Research ArticlePLANETARY SCIENCE

Lunar impact basins revealed by Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory measurements

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Science Advances  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 9, e1500852
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500852
  • Fig. 1 Bouguer anomaly map for the Moon.

    A color-contoured map of the Bouguer-corrected GRAIL gravity anomaly, in Mollweide equal-area projection centered on the nearside at 7°E longitude, band-passed between ~10- and 900-km block size and hill-shaded from above. The Bouguer anomaly scale is in mGal (milliGalileo; 10−5 m s−2). Over spherical harmonic degrees 6 to 540, the band-pass window predominantly removes the effect of the hemispheric asymmetry and the South Pole–Aitken impact and allows identification of impact basins up to the size of Imbrium. Red/white circles show proposed basins having only one topographic ring and no interior peak ring or central peak but a gravity signature similar to those of peak-ring basins. Blue-white circles outline basins that lack a clearly defined topographic rim crest but that are suggested by gravity anomaly patterns to be basins (see the Supplementary Materials for details).

  • Fig. 2 Freundlich-Sharonov basin.

    (A) Topography of this farside peak-ring basin is shown over shaded relief. Inset: Location of the region. Solid (582-km-diameter) and dashed (318-km-diameter) circles mark the rim crest or main ring and inner peak ring, respectively. (B) Bouguer gravity anomaly map band-passed between ~10- and 900-km block size, directionally shaded. The Bouguer gravity anomaly contour interval is 100 mGal. (C) Cross-sectional diagram of the topography, free-air anomaly (FAA), Bouguer anomaly (BA), and crustal structure (23) along profile A–A′. Vertical exaggeration (VE) is 6:1. Arrows denote the locations of the outer rim crest and inner peak ring. Dashed lines illustrate Bouguer contrast between spatial averages over the central (from 0 to 20% of the rim radius) and annular (50 to 100%) regions.

  • Fig. 3 Bouguer anomaly contrast versus main ring diameter (log scale).

    Symbols show complex craters >160 km in diameter (blue triangles), nearside basins (black symbols), and farside basins (red symbols). Open symbols represent possible basins in which multiple rings are not preserved. The rate of increase in Bouguer anomaly contrast given by a log-linear least-squares fit to diameter (dashed line) is about 240 mGal per factor of 2 increase in diameter. Moscoviense is believed to be a double impact (41) and is plotted as two separate points, Moscoviense and Moscoviense North.

  • Fig. 4 Diameter of the central positive Bouguer anomaly versus diameter of the peak ring or inner topographic ring.

    The 16 peak-ring (black) and 11 multiring (red) basins identified in this and previous studies (7) are shown. Identification of the inner ring of the Serenitatis basin (fig. S1) is uncertain owing to later modification. Both a 660-km-diameter Haemus ring and a 420-km-diameter Linné ring (both named for topographic features along the rings) are shown connected by a red line. The dashed line indicates a 1:1 ratio.

  • Fig. 5 Cumulative size-frequency distribution for complex craters and basins.

    The blue line shows data for all the craters and basins in Table 1. The shaded region spans the 1-SD error estimates. Black diamonds and red squares show the cumulative size-frequency distributions for nearside and farside craters, respectively, normalized by area; for these symbols, the cumulative number scale on the left reads two times the value. Short horizontal blue lines show confidence limits of N(300) for the overall population. The cumulative Hartmann production function (30) for craters larger than 64 km is shown by the green line with a slope of −2.2, extrapolated for diameters larger than 300 km (vertical dotted line). The main ring diameter was inferred from the diameter of the central Bouguer anomaly high for basins observed in GRAIL data that lack an outer topographic rim.

  • Fig. 6 Relative size-frequency distribution of lunar craters and basins.

