A New Large-Scale Map of the Lunar Crustal Magnetic Field and Its Interpretation

Lon L. Hood, Cecilyn B. Torres, Joana S. Oliveira, Mark A. Wieczorek, Sarah T. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A new large-scale map of the lunar crustal magnetic field at 30 km altitude covering latitudes from 65°S to 65°N has been produced using high-quality vector magnetometer data from two complementary polar orbital missions, Lunar Prospector and SELENE (Kaguya). The map has characteristics similar to those of previous maps but better resolves the shapes and distribution of weaker anomalies. The strongest group of anomalies is located on the northwest side of the South Pole-Aitken basin approximately antipodal to the Imbrium basin. On the near side, both strong isolated anomalies and weaker elongated anomalies tend to lie along lines oriented radial to Imbrium. These include named anomalies such as Reiner Gamma, Hartwig, Descartes, Abel, and Airy. The statistical significance of this tendency for elongated anomalies is verified by Monte Carlo simulations. Great circle paths determined by end points of elongated anomaly groups and the locations of five individual strong anomalies converge within the inner rim of Imbrium and intersect within the Imbrium antipode zone. Statistically significant evidence for similar alignments northwest of the Orientale basin is also found. The observed distribution of anomalies on the near side and the location of the strongest anomaly group antipodal to Imbrium are consistent with the hypothesis that iron from the Imbrium impactor was mixed into ejecta that was inhomogeneously deposited downrange in groups aligned radial to the basin and concentrated antipodal to the basin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JE006667
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Imbrium Basin
  • Moon
  • impact basins
  • magnetic fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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