Mineralogical survey of the anorthositic Feldspathic Highlands Terrane crust using Moon Mineralogy Mapper data

M. Martinot*, J. Flahaut, S. Besse, C. Quantin-Nataf, W. van Westrenen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Spectroscopic data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument are used to study the mineralogy of the central peak or peak ring of 75 craters located in the lunar anorthositic Feldspathic Highlands Terrane (FHT-a), as defined by Jolliff et al. (2000). The thickness of South-Pole Aitken (SPA) ejecta at the location of the selected craters is estimated. Crustal thickness models are used with empirical cratering equations to estimate the depth of origin of the material excavated in the studied central peaks, and its distance to the crust-mantle interface. The goal of this survey is to study the composition of the FHT-a crust, and the extent of its potential lateral and vertical heterogeneities. High-Calcium Pyroxene (HCP) and featureless spectra are mostly detected throughout the entire FHT-a, whereas the number of pure plagioclase detections is small. No relationship between the central peak composition and the distance to SPA or the depth within the SPA ejecta is observed. The SPA ejecta material cannot be spectrally distinguished from crustal material. We interpret the paucity of plagioclase spectra in the FHT-a, which contrasts with more frequent plagioclase detections in the central peaks of craters sampling the crust in younger lunar terranes using identical spectroscopic techniques Martinot et al. (2018b), as a possible effect of terrane maturation, or of mixing with mafic components that mask their signature in the visible near-infrared. Overall, the FHT-a appears homogeneous laterally. However, data hint at a pyroxene compositional change with increasing depth, from high-calcium content in the upper crust towards less calcic compositions with increasing depth, which is consistent with prior studies of the architecture of the lunar crust.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113747
Pages (from-to)2-13
Number of pages12
Early online date16 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


The authors would like to thank K. Donaldson-Hanna for kindly sharing her data, J.-F. Blanchette-Guertin for helping with the proximity calculations, L. Mandon for sharing useful data, F. Millet for helping with Python coding, and C. Brustel for helpful discussions. The authors are grateful for insightful comments from the reviewer and editor that greatly helped improve the paper. This work was supported by a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Vici grant and a User Support Space Research grant from the Netherlands Space Office (NSO) to W.v.W. J.F. is supported by a CNES APR LIS-Luna funding and a CNRS Momentum grant. This is CRPG contribution number 2717. C.Q.N. is supported by European Research Council through the FP7/2007–2013/ERC grant agreement 280168 . M 3 , LRO LOLA digital elevation model and LRO WAC data can be accessed in the PDS Geoscience Node, Lunar Orbital Data Explorer ( http://ode.rsl.wustl.edu/ ). The GRAIL crustal thickness models archive is hosted at https://figshare.com/articles/GRAIL_Crustal_Thickness_Archive/6915155/1 . The Lunar Impact Crater Database is available at https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/surface/Lunar_Impact_Crater_Database_v08Sep2015.xls .

FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme280168
European Research Council
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
Netherlands Space Office
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique2717


    • Feldspathic Highlands Terrane
    • Moon Mineralogy Mapper
    • Spectroscopy


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