Geomorphic terrains and evidence for ancient volcanism within northeastern South Pole-Aitken basin
Published:March 01, 2011
Noah E. Petro, Scott C. Mest, Yaron Teich, 2011. "Geomorphic terrains and evidence for ancient volcanism within northeastern South Pole-Aitken basin", Recent Advances and Current Research Issues in Lunar Stratigraphy, William A. Ambrose, David A. Williams
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The interior of the enigmatic South Pole-Aitken basin has long been recognized as being compositionally distinct from its exterior. However, the source of the compositional anomaly has been subject to some debate. Is the source of the iron-enhancement due to lower-crustal/upper-mantle material being exposed at the surface, or was there some volume of ancient volcanism that covered portions of the basin interior? While several obvious mare basalt units are found within the basin and regions that appear to represent the original basin interior, there are several regions that appear to have an uncertain origin. Using a combination of Clementine and Lunar Orbiter images, several morphologic units are defined based on albedo, crater density, and surface roughness. An extensive unit of ancient mare basalt (cryptomare) is defined and, based on the number of superimposed craters, potentially represents the oldest volcanic materials within the basin. Thus, the overall iron-rich interior of the basin is not solely due to deeply derived crustal material, but is, in part due to the presence of ancient volcanic units.