Persistence and origin of the lunar core dynamo
Author(s)Suavet, Clement Romain; Weiss, Benjamin P.; Cassata, William S.; Shuster, David L.; Gattacceca, Jerome; Chan, Lindsey; Garrick-Bethell, Ian; Head, James W.; Grove, Timothy L.; Fuller, Michael D.; ... Show more Show less
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The lifetime of the ancient lunar core dynamo has implications for its power source and the mechanism of field generation. Here, we report analyses of two 3.56-Gy-old mare basalts demonstrating that they were magnetized in a stable and surprisingly intense dynamo magnetic field of at least ∼13 μT. These data extend the known lifetime of the lunar dynamo by ∼160 My and indicate that the field was likely continuously active until well after the final large basin-forming impact. This likely excludes impact-driven changes in rotation rate as the source of the dynamo at this time in lunar history. Rather, our results require a persistent power source like precession of the lunar mantle or a compositional convection dynamo.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Suavet, C., B. P. Weiss, W. S. Cassata, D. L. Shuster, J. Gattacceca, L. Chan, I. Garrick-Bethell, J. W. Head, T. L. Grove, and M. D. Fuller. “Persistence and Origin of the Lunar Core Dynamo.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 21 (May 21, 2013): 8453–8458.
Final published version