Vol 19, No 4

Mineralogy of northern nearside mare basalts

Zhen-Chao Wang, Yun-Zhao Wu, Xiao-Meng Zhang, Yu Lu


Abstract The mineralogy of mare basalts reflects the chemical composition of the magma source, as well as the physical and chemical environment of the rocks’ formation. This is significant for understanding the thermal evolution of the Moon. In this study, the spatial distribution of mineralogy on the lunar northern nearside basalts was mapped using the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) data. The study area, which is an elongated mare, Mare Frigoris and northern Mare Imbrium, was mapped and characterized into 27 units based on multi-source data, including spectrum, terrain and element abundance. We extracted 177 M 3 spectra from fresh craters. Spectral parameters such as absorption center and band area ratio (BAR) were obtained through data processing. The variation of mafic minerals in this region was acquired by analyzing these parameters. The basaltic units in eastern Mare Frigoris, which are older, have been found to be dominated by clinopyroxene with lower CaO compared to the returned lunar samples; this is similar to older basaltic units in Mare Imbrium. The basaltic units of western Mare Frigoris and Sinus Roris which are younger have been found to be rich in olivine. The late-stage basalts in Oceanus Procellarum and Mare Imbrium show the same feature. These widespread olivine-rich basalts suggest uniqueness in the evolution of the Moon. Geographically speaking, Mare Frigoris is an individual mare, but the magma source region has connections with surrounding maria in consideration of mineral differences between western and eastern Frigoris, as well as mineral similarities with maria at the same location.


Keywords Moon — evolution — imaging spectroscopy — data analysis

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