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Thermal constraints on the Origin of the Moon

Pritchard, M. E. and Stevenson, D. J. (2000) Thermal constraints on the Origin of the Moon. In: Origin of the earth and moon. University of Arizona Press , Tucson, AZ, pp. 179-196. ISBN 9780816520732.

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We develop and analyze the arguments that giant impact scenarios of lunar origin appear to require an initially hot Moon (near or above the solidus for most of the mass). Pre-giant-impact heating, impact heating, disk evolution heating and cooling, and the accretion of the Moon are all taken into account. However, the current poor understanding of the dynamical continuum disk phase that is expected to intervene between the endpoint of standard giant impact simulations (Cameron et al.) and the beginning of lunatesimal aggregation scenarios (Canup and coworkers), together with other uncertainties, prevent precise conclusions for initial lunar temperatures. Isotopic considerations (especially potassium) do not argue against extensive devolatilization during lunar formation. We also assess the geological and geochemical evidence suggesting that a substantial fraction of the initial Moon was cold (~1000 K or less). These arguments are difficult to quantify with high certainty for several reasons, especially the uncertain mechanical properties of the near-surface materials. We conclude that the current uncertainties prevent a firm conclusion about possible conflict between the giant impact scenario and lunar history. However, the bulk of the evidence and modeling suggests hot (near solidus or above) initial conditions for nearly all the lunar mass.

Item Type:Book Section
Stevenson, D. J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 2000 University of Arizona Press. We thank S. Solomon and Y. Abe for critical reviews and acknowledge N. Sleep, J. Melosh, O. Weisberg, W. Kiefer, A. Freed, J. Eiler, S. Solomatov, M. Golombek, and R. Canup for useful discussions. M.E.P. was partly supported from the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program.
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130812-103033691
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:39871
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Aug 2013 21:49
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:11

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