Moon Mineralogy Mapper spectroscopic observations are used to assess the mineralogy of five sites that have recently been proposed to include lunar dark mantle deposits (DMDs). Volcanic glasses have, for the first time, clearly been identified at the location of three of the proposed pyroclastic deposits. This is the first time that volcanic glasses have been identified at such a small scale on the lunar surface from remote sensing observations. Deposits at Birt E, Schluter, and Walther A appear to be glassy DMDs. Deposits at Birt E and Schluter show (1) morphological evidence suggesting a likely vent and (2) mineralogical evidence indicative of the presence of volcanic glasses. The Walther A deposits, although they show no morphological evidence of vents, have the spectroscopic characteristics diagnostic of volcanic glasses. The deposits of the Freundlich-Sharonov basin are separated in two areas: (1) the Buys-Ballot deposits lack mineralogical and morphological evidence and thus are found to be associated with mare volcanism not with DMDs and (2) the Anderson crater deposits, which do not exhibit glassy DMD signatures, but they appear to be associated with possible vent structures and so may be classifiable as DMDs. Finally, dark deposits near the crater Kopff are found to be associated with likely mare volcanism and not associated with DMDs. The spectral identification of volcanic glass seen in many of the potential DMDs is a strong indicator of their pyroclastic origin.
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Volcanic glass signatures in spectroscopic survey of newly proposed lunar pyroclastic deposits