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Geology of the Moon: A Stratigraphic View

Geology of the Moon: A Stratigraphic View

Thomas A. Mutch
Copyright Date: 1972
Pages: 402
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  • Book Info
    Geology of the Moon: A Stratigraphic View
    Book Description:

    This edition reviews the results of Apollos 11, 12, 14, and 15. Included are approximately sixty new pages of text and forty new photographs and pictures. Thomas A. Mutch has written this book for students of lunar geology and scientists in diverse fields related to astrogeology as well as for the interested layman.

    Originally published in 1973.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7047-9
    Subjects: Geology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
    Thomas A. Mutch
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. x-2)
  5. CHAPTER I History’s Lessons
    (pp. 3-23)

    AT the very outset it is appropriate to point out the irony inherent in what we often refer to as the development of scientific thought. Few people would contend that men have become progressively more intelligent over the past centuries. But at the same time one often encounters the attitude that scientists of today will never repeat those errors of observation and interpretation made in previous generations. Unfortunately the scientists who present this point of view often are the ones so involved in “original” research that they have no opportunity to review the history of thought in their own fields...

  6. CHAPTER II The Moon’s Shape and Motion
    (pp. 24-35)

    COMPREHENSIVE and detailed discussions of the Moon’s shape and motion are found in a number of books (e.g. Arthur, 1963; Kopal, 1966). Expectably, these are traditional subjects of interest for astronomers, who have viewed the Moon from a distance. However, our purpose here is only to consider several phenomena which affect visual observations and which have geologic significance. Geometric and mathematical treatments are included more for explanatory clarity than for any fundamental rigor. This approach may appear oversimplified to those with astronomical training, but it is adequate for the task at hand. On Earth, for example, stratigraphic studies have been...

  7. CHAPTER III Remote Sensing Techniques
    (pp. 36-58)

    MUCH of what we know about the Moon comes through the use of remote sensors. For the most part this phrase is a vaguely impressive synonym for the words “telescope” and “camera,” but the category of remote sensors also includes those instruments which detect ultraviolet, infrared, and radar waves.

    In any scientific effort comprehensive knowledge of the data available for analysis should precede interpretation and speculation. A brief review of data available for geologic study of the Moon is especially appropriate since much of it is quite different from conventional geologic data. In this chapter we will emphasize distinctive characteristics...

  8. CHAPTER IV Lunar Craters and Terrestrial Analogs
    (pp. 59-116)

    THE principle of uniformitarianism is often condensed to an epigram: “The present is the key to the past.” Phrasing this in language less striking but more accurate, one might say that Earth history can be interpreted in terms of natural forces observable today. For example, familiarity with present landscapes and the processes which modify them leads to detailed paleogeographic renderings of ancient scenes.

    Many analogies involve comparison of distinctively shaped or patterned objects. However, in making these comparisons it is important to consider also the processes which formed the objects. Processes which are fundamentally similar may form products which look...

  9. CHAPTER V Imbrium Basin Stratigraphy
    (pp. 117-139)

    FOR many years observers of the Moon have studied and interpreted the surface features. Until a few years ago, however, interest centered on particular structures and random oddities. Craters were described with little reference to surrounding relationships. Evidence for displacement along prominent lineaments was argued apart from any considerations of regional structure. Most of the observations were topographic, not geologic, so that particular craters commanded attention more for their deep precipices and striking perfection than for any geologic reasons. Evidence for the absence of any stratigraphic concern appears in the common offhand reference to craters as “formations.” It is obvious...

  10. CHAPTER VI Other Basins—Other Stratigraphies
    (pp. 140-160)

    THE stratigraphic model of Shoemaker and Hackman placed special emphasis on the formation of the Imbrium basin and the deposition of an ejecta blanket for great distances away from that basin. The authors realized that the Imbrium basin was only one of several comparable features on the Moon; they did not, however, specifically propose that the other basins might have ejecta deposits which, in other portions of the Moon, could serve as time planes of fundamental importance. By default, then, the Imbrium event assumed unique stratigraphic significance.