    Logarithmic plot of relative frequency R of craters in this study (blue circles) versus the geometric mean d of diameters in each size bin. Bin boundaries from b1 to b2 containing N craters range from 24.5 to 211.5 km by multiples of √2. The frequencies are normalized to R = d3N/[A(b2b1)], where A is the surface area of the Moon. The data set in this study contains substantially more features of a given size than the database of Head et al. (6) (brown diamonds, 1-SD confidence shaded in pink), except in the interval centered on 214 km where the “Keeler-Heaviside” and “TOPO-19” features did not meet our criteria for inclusion. Green squares illustrate the size distribution of main-belt asteroids from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey [after Strom et al. (38), Fig. 4], normalized in scale to match the relative values of the lunar crater population at a diameter of 100 km.

  • Table 1 Lunar basins ≥200 km in diameter recognized from GRAIL and LOLA data.

    Names are approved by the International Astronomical Union, except where denoted by (a), indicating a name assigned here on the basis of a nearby feature, or (b), a proposed name (5, 29). TOPO and CTA (circular thin area) names are from Frey (28). The diameter of the main or outer ring is from Head et al. (6) and Baker et al. (7) except where a mappable rim is absent, for example, Crüger-Sirsalis; otherwise, coordinates and inner diameter are estimated from Bouguer anomaly contours, whereas the main rim crest diameter is estimated from azimuthally averaged topographic relief or (c) inferred from the diameter of the central Bouguer anomaly by 2:1 scaling. Multiring basin confidence and ring diameter criteria are described in the Supplementary Text. Ring confidence is denoted by the following: { }, suggested by scaling; [ ], possible; ( ), probable; all others, certain. MR, multiring basin; PC, ringed peak-cluster basin (7); PR, peak-ring basin; ghost ring is a wrinkle-ridge arc indicating a possible buried ring.

