Volcanic history in the Smythii basin based on SELENE radar observation.Sci Rep 2019; 9(1):14502SR
Elucidation of the subsurface structure in the Smythii basin on the moon is important for understanding lunar volcanic history. Two lava units (Units 1 and 2) cover this basin. The spatial subsurface structure below Unit 2 is unknown. We used SELENE/Lunar Radar Sounder data to identify four subsurface boundaries at 130, 190, 300, and 420 m depths. The radar is reflected at the paleo-regolith layer sandwiched among lava flows, which is supported by a simple radar reflection/transmission model. The spatial distribution of subsurface boundaries demonstrates the deposition of Unit 2 on the subsidence in Unit 1. A simple loading model explained the maximum depth of subsidence (~500 m) and indicated that lithospheric thickness in the Smythii basin was ~24 km at 3.95 Gya. The estimated growth rate of the lithosphere was ~60 km/Ga during 3.95 to 3.07 Gya. After the formation of the Smythii basin at ~4.11 Gya, Unit 1 and Unit 2 deposited with eruption rates of ~8.4 × 10-4 km3/yr by 3.95 Gya and ~7.5 × 10-6 km3/yr by 3.07 Gya respectively. The timing of decline in volcanic activity in the Smythii basin differs from that for the lunar nearside maria, indicating the diversity of volcanism in various lunar areas.