An experimental investigation of F, Cl and H2O mineral-melt partitioning in a reduced, model lunar system

Nicci Potts, Nicola Potts, Geoffrey Bromiley, Richard A. Brooker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

It is believed that the Moon formed following collision of a large planetesimal with the early Earth. Over the ∼4 Gyr since this event the Moon has been considerably less processed by geological activity than the Earth, and may provide a better record of processes and conditions in the early Earth-Moon system. There have been many studies of magmatic volatiles such as H, F, Cl, S and C in lunar materials. However, our ability to interpret variable volatile contents in the lunar sample suite is dependent on our understanding of volatile behaviour in lunar systems. This is currently constrained by limited experimental data. Here, we present the first experimental mineral-melt partitioning coefficients for F, Cl and H2O in a model lunar system under appropriately reduced conditions (log fO2 to IW-2.1, i.e. oxygen fugacity down to 2.1 log units below the Fe-FeO buffer). Data are consistent with structural incorporation of F, Cl and OH− in silicate melt, olivine and pyroxene under conditions of the lunar mantle. Oxygen fugacity has a limited effect on H2O speciation, and partitioning of H2O, F and Cl is instead largely dependent on mineral chemistry and melt structure. Partition coefficients are broadly consistent with a mantle source region for lunar volcanic products that is significantly depleted in F, Cl and H2O, and depleted in Cl relative to F and H2O, compared to the terrestrial mantle. Partitioning data are also used to model volatile redistribution during lunar magma ocean (LMO) crystallisation. The volatile content of lunar mantle cumulates is dependent upon proportion of trapped liquid during LMO solidification. However, differences in mineral-melt partitioning during LMO solidification can result in significant enrichment on F relative to Cl, and F relative to H2O, in cumulate phases relative to original LMO composition. As such, Cl depletion in lunar volcanic products may in part be a result of LMO solidification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-254
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Early online date15 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


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