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  • Lunar-atmospheres-accepted

    Rights statement: Accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. Copyright 2020 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.

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Volcanically Induced Transient Atmospheres on the Moon: Assessment of Duration, Significance, and Contributions to Polar Volatile Traps

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  • J.W. Head
  • L. Wilson
  • A.N. Deutsch
  • M.J. Rutherford
  • A.E. Saal
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/09/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number18
Volume47
Number of pages9
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/09/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

A transient lunar atmosphere formed during a peak period of volcanic outgassing and lasting up to about ~70 Ma was recently proposed. We utilize forward-modeling of individual lunar basaltic eruptions and the observed geologic record to predict eruption frequency, magma volumes, and rates of volcanic volatile release. Typical lunar mare basalt eruptions have volumes of ~102–103 km3, last less than a year, and have a rapidly decreasing volatile release rate. The total volume of lunar mare basalts erupted is small, and the repose period between individual eruptions is predicted to range from 20,000 to 60,000 years. Only under very exceptional circumstances could sufficient volatiles be released in a single eruption to create a transient atmosphere with a pressure as large as ~0.5 Pa. The frequency of eruptions was likely too low to sustain any such atmosphere for more than a few thousand years. Transient, volcanically induced atmospheres were probably inefficient sources for volatile delivery to permanently shadowed lunar polar regions. ©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Bibliographic note

Accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. Copyright 2020 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.