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Crustal Porosity of Lunar Impact Basins

Wahl, Daniel; Wieczorek, M. A.; Wünnemann, K.; Oberst, Jürgen

Lateral variations in bulk density and porosity of the upper lunar highland crust are mapped using a high‐resolution Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) gravity field model and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) derived topography. With a higher spatial resolution gravity model than previous studies, we focus on individual impact basins with diameters greater than 200 km. The bulk density of the upper few kilometers of the lunar crust is estimated by minimizing the correlation between the topography and Bouguer gravity at short wavelengths that are unaffected by lithospheric flexure. Porosity is then derived using estimates of the grain density obtained from remote sensing data of the surface composition. The near surface crust in proximity to many large basins is found to exhibit distinct radial porosity signatures. Low porosities are found in the basin centers within the peak ring, whereas high porosities are identified near and just exterior to the main rim. The larger basins exhibit a more pronounced porosity signature than the smaller basins. Though the number of basins investigated in this study is limited, younger basins appear to be associated with the largest amplitude variations in porosity. For basins with increasing age the magnitude of the porosity variations decreases.
Published in: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 10.1029/2019JE006335, Wiley