Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Geology

Major Professor

Lawrence A. Taylor

Committee Members

Harry Y. McSween, Devon M. Burr, John B. Wilkerson

Abstract

I have explored a variety of geologic problems in the course of the chapters contained within this dissertation. These include a study relating to the fusion crusts on meteorites, an impact basin of the Moon, and Siberian kimberlitic ilmenites. The first chapter explores two assumptions commonly employed in meteorite analysis; that fusion crust compositions represent the bulk-rock chemistry of the entire meteorite and that the vesicles within the fusion crust result from the release of implanted solar-wind volatiles. Neither of these assumptions was found to hold true in that study. The second chapter explores the unusual nature of the Moscoviense Basin on the farside of the Moon. The basin contains an atypical ring configuration, abundant mare basalts, and mafic exposures within its rings. Potential formational mechanisms are presented that address the current configuration and compositional variability at this atypical location utilizing recently collected SELENE and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter imagery and laser altimetry data, and Moon Mineralogy Mapper imagery and spectroscopic data. The third, and last chapter, is a study of kimberlitic ilmenite and its usefulness as an indicator mineral for determining the presence or absence of diamonds within a pipe. Statistical analysis of ilmenite compositions suggest that it can be used as an indicator of the presence or absence of diamonds and should provide a valuable tool for diamond exploration on the Siberian Craton.

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