Research by SSERVI PI Dr. David Kring was recently published in Nature. While not a SSERVI-funded product, the result has implications for the formation of other lunar peak-ring and multi-ring basins, and is fully consistent with the peak-ring formation model funded by SSERVI that was derived for the Moon’s Schrodinger basin.

The Schrodinger basin on the lunar farside is ~320 km in diameter and the best-preserved peak-ring basin of its size in the Earth–Moon system. Spectral and photogeologic analyses of data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument on the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) on the LRO spacecraft, indicates the peak ring is composed of anorthositic, noritic and troctolitic lithologies that were juxtaposed by several cross-cutting faults during peak-ring formation. Hydrocode simulations indicate the lithologies were uplifted from depths up to 30 km, representing the crust of the lunar farside. Through combining geological and remote-sensing observations with numerical modeling, Kring et al have shown that a Displaced Structural Uplift model is best for peak rings, including that in the K–T Chicxulub impact crater on Earth. These results may help guide sample selection in lunar sample return missions that are being studied for the multi-agency International Space Exploration Coordination Group.

Large meteorite impact structures on the terrestrial bodies of the Solar System contain pronounced topographic rings, which emerged from uplifted target (crustal) rocks within minutes of impact. To flow rapidly over large distances, these target rocks must have weakened drastically, but they subsequently regained sufficient strength to build and sustain topographic rings. The mechanisms of rock deformation that accomplish such extreme change in mechanical behavior during cratering are largely unknown and have been debated for decades. Recent drilling of the approximately 200-km-diameter Chicxulub impact structure in Mexico has produced a record of brittle and viscous deformation within its peak-ring rocks. The latest research shows how catastrophic rock weakening upon impact is followed by an increase in rock strength that culminated in the formation of the peak ring during cratering. The observations point to quasi-continuous rock flow and hence acoustic fluidization as the dominant physical process controlling initial cratering, followed by increasingly localized faulting.

Read the full story in Nature.

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: SSERVI Team /Nature

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