Current Research in EEPS: Dr. Nicole Nie, Carnegie Institution for Science
Lunar Volatile Loss in the Aftermath of the Giant Impact
The Moon is severely depleted in volatile elements compared to the Earth, from which the Moon received its most materials. Identifying the causes of the volatile depletion is critical for our understanding of the conditions under which the Moon formed and evolved. Various scenarios involving the giant impact and lunar magma ocean have been proposed to explain the depletion. In order to distinguish among them and to trace the volatile depletion processes, I turned to isotopes of moderately volatile elements (MVEs), in particular Rb and K. The isotopes of the two elements are sensitive to large-scale volatilization processes, but they remain unaffected by lunar core formation or magma eruption on lunar surface. In the presentation, I will show that the isotopic compositions of Rb, K, and other MVEs in the Moon require that the lunar volatile loss occurred in a partially vaporized protolunar disk. Volatile elements were transferred from the protolunar disk to the Earth through a slightly undersaturated vapor, leading to their depletion in the Moon.
Webinar ID: 968 1270 5534