    NameCenterRing diameters
    (km)
    Bouguer anomaly
    Latitude
    (°N)
    Longitude
    (°E)
    MainInnerNotes and additional
    ring diameters (km)
    Diameter (km)Contrast (mGal)
    Szilard Northa34.3105.6(200)146182 ± 20
    Bel’kovich61.590.220510437 ± 14
    Wegener-Winlockb40.2251.6(205)PR*13237 ± 6
    Humboldt−27.1581206PC15652 ± 14
    Oppenheimer−35.4194.0206PR*12257 ± 8
    Schickard−44.5305.0206PR*9257 ± 9
    Schwarzschild70.312120771PR9040 ± 9
    Galois−14207.7210Minimal contrast2 ± 14
    Rupes Rectaa−22.5353.0(212)Partially flooded25 ± 12
    Keeler West−10.1156.8(218)Minimal contrast5 ± 20
    Clavius−58.8345.3220Minimal contrast6 ± 9
    Deslandres−32.6354.7220PR*112142 ± 19
    TOPO-13b−37.25147.4[220]90103 ± 12
    Poczobutt57.7260.4225PR*12876 ± 12
    Pasteur−11.5104.8231PR*13042 ± 9
    d’Alembert51.05164.8232106PR12646 ± 6
    Landau42.2240.8236PR*11264 ± 9
    Campbell45.5153.0237PR*9839 ± 9
    Fermi−19.8123.4241PR*10478 ± 5
    Leibnitz−38.2179.2247PR*8466 ± 18
    Iriduma44.8328.4252Sinus Iridum, PR*38 ± 10
    von Kármán M−47.1176.2255[114]PR*128149 ± 18
    Gagarin−19.7149.4256PR*10643 ± 13
    Copernicus-Ha7.2341.8{260}c[130]c152162 ± 5
    Milne−31.25112.8264114PR126195 ± 22
    Balmer-Kapteynb−15.869.6265[130]PR*138192 ± 22
    Sikorsky-Rittenhausb−68.4109.5270[110]PR*10666 ± 8
    Orientale Southwesta−28.0251.0276PR*162173 ± 28
    Harkhebi40.098.6280PR*136108 ± 30
    Bartels-Voskresenskiya27.7268.2[290][160]PR*152197 ± 22
    Bailly−67.1291.1299130PR11294 ± 16
    Poincare−57.3163.1312175PR188185 ± 11
    Planck−57.4135.1321160PR128167 ± 52
    Mediia0.80.5[326]Sinus Medii; CTA-01174160 ± 8
    Schrödinger−74.9133.5326150PR154240 ± 19
    Aestuuma11.3351.1[330][165]Sinus Aestuum; CTA-25; PR*196268 ± 10
    Mendeleev5.5141.1331144PR156159 ± 33
    Birkhoff58.9213.4334163PR13090 ± 16
    Ingenii−32.8163.8342PR*154181 ± 22
    Lorentz34.2263.0351173PR156240 ± 38
    Schiller-Zucchius−55.7314.8361179PR210331 ± 15
    Lamont4.823.4[370]c[120]Ghost ring206213 ± 23
    Crisium Easta16.566[372][186]Possible oblique impact; TOPO-05206339 ± 45
    Fowler-Charlierb39.5218.0[374]PR*210156 ± 18
    Amundsen-Ganswindtb−81.0123.0378PR*170272 ± 46
    Vaporumb14.23.1[410]220Mare; CTA-02222120 ± 24
    Korolev−4.4202.2417206PR202173 ± 15
    Serenitatis Northa35.716.8[420]c[210]230161 ± 26
    Moscoviense26.1147421192PR632 ± 27
    Crüger-Sirsalisb−16.0293.0[430]c212PR*268331 ± 19
    Mutus-Vlacq−53.524.0[450]c{225}224107 ± 13
    Dirichlet-Jacksonb13.4201.8(452)[228]PR*; TOPO-24220182 ± 22
    Grimaldi−5.0291.3460234PR220431 ± 15
    Apollo−36.1208.3492247PR264329 ± 10
    TOPO-22a49.4179{500}[250]cDepression near Debye272274 ± 21
    Hertzsprung2.0231571256MR intermediate (408), inner depression (108)254 ± 38404 ± 37
    Freundlich-Sharonovb18.35175.2582318PR318528 ± 18
    Fitzgerald-Jacksonb25.1190.6{600}(346)334224 ± 48
    Humboldtianum57.2682618322Possible MR intermediate [463], [197]312 ± 27482 ± 12
    Moscoviense Northa27.3148.8640[340]PR*; double impact (65)
    Mendel-Rydbergb−49.8265.4650( 325)MR 485, 203328 ± 26572 ± 18
    Coulomb-Sartonb51.2237.5[672]315Possible MR (401), 158330 ± 18391 ± 20
    Fecunditatis−4.652.0[690]{345}Mare basin358205 ± 46
    Nubium−21.3343.4[690]Mare basin, estimates vary41681 ± 41
    Asperitatisa−7.726.8{730}c(345)cSinus name342260 ± 26
    Humorum−23.8320.8816441Probable MR (569), (322)360 ± 21450 ± 11
    Smythii−2.586.9878484Probable MR (375)438 ± 62494 ± 24
    Australe Northa−35.596{880}Mare basin538101 ± 22
    Nectaris−15.635.1885440Certain MR 623, (270)440 ± 61514 ± 12
    Serenitatis25.418.8[923][416]Possible MR 660556 ± 64450 ± 8
    Orientale−20.1265.2937481Certain MR 639, 341436 ± 20720 ± 28
    Crisium16.858.41076505Probable MR 809, (364)498 ± 31598 ± 10
    Imbrium37341.51321676Probable MR (1012)684 ± 45375 ± 37
    South Pole–Aitkenb−53.0191.024002028Elliptical shape, 19°W long axis395

    *The topographic rim is in the diameter range of peak-ring basins but no inner ring has been preserved.

    Contrast estimate from nonoverlapped portion. The estimated Bouguer anomaly contrast for South Pole–Aitken is taken from a gravity field band-passed from spherical harmonic degrees 1 to 540.

    The characteristics of a pre-Moscoviense impact, designated Moscoviense North, are further described in the Supplementary Materials.

    Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/1/9/e1500852/DC1

      Supplementary Text

      Morphology and morphometry of impact basins

      Maps of impact basins

      Multiring basins

      Peak-ring basins and other sizeable lunar impacts

      Basins without measurable rings that are identifed by GRAIL Bouguer gravity anomaly

      Fig. S1. Serenitatis, Serenitatis North, and Lamont.

      Fig. S2. Fitzgerald-Jackson.

      Fig. S3. Amundsen-Ganswindt and Schrödinger.

      Fig. S4. Nectaris and Asperitatis.

      Fig. S5. Lorentz and Bartels-Voskresenskiy.

      Fig. S6. Copernicus-H and Aestuum.

      Fig. S7. Orientale and Orientale Southwest.

      Fig. S8. Mendel-Rydberg.

      Fig. S9. Imbrium and Iridum.

      Fig. S10. Crisium and Crisium East.

      Fig. S11. Humorum.

      Fig. S12. Hertzsprung.

      Fig. S13. Humboldtianum and Bel’kovich.

      Fig. S14. Coulomb-Sarton and Fowler-Charlier.

      Fig. S15. Smythii and Balmer-Kapteyn.

      Fig. S16. Moscoviense and Moscoviense North.

      Fig. S17. TOPO-22.

      Fig. S18. Australe North.

      Table S1. Lunar craters <200 km in diameter suggested from LOLA data.

      Table S2. Diameters of the rings and inner depressions of multiring basins measured from LOLA topography and GRAIL Bouguer anomaly data.

      Table S3. Ring diameters and centroids for circles fit to the rings of multiring basins.

      Table S4. Lunar peak-ring basins.

      Table S5. Lunar impact structures ≥200 km in diameter with only one topographic ring and no interior peak ring or central peak structure.

      Table S6. Lunar depressions suggested by GRAIL data to be degraded basins.

      Table S7. Features in basin catalogs not meeting criteria for inclusion in this study.

      References (4265)

    • Supplementary Materials

      This PDF file includes:

      • Supplementary Text
      • Morphology and morphometry of impact basins
      • Maps of impact basins
      • Multiring basins
      • Peak-ring basins and other sizeable lunar impacts
      • Basins without measurable rings that are identifed by GRAIL Bouguer gravity anomaly
      • Fig. S1. Serenitatis, Serenitatis North, and Lamont.
      • Fig. S2. Fitzgerald-Jackson.
      • Fig. S3. Amundsen-Ganswindt and Schrödinger.
      • Fig. S4. Nectaris and Asperitatis.
      • Fig. S5. Lorentz and Bartels-Voskresenskiy.
      • Fig. S6. Copernicus-H and Aestuum.
      • Fig. S7. Orientale and Orientale Southwest.
      • Fig. S8. Mendel-Rydberg.
      • Fig. S9. Imbrium and Iridum.
      • Fig. S10. Crisium and Crisium East.
      • Fig. S11. Humorum.
      • Fig. S12. Hertzsprung.
      • Fig. S13. Humboldtianum and Bel’kovich.
      • Fig. S14. Coulomb-Sarton and Fowler-Charlier.
      • Fig. S15. Smythii and Balmer-Kapteyn.
      • Fig. S16. Moscoviense and Moscoviense North.
      • Fig. S17. TOPO-22.
      • Fig. S18. Australe North.
      • Table S1. Lunar craters <200 km in diameter suggested from LOLA data.
      • Table S2. Diameters of the rings and inner depressions of multiring basins measured from LOLA topography and GRAIL Bouguer anomaly data.
      • Table S3. Ring diameters and centroids for circles fit to the rings of multiring basins.
      • Table S4. Lunar peak-ring basins.
      • Table S5. Lunar impact structures ≥200 km in diameter with only one topographic ring and no interior peak ring or central peak structure.
      • Table S6. Lunar depressions suggested by GRAIL data to be degraded basins.
      • Table S7. Features in basin catalogs not meeting criteria for inclusion in this study.
      • References (42–65)

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