Magnetic field and remanent magnetization effects of basin‐forming impacts on the Moon

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28 Scopus citations


Maps of the distribution of lunar surface magnetic fields produced by the electron reflection method have shown that the largest observed concentrations of lunar crustal magnetization occur antipodal (diametrically opposite) to 4 relatively young large impact basins: Imbrium, Orientale, Serenitatis, and Crisium. A model is proposed here for the formation of these magnetization concentrations (or ‘magcons’) in which the partially ionized vapor cloud produced in a hypervelocity (> 10 km s−1) basin‐forming impact expands around the moon forcing a pre‐existing ambient magnetic field to be concentrated for a brief (< 1 day) time period in the antipodal zone. Acquisition of magnetic remanence during the period of compressed field amplification may occur by one of several mechanisms including shock remanence by impact of solid secondaries ejected from the basin‐forming event. The model implies that basin‐forming impacts have played a major role in determining the large‐scale distribution of crustal magnetization detectable from lunar orbit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-847
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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