GRAIL, LLR, and LOLA constraints on the interior structure of the Moon

Isamu Matsuyama, Francis Nimmo, James T. Keane, Ngai H. Chan, G. Jeffrey Taylor, Mark A. Wieczorek, Walter S. Kiefer, James G. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The interior structure of the Moon is constrained by its mass, moment of inertia, and k2 and h2 tidal Love numbers. We infer the likely radius, density, and (elastic limit) rigidity of all interior layers by solving the inverse problem using these observational constraints assuming spherical symmetry. Our results do not favor the presence of a low rigidity transition layer between a liquid outer core and mantle. If a transition layer exists, its rigidity is constrained to (Formula presented.) GPa, with a preference for the high rigidity values. Therefore, if a transition layer exists, it is more likely to have a rigidity similar to that of the mantle (∼70 GPa). The total (solid and liquid) core mass fraction relative to the lunar mass is constrained to (Formula presented.) and (Formula presented.) for interior structures with and without a transition layer, respectively, narrowing the range of possible giant impact formation scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8365-8375
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 28 2016


  • lunar interior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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