Anatomy of a Lunar Meteorite
Meteorite ALHA81005, found in Antarctica, is from the Moon. The white fragments are of lunar rock; the dark material between is glass formed at the Moon's surface by meteoroid impacts. The cube is 1 inch on a side.
This small fragment of lava rock (basalt) could be from a distant area of lunar mare, blasted away by a meteorite impact. The image is a map of element abundances, acquired with an electron microscope.
This rock fragment in the meteorite, in false colors of crossed polarizers, is typical of the impact-generated rocks on the Moon. Mineral grains in gray colors are plagioclase, and those in orange and yellow are pyroxene. The fragment is ~1 mm across.
This microscope view of a white rock fragment in the meteorite is typical of the Moon's highlands – the rock type anorthosite.
The fragment is ~1 mm across. Nearly all the fragment is of the mineral plagioclase.
This small rock fragment contains abundant spinel (in purple). Spinel is rare on the Moon.
The dark matrix of the meteorite is made of swirly, bubbly glass called agglutinate. This glass forms on the lunar surface as micrometeorites hit and melt its rock fragments. The view here is ~100 µm across.
Dr. Allan Treiman
Associate Director of Science
Dr. Allan Treiman studies planetary materials, particularly Moon rocks and martian meteorites. From these rocks, he teases out the early histories of the terrestrial planets (including large asteroids), emphaszing their volatiles — water, halogens, carbon, etc. His background is in chemistry, and he approaches planetary sciences from both geological and thermochemical perspectives.
Back to the Science Research Gallery