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    Rights statement: An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2020 American Geophysical Union. Head, J. W., & Wilson, L. (2020). Rethinking lunar mare basalt regolith formation: New concepts of lava flow protolith and evolution of regolith thickness and internal structure.. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL088334. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL088334. To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI.

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Rethinking Lunar Mare Basalt Regolith Formation: New Concepts of Lava Flow Protolith and Evolution of Regolith Thickness and Internal Structure

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
Article numbere2020GL088334
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/10/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Volume47
Number of pages12
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date13/10/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Lunar mare regolith is traditionally thought to have formed by impact bombardment of newly emplaced coherent solidified basaltic lava. We use new models for initial emplacement of basalt magma to predict and map out thicknesses, surface topographies and internal structures of the fresh lava flows, and pyroclastic deposits that form the lunar mare regolith parent rock, or protolith. The range of basaltic eruption types produce widely varying initial conditions for regolith protolith, including (1) autoregolith, a fragmental meter-thick surface deposit that forms upon eruption and mimics impact-generated regolith in physical properties, (2) lava flows with significant near-surface vesicularity and macroporosity, (3) magmatic foams, and (4) dense, vesicle-poor flows. Each protolith has important implications for the subsequent growth, maturation, and regional variability of regolith deposits, suggesting wide spatial variations in the properties and thickness of regolith of similar age. Regolith may thus provide key insights into mare basalt protolith and its mode of emplacement.

Bibliographic note

An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2020 American Geophysical Union. Head, J. W., & Wilson, L. (2020). Rethinking lunar mare basalt regolith formation: New concepts of lava flow protolith and evolution of regolith thickness and internal structure.. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL088334. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL088334. To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI.