Coupled thermal-orbital evolution of the early Moon

Jennifer Meyer, Linda Elkins-Tanton, Jack Wisdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Coupled thermal-orbital histories of early lunar evolution are considered in a simple model. We consider a plagioclase lid, overlying a magma ocean, overlying a solid mantle. Tidal dissipation occurs in the plagioclase lid and heat transport is by conduction and melt migration. We find that large orbital eccentricities can be obtained in this model. We discuss possible consequences of this phase of large eccentricities for the shape of the Moon and geochronology of lunar samples. We find that the orbit can pass through the shape solution of Garrick-Bethell et al. (Garrick-Bethell, I., Wisdom, J., Zuber, M. [2006]. Science 313, 652), but we argue that the shape cannot be maintained against elastic deformation as the orbit continues to evolve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Earth
  • Moon
  • Satellites, dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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