Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling

Wöhler C, Lena R (2009)
ICARUS 204(2): 381-398.

Journal Article | Published | English

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This study examines a set of lunar domes with very low flank slopes which differ in several respects from the frequently occurring lunar effusive domes. Some of these domes are exceptionally large, and most of them are associated with faults or linear rilles of presumably tensional origin. Accordingly, they might be interpreted as surface manifestations of laccolithic intrusions formed by flexure-induced vertical uplift of the lunar crust (or, alternatively, as low effusive edifices due to lava mantling of highland terrain, or kipukas, or structural features). All of them are situated near the borders of mare regions or in regions characterised by extensive effusive volcanic activity. Clementine multispectral UVVIS imagery indicates that they do not preferentially occur in specific types of mare basalt. Our determination of their morphometric properties, involving a combined photoclinometry and shape from shading technique applied to telescopic CCD images acquired at oblique illumination, reveals large dome diameters between 10 and more than 30 km, flank slopes below 0.9 degrees, and volumes ranging from 0.5 to 50 km(3). We establish three morphometric classes. The first class, In1, comprises large domes with diameters above 25 kin and flank slopes of 0.2 degrees-0.6 degrees, class In2 is made up by smaller and slightly steeper domes with diameters of 1015 kin and flank slopes between 0.4 degrees and 0.9 degrees, and domes of class In3 have diameters of 13-20 km and flank slopes below 0.3 degrees. While the morphometric properties of several candidate intrusive domes overlap with those of some classes of effusive domes, we show that a possible distinction criterion are the characteristic elongated Outlines of the candidate intrusive domes. We examine how they differ from typical effusive domes of classes 5 and 6 defined by Head and Gifford [Head, J.W., Gifford, A., 1980. Lunar mare domes: classification and modes of origin. Moon Planets 22, 235-257], and show that they are likely no highland kipukas due to the absence of spectral contrast to their surrounding. These considerations serve as a motivation for an analysis of the candidate intrusive domes in terms of the laccolith model by Kerr and Pollard [Kerr, A.D., Pollard, D.D., 1998. Toward more realistic formulations for the analysis of laccoliths. J. Struct. Geol. 20(12), 1783-1793], to estimate the geophysical parameters, especially the intrusion depth and the magma pressure, which would result from the observed morphometric properties. Accordingly, domes of class In1 are characterised by intrusion depths of 2.3-3.5 km and magma pressures between 18 and 29 MPa. For the smaller and steeper domes of class In2 the magma intruded to shallow depths between 0.4 and 1.0 km while the inferred magma pressures range from 3 to 8 MPa. Class In3 domes are similar to those of class In1 with intrusion depths of 1.8-2.7 km and magma pressures of 15-23 MPa. As an extraordinary feature, we describe in some detail the concentric crater Archytas G associated with the intrusive dome At1 and discuss possible modes of origin. In comparison to the candidate intrusive domes, terrestrial laccoliths tend to be smaller, but it remains unclear if this observation is merely a selection effect due to the limited resolution of our telescopic CCD images. An elongated outline is common to many terrestrial laccoliths and the putative lunar laccoliths, while the thickness values measured for terrestrial laccoliths are typically higher than those inferred for lunar laccoliths, but the typical intrusion depths are comparable. C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Wöhler C, Lena R. Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling. ICARUS. 2009;204(2):381-398.
Wöhler, C., & Lena, R. (2009). Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling. ICARUS, 204(2), 381-398.
Wöhler, C., and Lena, R. (2009). Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling. ICARUS 204, 381-398.
Wöhler, C., & Lena, R., 2009. Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling. ICARUS, 204(2), p 381-398.
C. Wöhler and R. Lena, “Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling”, ICARUS, vol. 204, 2009, pp. 381-398.
Wöhler, C., Lena, R.: Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling. ICARUS. 204, 381-398 (2009).
Wöhler, Christian, and Lena, Raffaello. “Lunar intrusive domes: Morphometric analysis and laccolith modelling”. ICARUS 204.2 (2009): 381-398.
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