Astronomy 23/223 Homework:

Geology and the Moon

1. Identify the objects listed below. Tell what the rock or mineral is composed of, where it is found on the moon, and what it looks like. If it is a mineral, tell how it is structured; if it is a rock, tell how it is formed.



olivine cumulate


pyroxene olivine


igneous rocks


gabbro rocks





2. Ternary phase diagram. Rocks are obviously not composed of just one mineral. To examine rocks composed of 3 different minerals, geologist use ternary diagrams. This is done by putting quartz, olivine, and anorthite at the corners of a triangle. The closest side in the counter-clockwise direction to each mineral acts as the axis for that mineral. Using this system, rocks can be plotted in terms of their composition.

Confused? check out these links:

From the University of British Columbia

From James Madison University

Using the information in those webpages, find the composition of Basalt, Trotolite, and Anorthosite in the figure below.


This image is from p.51 of Consolmagno and Schaefer

3. Now that you know a bit about different lunar rocks, I want you to investigate what information was learned from the rocks that were collected on the lunar missions. Using your book and the internet, pick two lunar missions and tell me where they landed on the moon, what geological features of importance surrounded them, what sort of rocks or minerals they found, and why the collections from the missions were important.


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Last updated on 28 May, 2004.