Abstract

The recent discovery of ALHA81005, a small meteorite that undoubtedly came from the moon, has raised questions about how an intact rock fragment could survive acceleration to planetary escape velocities. This acceleration could only have been produced by a large impact on the lunar surface. A small amount of material (0.005 to 0.02 projectile volume) may be ejected from an impact crater at speeds exceeding lunar escape velocity without suffering petrographically detectable shock damage. The ejected material is protected by stress-wave interference close to the free surface. The existence and size of this zone depend upon parameters such as the rise time of the stress pulse produced by an impact. The fragment size is a function of ejection velocity. The lunar meteorite was ejected during an impact event that produced a crater at least 3.6 km in diameter. Other meteorites may have originated in a similar way.

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