glasses: Probing the Moon’s Surface and Constraining its Impact History

1N.E.B. Zellner
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets) (In Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JE006050]
1Department of Physics, Albion College, Albion, MI, USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Lunar impact glasses, formed during impact events when the regolith was quenched during the ejecta’s ballistic flight, are small samples whose information can lead to important advances in studies of the Moon. For example, they provide evidence that constrains both the compositional evolution of the lunar crust and the timing of the lunar impact flux starting at ~4000 million years ago. They are abundant in the lunar regolith and retain geochemical information that tells us where and when they formed. Thus they provide important details about areas of the Moon both sampled and not sampled by Apollo or Luna missions or lunar meteorites. Additionally, as a result of these glasses possessing a chemical memory of formation location and age, studies of lunar impact glasses provide a foundation on which to conduct studies of impact glasses from other planetary bodies. A summary of past and current lunar impact glass investigations, using glasses from the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 regoliths, along with plans for future work, will be presented.

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