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Investigation Of Layered Lunar Mare Lava Flows Through Lroc Imagery And Terrestrial Analogs

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Title: Investigation Of Layered Lunar Mare Lava Flows Through Lroc Imagery And Terrestrial Analogs
Authors: Needham, Heidi
Advisor: Fagents, Sarah
Issue Date: 26 Sep 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: The lunar surface contains considerable amounts of information regarding the formation of the Solar System and more recently the Earth-Moon system. This makes it the ideal place to “Expand scientific understanding of the Earth and the universe in which we live,” a primary goal stated by NASA. The main objective of this project was to estimate the number and thicknesses of specific mare flow locations on the Moon visible within the walls of impact craters in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) images. This work was motivated by a need to understand flow thicknesses in models of mare flow emplacement and cooling. We focused primarily on layered deposits exposed in the walls of impact craters consistent with stacked lava flows. Our approach involved mapping inferred flow units in LROC data and determining the average thickness of flows using Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA). However, image resolution prevents determination of whether each mapped layer contains a single flow unit or several flows. The precision of this method is therefore difficult to determine without ground-truth confirmation. To further examine the accuracy of this method to determine remotely sensed flow thicknesses, this study was complemented with analysis of Earth-based satellite imagery of Hawaiian basalt lava flows as analogs to lunar mare lava flows. Through field analysis, ground-truthed data for the terrestrial imagery was obtained to assess the accuracy of the inferences acquired from the LROC images. The terrestrial analog study of satellite images showed average flow thicknesses of 2.0 to 7.7 m. Measurements collected in the field yielded thicknesses ranging from 1.6 to 2.0 m. The lunar results compiled from Dawes Crater show an average mare flow thicknesses of 5.7 ± 4.7 m to 18.1 ± 8.9 m. Based on the terrestrial analog study, the image-derived flow thicknesses were overestimated by factors ranging from 1.0 to 4.5. This was primarily due to the difficulty of identifying all flow contacts in the images. Although flow thicknesses can be better constrained with the high resolution LRO images, these estimates are most likely larger than true flow thicknesses.
Pages/Duration: viii, 47 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/33768
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for Global Environmental Science



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