Rethinking Lunar Mare Basalt Regolith Formation:New Concepts of Lava Flow Protolith and Evolution of Regolith Thickness and Internal Structure

Head, J.W. and Wilson, L. (2020) Rethinking Lunar Mare Basalt Regolith Formation:New Concepts of Lava Flow Protolith and Evolution of Regolith Thickness and Internal Structure. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (20). ISSN 0094-8276

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Abstract

Lunar mare regolith is traditionally thought to have formed by impact bombardment of newly emplaced coherent solidified basaltic lava. We use new models for initial emplacement of basalt magma to predict and map out thicknesses, surface topographies and internal structures of the fresh lava flows, and pyroclastic deposits that form the lunar mare regolith parent rock, or protolith. The range of basaltic eruption types produce widely varying initial conditions for regolith protolith, including (1) autoregolith, a fragmental meter-thick surface deposit that forms upon eruption and mimics impact-generated regolith in physical properties, (2) lava flows with significant near-surface vesicularity and macroporosity, (3) magmatic foams, and (4) dense, vesicle-poor flows. Each protolith has important implications for the subsequent growth, maturation, and regional variability of regolith deposits, suggesting wide spatial variations in the properties and thickness of regolith of similar age. Regolith may thus provide key insights into mare basalt protolith and its mode of emplacement.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Information:
An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2020 American Geophysical Union. Head, J. W., & Wilson, L. (2020). Rethinking lunar mare basalt regolith formation: New concepts of lava flow protolith and evolution of regolith thickness and internal structure.. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL088334. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL088334. To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1900
Subjects:
ID Code:
148997
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
12 Nov 2020 11:05
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
29 Nov 2020 07:06