Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Bradley Thomson
Dr. Molly McCanta, Dr. Nicholas Dygert, Dr. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentín, Dr. Jeffrey Moersch
The surface of Earth's Moon is a complex geologic system that continues to evolve due to a variety of ongoing geologic processes. The goal of this dissertation is to identify and quantify current endogenic and exogenic sources of lunar surface modification using remote sensing data. Radar and thermophysical measurements of 6,221 impact craters on the lunar nearside mare have indicated that lunar regolith is highly mobile at crater rims, making those areas ideal locations for lunar sampling initiatives (Chapter 1). Furthermore, a detailed mapping of recently formed tectonic features on the Moon revealed >1000 wrinkle ridges that are recently or currently active in deforming the lunar surface (Chapter 2). That addition of small-scale wrinkle ridges to the lithospheric stress budget of the Moon allowed for the first globally complete perspective of recent lunar tectonism. Lastly, drone-based thermophysical data collected over the ejecta of Barringer Meteorite Impact crater in NE Arizona, USA indicated that coarse-resolution measurements of impact ejecta on the Moon may be excluding key details about impact crater and ejecta formation processes (Chapter 3). The combination of these investigations indicated that Earth’s Moon is recently (if not, currently) active and the resulting surface acceleration is likely responsible for regional regolith movement in high-sloping areas of the lunar surface, such as crater rims where subsurface boulders are actively being exhumed. These findings are relevant to future lunar surface science investigations for which a lithologically diverse sampling of locally sourced lunar surface material is desired.
Nypaver, Cole, "A Multi-Wavelength Remote Sensing Investigation of Lunar Surface and Crustal Evolution. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2023.