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No Change in the Recent Lunar Impact Flux Required Based on Modeling of Impact Glass Spherule Age Distributions


Huang, Ya-Huei
Minton, David A.
Zellner, Nicolle E. B.
Hirabayashi, Masatoshi
Richardson, James E.
Fassett, Caleb I.


The distributions of Ar-40/Ar-39-derived ages of impact glass spherules in lunar regolith samples show an excess at <500 Ma relative to older ages. It has not been well understood whether this excess of young ages reflects an increase in the recent lunar impact flux or is due to a bias in the samples. We developed a model to simulate the production, transport, destruction, and sampling of lunar glass spherules. A modeled bias is seen when either (1) the simulated sampling depth is 10 cm, consistent with the typical depth from which Apollo soil samples were taken, or (2) when glass occurrence in the ejecta is limited to >10 crater radii from the crater, consistent with terrestrial microtektite observations. We suggest that the observed excess of young ages for lunar impact glasses is likely due to limitations of the regolith sampling strategy of the Apollo program, rather than reflecting a change in the lunar impact rate.