Controls on determining the bulk water content of the Moon

Ananya Mallik, Sabrina Schwinger, Arkadeep Roy, Pranabendu Moitra

Version of Record online: 15 November 2022


“The Moon is much wetter than previously thought. The estimated bulk H2O concentrations based on the analyses of H2O in lunar materials show a wide range from 5 to 1650 ppm. To better constrain bulk H2O in the lunar magma ocean (LMO), we model LMO crystallization and vary DH (concentration of H2O in LMO mineral/concentration of H2O in melt), interstitial melt fraction, and initial LMO depth. We take the highest and lowest values of DH reported in the literature for the LMO minerals. We assess the bulk H2O content required in the initial magma ocean to satisfy two observational constraints: (1) H2O measured in plagioclase grains from ferroan anorthosites and (2) crustal mass from GRAIL. We find that the initial bulk LMO H2O that best explains the H2O content in crustal plagioclase is strongly dependent on DH rather than interstitial melt fractions or initial LMO depths, with a drier magma ocean (10 ppm H2O) being favored with higher DH and a wetter magma ocean (100–1000 ppm H2O) with lower DH. This underscores the importance of constraining DH specific to lunar conditions in future studies. We also demonstrate that crustal mass is not an effective hygrometer.”