History and Evolution of Volatiles in the Earth-Moon System

Lead Research Organisation: Open University
Department Name: Faculty of Sci, Tech, Eng & Maths (STEM)


Recent research on lunar samples has confirmed significant presence of water and other volatiles in the Moon (e.g., Hauri et al., 2017). These findings are being used to revise Moon formation models and transform our understanding of the sources and timing of delivery of volatiles to the Earth-Moon system during earliest periods of the Solar System history (Barnes et al., 2016a).
Much of the lunar volatiles research has been carried out in-situ on melt inclusions, nominally anhydrous minerals and the mineral apatite that contains water (as hydroxyl) and other volatile elements (e.g., F, Cl, S) in its crystal structure. Of these, apatite is the most common volatile-bearing phase across a wide variety of lunar rocks. The H and Cl isotope signatures of lunar apatite reveal complex interplay between planetary processes (e.g., magma degassing, cosmic ray spallation, impact-induced metasomatism) that need to be better understood in order to identify and quantify different sources of volatiles to the Earth-Moon system (Fig. 1). Currently, an in-depth study linking petrography with in-situ geochemical measurements for volatiles in planetary samples is lacking. This approach is key to interpreting existing and any new dataset for constraining various solar system processes and evaluate the role asteroids and comets in delivering water to the Earth-Moon system (e.g., Marty, 2012).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/S505614/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022
2131636 Studentship ST/S505614/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2021 Tara Hayden