Magnetic anomalies in the Imbrium and Schrödinger impact basins: Orbital evidence for persistence of the lunar core dynamo into the Imbrian epoch

L. L. Hood, P. D. Spudis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Approximate maps of the lunar crustal magnetic field at low altitudes in the vicinities of the three Imbrian-aged impact basins, Orientale, Schrödinger, and Imbrium, have been constructed using Lunar Prospector and Kaguya orbital magnetometer data. Detectable anomalies are confirmed to be present well within the rims of Imbrium and Schrödinger. Anomalies in Schrödinger are asymmetrically distributed about the basin center, while a single isolated anomaly is most clearly detected within Imbrium northwest of Timocharis crater. The subsurface within these basins was heated to high temperatures at the time of impact and required long time periods (up to 1 Myr) to cool below the Curie temperature for metallic iron remanence carriers (1043 K). Therefore, consistent with laboratory analyses of returned samples, a steady, long-lived magnetizing field, i.e., a former core dynamo, is inferred to have existed when these basins formed. The asymmetrical distribution within Schrödinger suggests partial demagnetization by later volcanic activity when the dynamo field was much weaker or nonexistent. However, it remains true that anomalies within Imbrian-aged basins are much weaker than those within most Nectarian-aged basins. The virtual absence of anomalies within Orientale where impact melt rocks (the Maunder Formation) are exposed at the surface is difficult to explain unless the dynamo field was much weaker during the Imbrian period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2268-2281
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Volume121
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • Imbrium Basin
  • Moon
  • Schrodinger Basin
  • lunar core dynamo
  • magnetic anomalies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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