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A long-lived lunar dynamo powered by core crystallization

Laneuville, M. and Wieczorek, M.A. and Breuer, D. and Aubert, J. and Morard, G. and Rückriemen, Tina (2014) A long-lived lunar dynamo powered by core crystallization. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 401, pp. 251-260. Elsevier. ISBN 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.05.057 ISSN 0012-821X

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The Moon does not possess an internally generated magnetic field at the present day, but extensive evidence shows that such a field existed between at least 4.2 and 3.56 Ga ago. The existence of a metallic lunar core is now firmly established, and we investigate the influence of inner core growth on generating a lunar core dynamo. We couple the results of a 3-D spherical thermochemical convection model of the lunar mantle to a 1-D thermodynamic model of its core. The energy and entropy budget of the core are computed to determine the inner core growth rate and its efficiency to power a dynamo. Sulfur is considered to be the main alloying element and we investigate how different sulfur abundances and initial core temperatures affect the model outcomes. For reasonable initial conditions, a solid inner core between 100 and 200 km is always produced. During its growth, a surface magnetic field of about 0.3 μT is generated and is predicted to last several billion years. Though most simulations predict the existence of a core dynamo at the present day, one way to stop magnetic field generation when the inner core is growing is by a transition between a bottom–up and top–down core crystallization scheme when the sulfur content becomes high enough in the outer core. According to this hypothesis, a model with about 6 to 8 wt.% sulfur in the core would produce a 120–160 km inner core and explain the timing of the lunar dynamo as constrained by paleomagnetic data.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/90182/
Document Type:Article
Title:A long-lived lunar dynamo powered by core crystallization
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Laneuville, M.mlaneuville (at) elsi.jpUNSPECIFIED
Wieczorek, M.A.wieczor (at) ipgp.frUNSPECIFIED
Breuer, D.doris.breuer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Aubert, J.aubert (at) ipgp.frUNSPECIFIED
Morard, G.guillaume.morard (at) impmc.upmc.frUNSPECIFIED
Rückriemen, Tinatina.rueckriemen (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:1 September 2014
Journal or Publication Title:Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 251-260
Sotin, C.California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Keywords:Moon, thermal evolution, core, dynamo, crystallization
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Exploration des Sonnensystems
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research
Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Physics
Deposited By: Rückriemen, Tina
Deposited On:18 Aug 2014 09:50
Last Modified:01 Dec 2018 19:50

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