Experimental constraints on the solidification of a hydrous lunar magma ocean

Yanhao Lin*, Hejiu Hui, Xiaoping Xia, Sheng Shang, Wim van Westrenen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The identification of hydrogen in a range of lunar samples and the similarity of its abundance and isotopic composition with terrestrial values suggest that water could have been present in the Moon since its formation. To quantify the effect of water on early lunar differentiation, we present new analyses of a high-pressure, high-temperature experimental study designed to model the mineralogical and geochemical evolution of the solidification material equivalent to 700 km deep lunar magma oceans first reported in Lin et al. (2017a). We also performed additional experiments to better quantify water contents in the run products. Water contents in the melt phases in hydrous run products spanning a range of crystallization steps were quantified directly using a secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Results suggest that a significant but constant proportion (68 ± 5%) of the hydrogen originally added to the experiments was lost from the starting material independent of run conditions and run duration. The volume of plagioclase formed during our crystallization experiments can be combined with the measured water contents and the observed crustal thickness on the Moon to provide an updated lunar interior hygrometer. Our data suggest that at least 45–354 ppm H2O equivalent was present in the Moon at the time of crust formation. These estimates confirm the inference of Lin et al. (2017a) that the Moon was wet during its magma ocean stage, with corrected absolute water contents now comparable to estimates derived from the water content in a range of lunar samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-230
Number of pages24
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number1
Early online date17 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental constraints on the solidification of a hydrous lunar magma ocean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this