• Heterogeneous agglutinitic glass and the fusion of the finest fraction (F3) model

      Basu, A.; Wentworth, S. J.; McKay, D. S. (The Meteoritical Society, 2002-01-01)
      Evidence in favor of the model fusion of the finest fraction (F3) for the origin of lunar agglutinitic glass has been accruing. They include (1) theoretical expectations that shock pulses should engulf and melt smaller grains more efficiently than larger grains, (2) experimental results of impact shock, albeit at lower than presumed hypervelocity impacts of micrometeorites on the lunar regolith, and (3) new analyses confirming previous results that average compositions of agglutinitic glass are biased towards that of the finest fraction of lunar soils from which they had formed. We add another reason in support of the F3 model. Finer grains of lunar soils are also much more abundant. Hence, electrostatic forces associated with the rotating terminator region bring the finest grains that are obviously much lighter than courser grains to the surface of the Moon. This further contributes to the preferential melting of the finest fraction upon micrometeoritic impacts. New backscattered electron imaging shows that agglutinitic glass is inhomogeneous at submicron scale. Composition ranges of agglutinitic glass are extreme and deviate from that of the finest fraction, even by more than an order of magnitude for some components. Additionally, we show how an ilmenite grain upon impact would produce TiO2-rich agglutinitic glass in complete disregard to the requirements of fusion of the finest fraction. We propose an addition to the F3 model to accommodate these observations (i.e., that micrometeorite impacts indiscriminately melt the immediate target regardless of grain size or grain composition). We, therefore, suggest that (1) agglutinitic glass is the sum of (a) the melt produced by the fusion of the finest fraction of lunar soils and (b) the microvolume of the indiscriminate target, which melts at high-shock pressures from micrometeoritic impacts, and that (2) because of the small volume of the melt and incorporating cold soil grains, the melt quenched so rapidly that it did not mix and homogenize to represent any preferential composition, for example, that of the finest fraction.