    The first quadrangles completed in the systematic 1: 1,000,000 geologic mapping program were...

  11. CHAPTER VII Crater Stratigraphy
    (pp. 161-175)

    IN the two preceding chapters we have devoted attention to stratigraphic units which have significant lateral extent at regional scales. Notable examples are the Procellarum Group which underlies most of the mare regions and the Fra Mauro Formation which mantles the central part of the Earthside hemisphere south of Mare Imbrium.

    Arguing from a presumed similar impact origin for large basins and for many of the small craters, one would expect a similarity of stratigraphic features between the two groups. As previously pointed out, similarities do, in fact, exist. Both basins and craters are surrounded by ejecta deposits with inner...

  12. CHAPTER VIII Volcanic Stratigraphy
    (pp. 176-236)

    THERE are several regions on the Moon which, because of the presence of conical hills, domes, rilles, chain craters, narrow-rimmed craters, lobate scarps, and dark, smooth surficial materials, appear to be underlain by extensive floods of lava. These areas raise special problems in geologic mapping and in stratigraphic subdivision. As in the case of craters, interpretation of lunar volcanic terrains depends heavily on analogies with features observable on Earth. For that reason the discussion should be introduced with a brief review: first, of terrestrial volcanic forms, and secondly, of terrestrial volcanic stratigraphy. The stratigraphy of flood basalts deserves special attention...

  13. CHAPTER IX Highland Stratigraphy
    (pp. 237-254)

    THE dark maria dominate that half of the Moon which faces the Earth, and consideration of their origin has been strongly emphasized in most geologic studies. Intensive study of the cratered highlands which occupy the southeastern quadrant of the nearside was initiated only following receipt of Orbiter IV and Surveyor VII results. The logic in this tacit decision to concentrate attention first on the maria is undeniable—the simple should precede the complex—but the recent revelation that nearly the entire farside of the Moon is highland (Figs. IX-1 and 2) dramatizes the need to understand the geology of this...

  14. CHAPTER X Relative and Absolute Ages of Lunar Materials
    (pp. 255-276)

    THE very word “stratigraphy” suggests a fact central to the study of sedimentary rocks: namely, that these rocks occur in stratified or layered sequences. It is the successive superposition of sedimentary layers which permits one to define relative ages for a sequence of sedimentary events. Stratification, in addition to being present in sedimentary sequences, may also exist deep within a planetary body or in the topmost few centimeters of surficial soil. Before con sidering the more conventional sedimentary stratigraphy, it may be worthwhile briefly to examine evidence for the presence of these two other types of stratification on the Moon....

  15. CHAPTER XI Lunar Stratigraphy Reconsidered
    (pp. 277-280)

    We began this book with the proposition that geological investigation of the Earth has provided us with a backlog of experience which should influence and expedite our understanding of the Moon. Throughout the book we have sought out similarities between terrestrial stratigraphy and the geology of the Moon. But now that much of the evidence has been presented, how persuasive does this argument by analogy appear?

    Central to any evaluation of the evidence is consideration of the concepts of uniformitarianism and catastrophism. These two terms have figured prominently in the development of terrestrial geology. Most students are told rather simplistically...

  16. CHAPTER XII Apollo Results
    (pp. 281-358)

    So much has been written about the rocks collected on the several Apollo missions that anyone who follows the literature conscientiously sometimes feels more overwhelmed than informed. Preliminary reviews of results from each mission have been published by the Lunar Sample Preliminary Examination Team (LSPET) inScience.The most comprehensive report on Apollo XI is a three-volume supplement ofGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.Included there are expanded versions of papers presented at the Lunar Science Conference in Houston, January 1970. Briefer summaries of most of these papers appear in a special issue ofScience(January 1970). A second Lunar Conference...

  17. Appendix A: GEOLOGIC MAPS OF THE MOON AT A SCALE OF 1: 1,000,000
    (pp. 359-360)
  18. Appendix B: Index Map of the Earthside of the Moon
    (pp. 361-364)
  19. References
    (pp. 365-385)
  20. Index
    (pp. 386-391)