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Micro 52 poster

The Moon: The First Billion Years of Crustal Evolution
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center
Montgomery Ballroom A and B
1601 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas, USA
March 5-6, 2011

Sponsored by: Brown University, The Vernadsky Institute, Brown/MIT NLSI


Register for Microsymposium 52


The Moon's crust is thought to have formed from substantial melting in the latter phase of lunar accretion and subsequent intrusions.  On the basis of Apollo/Luna samples and meteorites, hypotheses for the compositional structure and evolution of the crust, such as the lunar magma ocean model and Mg-suite emplacement, have been formulated. Coincident with early crustal evolution, impact basin formaton significantly perturbed the physical and thermal structure of the Moon, excavated material from the crust and perhaps the mantle, and laterally mixed huge quantities of crustal material.  Much remains to be learned about the first billion years of lunar history, such as the processes involved in lunar crustal formation, the aftermath and possible overturn of residual cumulates, the intrusive history of the crust, and the effect of impact basin formation on these processes.

Recent missions such as Kaguya, Chandrayaan-1, Chang'E-1, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have begun to provide data to test hypotheses for the mineralogy and structure of the lunar crust and to assess the importance of impact basins in early crustal and thermal evolution. High spatial and spectral resolution image and spectrometer data have shown the detailed location and setting of both typical and anomalous exposures of crustal and mantle material, and now permit the linking of specific lunar sample types to local and regional geological settings, such as central peaks and basin rings.

Together, these new data are changing our perspective on the next generation of important scientific topics and exploration destinations.  Upcoming missions, such as GRAIL, will provide very high-resolution gravity data for the crust in general and lunar impact basins in particular.  Lunar landers and rovers from Russia, India, China, Japan and the United States can be targeted to areas that can help resolve fundamental questions about the first billion years of crustal evolution.  

The goal of Microsymposium 52 is to present a summary of these new discoveries, and to bring together representatives of the lunar geology, mineralogy, petrology, spectroscopy, geochemistry and geophysics communities to ponder the implications of these new findings for the next generation of significant scientific problems.  A critical aspect of this discussion will be to assess the implications of this new perspective for future modes and destinations for robotic exploration of the Moon.

The Microsymposium will be held at the Woodlands Waterway Marriot Hotel and Convention Center, March 5-6th, 2011, at the site of the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference taking place March 7-11, 2011.  Microsymposium 52 will begin at 1 PM on Saturday, March 5th, and will conclude Sunday, March 6th, by 1 PM. 

Co-conveners: Carle Pieters, Maria Zuber, James Head, Alexander Basilevsky, Michael Wyatt, and Harald Hiesinger