The University of Arizona

Distribution and stratigraphy of basaltic units in Maria Tranquillitatis and Fecunditatis: A Clementine perspective

D. Rajmon, P. Spudis


Maria Tranquillitatis and Fecunditatis have been mapped based on Clementine image mosaics and derived iron and titanium maps. Impact craters served as stratigraphic probes enabling better delineation of compositionally different basaltic units, determining the distribution of subsurface basalts, and providing estimates of total basalt thickness and the thickness of the surface units. Collected data indicate that volcanism in these maria started with the eruption of low-Ti basalts and evolved toward medium- and high-Ti basalts. Some of the high-Ti basalts in Mare Tranquillitatis began erupting early and were contemporaneous with the low- and medium-Ti basalts; these units form the oldest units exposed on the mare surface. Mare Tranquillitatis is mostly covered with high-Ti basalts. In Mare Fecunditatis, the volume of erupting basalts clearly decreased as the Ti content increased, and the high-Ti basalts occur as a few patches on the mare surface. The basalt in both maria is on the order of several hundred meters thick and locally may be as thick as 1600 m. The new basalt thickness estimates generally fall within the range set by earlier studies, although locally differ. The medium- to high-Ti basalts exposed at the surfaces of both maria are meters to tens of meters thick.


Basalt stratigraphy;Lunar basalt;Mare Fecunditatis; Mare Tranquillitatis;Basalt thickness

Full Text: