Discovery of moganite in a lunar meteorite as a trace of H2O ice in the Moon’s regolith

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Science Advances  02 May 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 5, eaar4378
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar4378

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Moganite, a monoclinic SiO2 phase, has been discovered in a lunar meteorite. Silica micrograins occur as nanocrystalline aggregates of mostly moganite and occasionally coesite and stishovite in the KREEP (high potassium, rare-earth element, and phosphorus)–like gabbroic-basaltic breccia NWA 2727, although these grains are seemingly absent in other lunar meteorites. We interpret the origin of these grains as follows: alkaline water delivery to the Moon via carbonaceous chondrite collisions, fluid capture during impact-induced brecciation, moganite precipitation from the captured H2O at pH 9.5 to 10.5 and 363 to 399 K on the sunlit surface, and meteorite launch from the Moon caused by an impact at 8 to 22 GPa and >673 K. On the subsurface, this captured H2O may still remain as ice at estimated bulk content of >0.6 weight %. This indicates the possibility of the presence of abundant available water resources underneath local sites of the host bodies within the Procellarum KREEP and South Pole Aitken terranes.

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