Vol 21, No 2

Seamless maps of major elements of the Moon: Results from high-resolution geostationary satellite

Yu Lu, Yun-Zhao Wu, Cui Li, Jin-Song Ma, Wen-Wen Qi, Wei Tan, Xiao-Man Li, Zhi-Cheng Shi, Hong-Yan He, Shu-Wu Dai, Guo Li, Feng-Jing Liu, Jing-Qiao Wang, Xiao-Yan Wang, Qi Wang, Ling-Jie Meng


Abstract Major elements such as Fe, Ti, Mg, Al, Ca and Si play very important roles in understanding the origin and evolution of the Moon. Previous maps of these major elements derived from orbital data are based on mosaic images or low-resolution gamma-ray data. The hue variations and gaps among orbital boundaries in the mosaic images are not conducive to geological studies. This paper aims to produce seamless and homogenous distribution maps of major elements using the single-exposure image of the whole lunar disk obtained by China’s high-resolution geostationary satellite, Gaofen-4, with a spatial resolution of ∼500 m. The elemental contents of soil samples returned by Apollo and Luna missions are regarded as ground truth, and are correlated with the reflectance of the sampling sites extracted from Gaofen-4 data. The final distribution maps of these major oxides are generated with the statistical regression model. With these products, the average contents and proportions of the major elements for maria and highlands were estimated and compared. The results showed that SiO2 and TiO2 have the highest and lowest fractions in mare and highland areas, respectively. Moreover, the relative concentrations of these elements could serve as indicators of geologic processes, e.g., the obviously asymmetric distributions of Al2O3, CaO and SiO2 around Tycho crater may suggest that Tycho crater was formed by an oblique impact from the southwest direction.


Keywords Moon — Data analysis — Imaging spectroscopy

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