Lunar geology

Anand, M., Barnes, J.J. and Hallis, L.J. (2015) Lunar geology. In: Lee, M.R. and Leroux, H. (eds.) Planetary Mineralogy. Series: European Mineralogical Union Notes in Mineralogy (15). European Mineralogical Union and the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland: Aberystwyth, pp. 129-164. ISBN 9780903056557

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The Earth’s Moon is the largest known natural satellite in orbit around a terrestrial planet in the inner Solar System. The Moon is also witness to more than 4.5 Ga of Solar System history and is the only planetary body other than Earth for which we have collected samples from known locations. Moreover, the lunar surface preserves a record of the cratering rate and the evolution of solar and galactic cosmic radiations throughout the history of the Solar System. Understanding the Moon is key to understanding both Earth and our Solar System. Consequently, the Moon has been the prime target in Solar System exploration programmes, before the pursuit of more distant targets such as Mars and beyond. Our knowledge about the Moon is based on telescopic observations from Earth, observations by spacecraft from the lunar orbit, measurements on the lunar surface by manned and unmanned landed missions and the analyses of lunar samples in terrestrial laboratories. The knowledge gained from Apollo and Luna programmes of 1960’s and subsequent lunar missions, carried out over the last 4 decades, continue to demonstrate the value of the Moon for the understanding of our Solar System and the fundamental processes that drive planetary formation and evolution. Because of its restricted geological activity and relatively simple composition compared with the Earth the Moon provides insights into elementary planetary processes affecting all planetary bodies. Compared to the Earth, the Moon is depleted in both volatile elements and iron and other siderophile elements. Recently, however, the presence of H2O and OH has been confirmed on the lunar surface as well as in lunar samples. While it has long been suspected that water-ice might be preserved in cold traps at the lunar poles, recent results indicate the presence of OH and H2O outside of these regions. This new discovery makes the Moon again an extremely interesting target, both scientifically and as a potential resource. Although new data have helped to address some of our questions about the Earth-Moon system, major new questions have emerged and many existing questions remain unanswered.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hallis, Dr Lydia
Authors: Anand, M., Barnes, J.J., and Hallis, L.J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Earth Sciences
Research Group:Planetary Science and Astrobiology
Publisher:European Mineralogical Union and the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland

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European Mineralogical UnionUNSPECIFIED