The oxidation state of nanophase Fe particles in lunar soil: Implications for space weathering

Michelle S. Thompson, Thomas J. Zega, Patricio Becerra, James T. Keane, Shane Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We report measurements of the oxidation state of Fe nanoparticles within lunar soils that experienced varied degrees of space weathering. We measured >100 particles from immature, submature, and mature lunar samples using electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) coupled to an aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope. The EELS measurements show that the nanoparticles are composed of a mixture of Fe0, Fe2+, and Fe3+ oxidation states, and exhibit a trend of increasing oxidation state with higher maturity. We hypothesize that the oxidation is driven by the diffusion of O atoms to the surface of the Fe nanoparticles from the oxygen-rich matrix that surrounds them. The oxidation state of Fe in the nanoparticles has an effect on modeled reflectance properties of lunar soil. These results are relevant to remote sensing data for the Moon and to the remote determination of relative soil maturities for various regions of the lunar surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1095
Number of pages14
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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