Antipodal effects of lunar basin-forming impacts: Initial 3D simulations and comparisons with observations

Lon L. Hood, Natalia A. Artemieva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


3D simulations of basin-scale lunar impacts are carried out to investigate: (a) the origins of strong crustal magnetic fields and unusual terrain observed to occur in regions antipodal to young large basins; and (b) the origin of enhanced magnetic and geochemical anomalies along the northwest periphery of the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin. The simulations demonstrate that a basin-forming impact produces a massive, hot, partially ionized cloud of vapor and melt that expands thermally around the Moon, converging near the basin antipode approximately 1 h after the impact for typical impact parameters. In agreement with previous work, analytic calculations of the interaction of this vapor-melt cloud with an initial ambient magnetic field predict a substantial temporary increase in field intensity in the antipodal region. The time of maximum field amplification coincides with a period when impacting ejecta also converge near the antipode. The latter produce antipodal shock stresses within the range of 5-25 GPa where stable shock remanent magnetization (SRM) of lunar soils has been found experimentally to occur. Calculated antipodal ejecta thicknesses are only marginally sufficient to explain the amplitudes of observed magnetic anomalies if mean magnetization intensities are comparable to those produced experimentally. This suggests that pre-existing ejecta materials, which would also contain abundant metallic iron remanence carriers, may be important anomaly sources, a possibility that is consistent with enhanced magnetic anomalies observed peripheral to SPA. The latter anomalies may be produced by amplified secondary ejecta impact shock waves in the thick SPA ejecta mantle occurring near the antipodes of the Imbrium and Serenitatis impacts. Together with converging seismic compressional waves, these antipodal impact shocks may have produced especially deep fracture zones along the northwest edge of SPA near the Imbrium antipode, allowing the ascent of magma with enhanced KREEP concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-502
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Magnetic fields
  • Moon
  • interior
  • surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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