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Global mapping of iron and titanium oxides in the lunar megaregolith and subsurface

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This paper reports mapping results obtained by remote sensing analysis of iron and titanium oxides in the megaregolith under the lunar Highlands regolith and in the subsurface under the Mare and South Pole Aitken basin regolith. FeO and TiO2 images were mosaicked from data extracted from the 1994 Clementine lunar orbiter mission from 60°N to 60°S. These images were then used to study the ejecta blanket for each of 2059 craters analysed. Average weight percentage values for each crater ejecta blanket were interpolated to derive underlying global province maps for FeO and TiO2. The Moon was divided into five provinces to balance the needs of analysis and simplicity. Division of global TiO2 weight percentages in the five megaregolith/subsurface provinces matched the observed distribution of that at the surface. In contrast, division of lunar FeO into five provinces revealed unexpectedly elevated iron concentrations (3.8 - 6.4%) in some areas of the Highland megaregolith. This province of elevated iron oxide is termed Highland II.
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Keywords: Clementine lunar orbiter; Moon; crater; ejecta; mapping; megaregolith; subsurface

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Qld, Australia

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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