Mare volcanism: Reinterpretation based on Kaguya Lunar Radar Sounder data

Shoko Oshigami, Shiho Watanabe, Yasushi Yamaguchi, Atsushi Yamaji, Takao Kobayashi, Atsushi Kumamoto, Ken Ishiyama, Takayuki Ono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The Lunar Radar Sounder (LRS) onboard Kaguya (SELENE) detected widespread horizontal reflectors under some nearside maria. Previous studies estimated that the depths of the subsurface reflectors were up to several hundreds of meters and suggested that the reflectors were interfaces between mare basalt units. The comparison between the reflectors detected in the LRS data and surface age maps indicating the formation age of each basalt unit allows us to discuss the lower limit volume of each basalt unit and its space and time variation. We estimated volumes of basalt units in the ages of 2.7Ga to 3.8Ga in the nearside maria including Mare Crisium, Mare Humorum, Mare Imbrium, Mare Nectaris, Mare Serenitatis, Mare Smythii, and Oceanus Procellarum. The lower limit volumes of the geologic units estimated in this study were on the order of 103 to 104km3. This volume range is consistent with the total amount of erupted lava flows derived from numerical simulations of thermal erosion models of lunar sinuous rille formation and is also comparable to the average flow volumes of continental flood basalt units formed after the Paleozoic and calculated flow volumes of Archean komatiite flows on the Earth. The lower limits of average eruption rates estimated from the unit volumes were on the order of 10-5 to 10-3km3/yr. The estimated volumes of the geologic mare units and average eruption rate showed clear positive correlations with their ages within the same mare basin, while they vary among different maria compared within the same age range. Key Points Volumes of mare basalt units in the ages of 2.7 Ga to 3.8 Ga were estimated The volumes of the geologic units were of the order of 103 to 10 4 km3 The average eruption rates were of the order of 10-5 to 10-3 km3/yr

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1045
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May


  • geological processes
  • Moon
  • radar observations
  • thermal histories
  • volcanism


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