Micro 56 poster

The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center
1601 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas, USA

Co-Sponsored by Brown University, Vernadsky Institute,
and Brown-MIT NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).



Microsymposium 56:
The Crust of the Moon: Insights Into Early Planetary Processes.

Ross Taylor has described the anorthositic crust of the Moon as the type example of a “primary crust”, derived from large-scale melting associated with accretional bombardment, formation of a magma ocean, and plagioclase flotation.  “Secondary crust”, the lunar mare basalts, are derived from subsequent partial melting of the lunar mantle.  The formation and preservation of the lunar primary and secondary crust provide windows into the fundamental processes operating in early planetary history, including magma ocean formation and solidification, differentiation and overturn, crustal magmatic intrusion, the steps leading to core formation and the generation of mare basalts, and impact bombardment forming craters and basins. 

The last decade has seen a revolution in our understanding of the lunar crust.  New high spatial and spectral resolution data on crustal mineralogy from Chaandrayaan-1, Kaguya, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), as well as high resolution image data from LRO, Kaguya, and Chang‘e 2, have revealed new minerals, new occurrences and contexts, possible mantle samples, and an improved assessment of compositional layering and diversity in the lunar crust.  Increased understanding of the bombardment history of the inner solar system has led to new insights into the lunar impact flux, the Late Heavy Bombardment, and its role in crustal modification.

Finally, the recent phenomenally successful Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission has revolutionized our view of the thickness of the crust, its variability and porosity, the nature and subsurface structure of impact craters and basins, the nature of mascons and shallow intrusions, new insights into early dike formation and the nature of the Procellarum Basin, and revised estimates of the bulk chemistry of the Moon. 

Collectively, these developments have raised a series of fundamental questions about the Moon, its crust, the lunar interior, and processes operating in early planetary history.  It seems an opportune time to gather to discuss these new data and to address some of these fundamental questions. 

Microsymposium 56, The Crust of the Moon: Insight into Early Planetary Processes, will focus on these issues through a series of invited and contributed talks and discussion themes.  Among the basic themes and questions to be addressed are:

1.  Crustal Geometry and Physical Structure. What is the post-GRAIL view of the thickness, density, porosity and vertical and lateral variations of the crust? What is the origin of the Procellarum structure?  What role do impact craters and basins play in fracturing, excavation and redistribution of crust and mantle?

2.  Crustal Chemistry, Mineralogy and Petrology. What are the implications of crustal thickness for lunar bulk composition? Crustal Differentiation Models: What’s the crust and what’s the mantle?  What is the chemical and mineralogical evidence for upper and lower crustal layering?  How do the new data change our understanding of Magma Ocean formation and evolution? What is the nature of overturn, its timing and associated processes, and Mg-Suite crustal intrusions.  Do the data provide new insights into the distribution and origin of KREEP and its thermal and petrogenetic influence?

3.  External Crustal Modification: The Impact Record.  What is the role of accretionary dregs (far-flung residues) in crustal formation and evolution?  What is the importance of the formation of the South Pole Aitken Basin?   Are there larger basin remnants?  Is the Procellarum structure of external or internal origin?  How do the effects of large impact basins change with time and thermal structure?  Do impact basins sample the mantle and if so, where?  What is the role of impact melt seas in crustal chronology and evolution?

4.  Chronology of Crustal Formation and Evolution: The Lunar Paradigm.  What are the major reference events and their timeline/sequence (e.g., accretion, magma ocean formation, cooling and solidification, overturn, the aftermath, heavy bombardment, basin formation, Mg-Suite, mare basalts, etc.)

5. What are the Major Outstanding Problems and How do we Resolve Them?

Micro 56 will emphasize a synthesis of the new data and identification of the key outstanding scientific questions, as well as thoughts about the mechanisms to address these fundamental questions. 

The Microsymposium will be held at the Woodlands Waterway Marriot Hotel and Convention Center, March 14-15th, 2015, at the site of the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference taking place March 16-20, 2015.  Micro 56 will begin at 1 PM on Saturday, March 14th, and will conclude Sunday, March 15th, by 1 PM.  The Microsymposium will emphasize an open discussion format and will be anchored by invited overviews, commentaries and posters. We ask that requests for presentations and posters be submitted no later than January 15th, 2015 through the registration site.  

If you are interested in participating in Microsymposium 56, please complete the registration form online.  Those wishing to attend the conference can register at any time, including up to the time of the conference, but advance notice helps us to plan refreshments and seating. Please forward this announcement and poster to interested colleagues and students. The program will be posted here in late January.

We look forward to seeing you at Microsymposium 56 and LPSC 46!

Co-conveners: Carle Pieters, Maria Zuber, James Head, David Scott, Alexander Basilevsky, Ben Weiss, and Harald Hiesinger

Co-Sponsored by Brown University, Vernadsky Institute, and Brown-MIT NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

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