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  • Article
  • Open Access

A new model of lunar crust: asymmetry in crustal composition and evolution

Earth, Planets and Space200860:BF03352808

  • Received: 7 May 2007
  • Accepted: 21 December 2007
  • Published:


Earlier models of lunar crustal formation as a simple flotation of ferroan anorthosites (FAN) do not account for the diverse crustal composition revealed by feldspathic lunar meteorites and granulites in the Apollo samples. Based on the integrated results of recent studies of lunar meteorites and global chemical and mineralogical maps, we propose a novel asymmetric crust model with a ferroan, noritic, nearside crust and a magnesian, troctolitic farside crust. Asymmetric crystallization of a primordial magma ocean can be one possibility to produce a crust with an asymmetric composition. A post-magma-ocean origin for a portion of the lunar crust is also possible and would account for the positive eNd value for FAN and phase equilibria. The formation of giant basins, such as the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin may have significant effects on resurfacing of the early lunar crust. Thus, the observed surface composition of the feldspathic highland terrane (FHT) represents the combined results of magma ocean crystallization, post-magma-ocean magmatism and resurfacing by basin formation. The Mg/(Mg+Fe) ratios, rock types, and mineral compositions of the FHT and the South Pole-Aitken basin Terrane (SPAT) obtained from the KAGUYA mission, coupled with further mineralogical and isotopic studies of lunar meteorites, will facilitate an assessment of the feasibility of the proposed crust model and improve understanding of lunar crustal genesis and evolution.

Key words

  • Moon
  • crustal evolution
  • asymmetry
  • lunar meteorites