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    New geochemical models of core formation in the Moon from metal–silicate partitioning of 15 siderophile elements

    Steenstra, E.S. and Rai, Nachiketa and Knibbe, J.S. and Lin, Y.H. and van Westrenen, W. (2016) New geochemical models of core formation in the Moon from metal–silicate partitioning of 15 siderophile elements. Earth & Planetary Science Letters 441 , pp. 1-9. ISSN 0012-821X.

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    We re-examine the conditions at which core formation in the Moon may have occurred by linking the observed lunar mantle depletions of 15 siderophile elements, including volatile siderophile elements (VSE) to predictive equations derived from a database compilation of metal–silicate partition coefficients obtained at lunar-relevant pressure–temperature–oxygen fugacity (P–T–fO2P–T–fO2) conditions. Our results suggest that at mantle temperatures between the solidus and liquidus the depletions for all elements considered can be satisfied, but only if the Moon was essentially fully molten at the time of core formation while assuming a S-rich (>8 wt%) core comprising 2.5 wt% of the mass of the Moon. However, we observe that at temperatures exceeding the mantle liquidus, with increasing temperature the core S content required to satisfy the element depletions is reduced. As a S-poor core is likely from recent lunar mantle estimates of S abundance, this suggests much higher temperatures during lunar core formation than previously proposed. We conclude that the VSE depletions in the lunar mantle can be solely explained by core formation depletion, suggesting that no significant devolatilization has occurred in later periods of lunar evolution. This is in agreement with the discovery of significant amounts of other volatiles in the lunar interior, but hard to reconcile with current lunar formation models.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): lunar, core, siderophile, metal, silicate, partitioning
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2016 16:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:22


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