Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/69385

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
Contributors:Fagents, Sarah (advisor)
Oceanography (department)
Global Environmental Science (department)
Keywords:volcanoes
volcanology
Date Issued:2014
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Place of Publication:Honolulu
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
v
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:57 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/69385
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses 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.
Rights Holder:Needham, Heidi
Appears in Collections: Global Environmental Science (GES)


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