Early Evolution of the Moon

ORION meets on the third Wednesday of every month.  Our meeting will be held at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge, TN in the Goff Building, room 104 (just off of the lobby).  We gather at 7:00 with the program beginning at approximately 7:15 p.m.  You do not have to be a scientist to attend, or even a member of ORION.  The program is free and open to the public.   

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday April 18, 2018.  Dr. Nick Dygert, from the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville will be our speaker.


The globally homogeneous, monomineralic lunar crust suggests the Moon formed after a giant impact between Earth and another body. This energetic event would have produced a whole-Moon magma ocean. Petrologic and geophysical models argue the lunar magma ocean crystallized from the bottom up, forming a gravitationally unstable cumulate mineral pile, with the densest phases overlying less dense phases in the lunar interior. Dense minerals may have flowed toward the core as solids, displacing lower density minerals that flowed upward toward the crust in a process known as cumulate mantle overturn. Cumulate mantle overturn has important consequences for the petrogenesis of the lunar basalts, the spatial distribution of heat-producing radionuclides in the lunar interior, and the efficiency of a lunar core dynamo. This talk presents new experimental constraints on physical and chemical properties of lunar minerals and silicate melts, improving our understanding of lunar magma ocean crystallization, cumulate mantle overturn, and the ways that present-day lunar surface and interior features came to be.



Dr. Nick Dygert (photo from University of TN Knoxville Website)

For biographical information on Dr. Dygert, view his University of Tennessee faculty profile here