Water in evolved lunar rocks: Evidence for multiple reservoirs

Katharine L. Robinson, Jessica J. Barnes, Kazuhide Nagashima, Aurélien Thomen, Ian A. Franchi, Gary R. Huss, Mahesh Anand, G. Jeffrey Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We have measured the abundance and isotopic composition of water in apatites from several lunar rocks representing Potassium (K), Rare Earth Elements (REE), and Phosphorus (P) - KREEP - rich lithologies, including felsites, quartz monzodiorites (QMDs), a troctolite, and an alkali anorthosite. The H-isotope data from apatite provide evidence for multiple reservoirs in the lunar interior. Apatite measurements from some KREEP-rich intrusive rocks display moderately elevated δD signatures, while other samples show δD signatures similar to the range known for the terrestrial upper mantle. Apatite grains in Apollo 15 quartz monzodiorites have the lowest δD values measured from the Moon so far (as low as -749‰), and could potentially represent a D-depleted reservoir in the lunar interior that had not been identified until now. Apatite in all of these intrusive rocks contains <267 ppm H2O, which is relatively low compared to apatites from the majority of studied mare basalts (200 to >6500 ppm H2O). Complexities in partitioning of volatiles into apatite make this comparison uncertain, but measurements of residual glass in KREEP basalt fragments in breccia 15358 independently show that the KREEP basaltic magmas were low in water. The source of 15358 contained ~10 ppm H2O, about an order of magnitude lower than the source of the Apollo 17 pyroclastic glass beads, suggesting potential variations in the distribution of water in the lunar interior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-260
Number of pages17
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Apatite
  • H isotopes
  • Lunar volatiles
  • Moon
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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