A Caltech Library Service

O¹⁸/O¹⁶, Si³⁰/Si²⁸, C¹³/C¹² and D/H studies of Apollo 14 and 15 samples

Epstein, S. and Taylor, H. P., Jr. (1972) O¹⁸/O¹⁶, Si³⁰/Si²⁸, C¹³/C¹² and D/H studies of Apollo 14 and 15 samples. In: Proceedings of the Third Lunar Science Conference. Vol.2. MIT Press , Cambridge, MA, pp. 1429-1454. ISBN 9780262120647.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


New δO¹⁸ and δSi³⁰ data on Apollo 14 and 15 samples further confirm the remarkable isotopic similarity of lunar rocks from different sites. As in the case of Apollo 11 and 12 samples, the lunar fines are enriched in O¹⁸ and Si³⁰ relative to the crystalline rocks from which they are derived. Certain Apollo 14 breccias (F-2) are also enriched in O¹⁸, and thus may in large part be derived from lunar soil. The Apollo 14 bottom trench samples are depleted in O¹⁸ relative to surface soils. The anorthosite 15415 has a δO¹⁸ very similar to that obtained for plagioclases in the lunar basalts. Utilizing successive partial fluorinations, large O¹⁸ and Si³⁰ enrichments (up to + 55 and + 30‰, respectively) were observed on the surfaces of grains of all Apollo 14 and 15 fines, but no such enrichment exists for 14321, a rock breccia (class F-4). These large O¹⁸- and Si³⁰-enrichments are directly related to the amount of solar wind hydrogen present in the sample. These isotopic effects must be a result of exposure of the lunar fines to bombardment by meteorites, micrometeorites, and/or nuclear particles, with preferential loss of Si²⁸ and O¹⁶ by fractional vaporization, or preferential gain of Si³⁰ and O¹⁸ by fractional condensation. These effects are accompanied by a reduction in the overall oxygen/silicon ratio, indicating that the O₂/Si ratio of material carried away during vaporization is > 2. Further confirmation has been obtained that the deuterium concentration in hydrogen gas extracted from the lunar fines is less than about 3 ppm. Even this small amount of deuterium could be due to spallation because an abnormally deuterium-rich fraction of gas was extracted during the melting of the lunar samples. The bulk of the hydrogen in the lunar fines is clearly of solar wind origin; the latter apparently has a δD value close to -1000 (0 ppm deuterium). The small amounts of H₂O (~10 μmole/g) extracted from one lunar soil and one rock breccia have δO¹⁸ values of -5.9 and -18.2, well within the δO¹⁸ range of terrestrial atmospheric H₂O. Taken together with other considerations, this strongly indicates that most of this water is a terrestrial contaminant taken to the moon by the Apollo spacecraft or added to the samples after their return to earth. The carbon concentrations and the δC¹³ values in lunar samples are both highly variable, about 10 to 260 ppm and about - 30 to +20, respectively. Nonetheless, there is a progressive enrichment in δC¹³ with increasing carbon content, and all the data can be explained by mixing solar wind carbon having a variable δC¹³ of +10 to +25 with lunar basalts containing about 25 ppm carbon and having a δC¹³ = -30 to -20. However, because of possible addition of meteoritic carbon, and because of possible C¹³ enrichment due to particle bombardment, we cannot at this time definitely determine whether the bulk of the lunar carbon is of solar wind or meteoritic origin.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Alternate Title:O18/O16, Si30/Si28, C13/C12 and D/H studies of Apollo 14 and 15 samples
Additional Information:We wish to thank L. T. Silver and D. S. Burnett for fruitful discussions, and Paul Yanagisawa for carrying out much of the laboratory work. This research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Grant No. NGL-05-002-190. This paper is Contribution No. 2164, Publications of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences2164
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221115-164153620
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117870
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Nov 2022 19:05
Last Modified:29 Nov 2022 19:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page