Rock types of South Pole-Aitken basin and extent of basaltic volcanism

Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
By: , and 



The enormous pre-Nectarian South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin represents a geophysically and compositionally unique region on the Moon. We present and analyze the mineralogical diversity across this basin and discuss the implications for basin evolution. Rock types are derived from Clementine multispectral data based on diagnostic characteristics of ferrous absorptions in fresh materials. Individual areas are characterized as noritic (dominated by low-Ca pyroxene), gabbroic/basaltic (dominated by high-Ca pyroxene), feldspathic (<3-6% FeO), and olivine-gabbro (dominated by high-Ca pyroxene and olivine). The anorthositic crust has effectively been removed from the interior of the basin. The style of volcanism within the basin extends over several 100 Myr and includes mare basalt and pyroclastic deposits. Several areas of ancient (pre-Orientale) volcanism, or cryptomaria, have also been identified. The nonmare mafic lithology that occurs across the basin is shown to be noritic in composition and is pervasive laterally and vertically. We interpret this to represent impact melt/breccia deposits derived from the lower crust. A few localized areas are identified within the basin that contain more diverse lithologies (gabbro, olivine-gabbro), some of which may represent material from the deepest part of the lower crust and perhaps uppermost mantle involved in the SPA event.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Rock types of South Pole-Aitken basin and extent of basaltic volcanism
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
DOI 10.1029/2000JE001414
Volume 106
Issue E11
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 22 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
First page 28001
Last page 28022
Other Geospatial South Pole‐Aitken basin