Characterization of previously unidentified lunar pyroclastic deposits using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera data

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Abstract

[1] We used a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) global monochrome Wide-angle Camera (WAC) mosaic to conduct a survey of the Moon to search for previously unidentified pyroclastic deposits. Promising locations were examined in detail using LROC multispectral WAC mosaics, high-resolution LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) images, and Clementine multispectral (ultraviolet-visible or UVVIS) data. Out of 47 potential deposits chosen for closer examination, 12 were selected as probable newly identified pyroclastic deposits. Potential pyroclastic deposits were generally found in settings similar to previously identified deposits, including areas within or near mare deposits adjacent to highlands, within floor-fractured craters, and along fissures in mare deposits. However, a significant new finding is the discovery of localized pyroclastic deposits within floor-fractured craters Anderson E and F on the lunar farside, isolated from other known similar deposits. Our search confirms that most major regional and localized low-albedo pyroclastic deposits have been identified on the Moon down to ∼100 m/pix resolution, and that additional newly identified deposits are likely to be either isolated small deposits or additional portions of discontinuous, patchy deposits.

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