Nominally hydrous magmatism on the Moon

Francis M. McCubbin, Andrew Steele, Erik H. Hauri, Hanna Nekvasil, Shigeru Yamashita, Russell J. Hemley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

236 Citations (Scopus)


For the past 40 years, the Moon has been described as nearly devoid of indigenous water; however, evidence for water both on the lunar surface and within the lunar interior have recently emerged, calling into question this long-standing lunar dogma. In the present study, hydroxyl (as well as fluoride and chloride) was analyzed by secondary ion mass spectrometry in apatite [Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH)] from three different lunar samples in order to obtain quantitative constraints on the abundance of water in the lunar interior. This work confirms that hundreds to thousands of ppm water (of the structural form hydroxyl) is present in apatite from the Moon. Moreover, two of the studied samples likely had water preserved from magmatic processes, which would qualify the water as being indigenous to the Moon. The presence of hydroxyl in apatite from a number of different types of lunar rocks indicates that water may be ubiquitous within the lunar interior, potentially as early as the time of lunar formation. The water contents analyzed for the lunar apatite indicate minimum water contents of their lunar source region to range from 64 ppb to 5 ppm H2O. This lower limit range of water contents is at least two orders of magnitude greater than the previously reported value for the bulk Moon, and the actual source region water contents could be significantly higher.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11223-11228
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Jun 22 2010


  • Fluorapatite
  • Lunar water
  • Magma ocean
  • Mare basalt
  • NWA 773

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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