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Re-evaluation of Apollo 17 Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment data

Heffels, Alexandra; Knapmeyer, Martin; Oberst, Jürgen; Haase, Isabel

We re-analyzed Apollo 17 Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment (LSPE) data to improve our knowledge of the subsurface structure of this landing site. We use new geometrically accurate 3-D positions of the seismic equipment deployed by the astronauts, which were previously derived using high-resolution images by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in combination with Apollo astronaut photography. These include coordinates of six Explosive Packages (EPs) and four geophone stations. Re-identified P-wave arrival times are used to calculate two- and three-layer seismic velocity models. A strong increase of seismic velocity with depth can be confirmed, in particular, we suggest a more drastic increase than previously thought. For the three-layer model the P-wave velocities were calculated to 285, 580, and 1825 m/s for the uppermost, second, and third layer, respectively, with the boundaries between the layers being at 96 and 773 m depth. When compared with results obtained with previously published coordinates, we find (1) a slightly higher velocity (+4%) for the uppermost layer, and (2) lower P-wave velocities for the second and third layers, representing a decrease of 34% and 12% for second and third layer, respectively. Using P-wave arrival time readings of previous studies, we confirm that velocities increase when changing over from old to new coordinates. In the three-layer case, this means using new coordinates alone leads to thinned layers, velocities rise slightly for the uppermost layer and decrease significantly for the layers below.
Published in: Planetary and space science, 10.1016/j.pss.2016.11.007, Elsevier