The lunar maria reflect two to five times less Earth-based radar power than the highlands, the spectrally blue maria surfaces returning the lowest power levels. This effect of weakening signal return has been attributed to increased signal absorption related to the electrical and magnetic characteristics of the mineral ilmenite (FeTiO3). The surface of Mare Imbrium contains some of the most distinct red-blue colorimetric boundaries and depolarized 70 cm wavelength reflectivity variations on the near side of the Moon. The weakest levels of both 3.8 cm and 70 cm reflectivity within Imbrium are confined to regional mare surfaces of the blue spectral type that can be recognized as stratigraphically unique flow surfaces. Frequency distributions of the 70 cm polarized and depolarized radar return power for five mare surfaces within the basin indicate that signal absorption, and probably the ilmenite content, increases generally from the beginning of the Imbrian Period to the end of the Eratosthenian Period with slight reversal between the end of the Imbrian and beginning of the Eratosthenian. TiO2 calibrated radar reflectivity curves can be utilized for lunar maria geochemical mapping in the same manner as the TiO2 calibrated spectral reflectivity curves of Charette et al. (1974). The long wavelength radar data may be a sensitive indicator of mare chemical variations as it is unaffected by the normal surface rock clutter that includes ray materials from large impact craters. ?? 1975 D. Reidel Publishing Company.
Additional publication details
Lava flows in mare imbrium: An evaluation of anomalously low earth-based radar reflectivity