A Caltech Library Service

The formation of pure anorthosite on the Moon

Piskorz, Danielle and Stevenson, David J. (2014) The formation of pure anorthosite on the Moon. Icarus, 239 . pp. 238-243. ISSN 0019-1035.

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

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The giant impact hypothesis for the origin of the Moon points to the creation of a hot, young Moon, likely with a global magma ocean. Such a magma ocean would produce a flotation crust of plagioclase crystals, or an anorthositic crust. Early calculations of the expected anorthosite content of the lunar highlands crust did not match initial measurements of Apollo samples, and more recently have not matched Clementine measurements or SELENE measurements, because they assumed interstitial melt would freeze. We consider a physical model of a magma ocean with an accumulating flotation lid, and find that significant escape of melt can take place for reasonable physical parameters and timescales of melt migration, even allowing for the inhibiting effect of plausible compaction viscosities. This model permits more nearly pure lunar anorthosites, consistent with observations. The model encounters some difficulty in explaining the expulsion of melt for the near-surface crust (up to five-kilometers’ depth) that presumably dominates the Apollo samples, suggesting that impact mixing and tidal heating are needed to explain the discrepancy.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Piskorz, Danielle0000-0003-4451-2342
Stevenson, David J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 2014 Elsevier Inc. Received 9 December 2013. Revised 26 May 2014. Accepted 7 June 2014. Available online 21 June 2014. We wish to thank Tony Morse and Brad Jolliff for their helpful comments and suggestions which significantly improved this manuscript.
Subject Keywords:Moon; Moon, surface; Mineralogy; Geophysics
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140829-091259032
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Danielle Piskorz, David J. Stevenson, The formation of pure anorthosite on the Moon, Icarus, Volume 239, 1 September 2014, Pages 238-243, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:49054
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:29 Aug 2014 16:29
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 07:10

Repository Staff Only: item control page