The lunar-wide effects of basin ejecta distribution on the early megaregolith
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CitationPetro, N. E., & Pieters, C. M. (2008). The lunar‐wide effects of basin ejecta distribution on the early megaregolith. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 43(9), 1517-1529.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractThe lunar surface is marked by at least 43 large and ancient impact basins, each of which ejected a large amount of material that modified the areas surrounding each basin. We present an analysis of the effects of basin formation on the entire lunar surface using a previously defined basin ejecta model. Our modeling includes several simplifying assumptions in order to quantify two aspects of basin formation across the entire lunar surface: 1) the cumulative amount of material distributed across the surface, and 2) the depth to which that basin material created a well-mixed megaregolith. We find that the asymmetric distribution of large basins across the Moon creates a considerable nearside-farside dichotomy in both the cumulative amount of basin ejecta and the depth of the megaregolith. Basins significantly modified a large portion of the nearside while the farside experienced relatively small degrees of basin modification following the formation of the large South Pole-Aitken basin. The regions of the Moon with differing degrees of modification by basins correspond to regions thought to contain geochemical signatures remnant of early lunar crustal processes, indicating that the degree of basin modification of the surface directly influenced the distribution of the geochemical terranes observed today. Additionally, the modification of the lunar surface by basins suggests that the provenance of lunar highland samples currently in research collections is not representative of the entire lunar crust. Identifying locations on the lunar surface with unique modification histories will aid in selecting locations for future sample collection.