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Ages and stratigraphy of mare basalts in Oceanus Procellarum, Mare Nubium, Mare Cognitum and Mare Insularum

Hiesinger, H. and Head, J.W. and Wolf, U. and Jaumann, R. and Neukum, G. (2002) Ages and stratigraphy of mare basalts in Oceanus Procellarum, Mare Nubium, Mare Cognitum and Mare Insularum. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108 (E7), p. 1.

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Accurate estimates of mare basalt ages are necessary to place constraints on the duration and the flux of lunar volcanism as well as on the petrogenesis of lunar mare basalts and their relationship to the thermal evolution of the Moon. We performed new crater size-frequency distribution measurements in order to investigate the stratigraphy of mare basalts in Oceanus Procellarum and related regions such as Mare Nubium, Mare Cognitum, and Mare Insularum. We used high-resolution Clementine color data to define 86 spectrally homogeneous units within these basins, which were then dated with crater counts on Lunar Orbiter IV images. Our crater size-frequency distribution measurements define mineralogical and spectral surface units and offer significant improvements in accuracy over previous analyses. Our data show that volcanism in the investigated region was active over a long period of time from ~3.93 to 1.2 b.y., a total of ~2.7 b.y. Volumetrically, most of the basalts erupted in the Late Imbrian Period between ~3.3 and 3.7 b.y., and we see evidence that numerous units have been resurfaced. During the Eratosthenian Period, significantly less basalt was erupted. Depending on the absolute model ages that one can assign to the lunar chronostratigraphic systems, five units might be of Copernican age. Younger basalts are generally exposed in the center of the investigated area, that is, closer to the volcanic centers of the Aristarchus Plateau and Marius Hills. Older basalts occur preferentially along the northwestern margin of Oceanus Procellarum and in the southeastern regions of the studied area, i.e., in Mare Cognitum and Mare Nubium. Combining the new data with our previously measured ages for basalts in Mare Imbrium, Serenitatis, Tranquillitatis, Humorum, Australe, and Humboldtianum, we find that the period of active volcanism on the Moon lasted ~2.8 b.y., from ~4 b.y. to ~1.2 b.y. On the basis of the basalts dated so far, which do not yet include the potentially young basalts of Mare Smythii [e.g., Schultz and Spudis, 1983], we conclude that Oceanus Procellarum not only exhibits the widest range of ages of all investigated basins but probably also is the location of some of the youngest basalts on the lunar surface.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/10876/
Document Type:Article
Additional Information: LIDO-Berichtsjahr=2003,
Title:Ages and stratigraphy of mare basalts in Oceanus Procellarum, Mare Nubium, Mare Cognitum and Mare Insularum
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Hiesinger, H.Brown University, Providence, RI, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Head, J.W.Brown University, Providence, RI, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:p. 1
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):UNSPECIFIED
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research
Deposited By: Pieth, Susanne
Deposited On:16 Sep 2005
Last Modified:14 Jan 2010 16:25

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