Fossil figure contribution to the lunar figure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The unusual shape of the Moon given its present rotational and orbital state has been explained as due to a fossil figure preserving a record of remnant rotational and tidal deformation (Jeffreys, H. [1915]. Mem. R. Astron. Soc. 60, 187-217; Lambeck, K., Pullan, S. [1980]. Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 22, 29-35; Garrick-Bethell, I., Wisdom, J., Zuber, M.T. [2006]. Science 313, 652-655). However, previous studies assume infinite rigidity and ignore deformation due to changes in the rotational and orbital potentials as the Moon evolves to the present state. We interpret the global lunar figure with a physical model that takes into account this deformation. Although the Moon deforms in response to rotational and orbital changes, a fossil figure capable of explaining the observed figure can be preserved by an elastic lithosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-414
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Moon
  • Planetary dynamics
  • Rotational dynamics
  • Tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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