Volatiles, vesicles, and vugs: Unraveling the magmatic and eruptive histories of Steno crater basalts

Z. E. Wilbur, J. J. Barnes, S. A. Eckley, I. J. Ong, M. Brounce, C. A. Crow, T. Erickson, J. J. Kent, J. W. Boyce, J. L. Mosenfelder, T. Hahn, F. M. McCubbin, Thomas J Zega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts returned 170.4 kg of lunar material. Within 1 month of their return, a subset of those samples was specially curated with the forethought that future analytical techniques would offer new insight into the formation and evolution of the Moon. Of interest in this work is sample 71036, a basalt collected from the rim of Steno crater in the Taurus–Littrow Valley, which was stored frozen and was processed and released for study 50 years later. We report, for the first time, the detailed mineralogy and petrology of 71036 and its companion samples 71035, 71037, and 71055 using a novel combination of 2-D and 3-D methods. We investigate lunar volatiles through in situ measurements of apatite and 3-D measurements of vesicles to understand the degassing histories of the Steno crater basalts. Our coupled 2-D petrography and 3-D tomography data sets support a model of the Steno crater basalts crystallizing in the upper crust of a mare lava flow. Apatite F and OH chemistry and the late-stage deformation of voids and formation of smaller vesicles provide evidence supporting coeval degassing of volatiles and crystallization of mesostasis apatite in Apollo 17 basalts. This work helps to close knowledge gaps surrounding the origin, magmatic evolution, emplacement, and crystallization history of high-titanium basalts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1600-1628
Number of pages29
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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