Large mineralogically distinct impact melt feature at Copernicus crater – Evidence for retention of compositional heterogeneity


Corresponding author: D. Dhingra, Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Rhode Island 02912, USA. (


[1] Despite several lines of evidence for efficient mixing of impact melt in complex craters, we document mineralogical heterogeneity in impact melt deposit on a scale of tens of kilometers on the Moon in the 96 km-diameter Copernicus crater. This heterogeneity is in the form of a large, sinuous impact melt feature on the floor and northern wall that is spectrally distinct from melt in its immediate vicinity. This melt feature spanning >30 km in length and 0.5–5 km in width has relatively short-wavelength, narrow ferrous absorption bands near ~900 nm and ~2000 nm indicating a more Mg-rich pyroxene composition as compared to impact melt deposit in the vicinity which is relatively rich in Fe/Ca-pyroxenes. This distinction provides evidence for the preservation of compositional heterogeneity in impact melt in complex craters on the Moon and documents an example of inefficient mixing of melt during the cratering process.