Magmatic processes that produced lunar fire fountains

Linda T. Elkins-Tanton, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Timothy L. Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Reanalysis of the Apollo 15 A, B, and C green glass beads from slide 15426,72, led to the discovery of patchy, highly vesicular glass rims adhering to beads. These rims are high in S and Ni and low in MgO, but otherwise compositionally similar to the green glasses. We find that these rims represent a unique melt composition that places constraints on lunar magmatic processes. Combining the compositional data for the vesicular glass rims with new minor element data for the green glass beads leads us to hypothesize that the vesicular rim fluid originated near the green glass source, at about 2.2 GPa. These findings support the theory of a heterogeneous lunar mantle, and suggest that sulfur did not drive the eruption from depth, but that degassing volatiles into the vacuum did drive the final fire fountain eruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-1 - 20-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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