Global Hydrogen Abundances on the Lunar Surface

David J. Lawrence1, Patrick N. Peplowski1, Jack T. Wilson1, and Richard C. Elphic2
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets) (in Press) Link to Article []
1Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
2NASA Ames Spaceflight Center, Moffett Field, California
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

A global map of bulk hydrogen abundances on the Moon is presented. This map was generated using data from the Lunar Prospector Neutron Spectrometer. This map required corrections for variations due to rare-earth elements, and was calibrated to Apollo sample hydrogen abundances. Since neutron-derived measurements sample hydrogen content to a depth of tens of cm, these results provide complementary insights to those provided by studies using spectral reflectance data, which sample depths of order μm. Comparison of these abundances to Apollo sample values suggest that the samples reflect actual hydrogen content on the lunar surface, not dominantly from non-lunar contamination. The average lunar hydrogen abundance is 47 ppm with a systematic uncertainty of ∼10 ppm. This is consistent with bulk hydrogen from solar wind emplacement. A bulk hydrogen enhancement (50–68 ppm) has been identified at the Moon’s largest pyroclastic deposit (Aristarchus Plateau), which corroborates prior observations that hydrogen and/or water plays a role in lunar magmatic events. Global data show a correlation between hydrogen and evolved materials rich in incompatible trace elements (i.e., KREEP type rocks), with a hydrogen excess of 14–36 ppm in these materials. Based on this hydrogen enhancement, we estimate a lower-limit water abundance within urKREEP materials (i.e., the final ∼2% of the lunar magma ocean) of 320–820 ppm H2O. This observation implies that water played a role in the original magma-ocean formation and solidification with a lower-limit water content in the original lunar magma ocean of 7–16 ppm or higher.


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