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Early lunar geology and geophysics

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dc.contributor.advisor Maria T. Zuber. en_US Garrick-Bethell, Ian, 1980- en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. en_US 2009-10-01T15:51:02Z 2009-10-01T15:51:02Z 2009 en_US 2009 en_US
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2009. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_US
dc.description.abstract Despite a number of human and robotic missions to the Moon, there are still important unanswered questions about its early evolution, and how it came to be the object we observe today. Here we use observational, experimental, and theoretical techniques to examine three important events that took place early in lunar history and have left a lasting signature. The first event is the formation of the largest basin on the Moon, the South Pole-Aitken Basin. We develop a systematic method to define the previously unknown boundaries of this degraded structure and quantify its gross shape. We also combine a number of remote sensing data sets to constrain the origin of heat producing elements in its interior. The second event we examine is the evolution of the lunar orbit, and the coupling between the Moon's early geophysical properties and the growth of orbital eccentricity. We use analytical models for tidal deformations and orbit evolution to show that the shape of the Moon suggests its early orbit was highly eccentric. However, we are also able to explain the presently high eccentricity entirely by traditional, secular tidal growth while the early Moon was hot. The third event we examine is the magnetization of lunar samples. We perform extensive paleomagnetic measurements of an ancient, deep-seated lunar sample, and determine that a long-lived magnetic field like that of a core dynamo is the most plausible explanation for its magnetic remanence. In sum, the earliest portion of lunar history has been largely obscured by later geologic events, but a great deal can still be learned from this formative epoch. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Ian Garrick-Bethell. en_US
dc.format.extent 201 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. en_US
dc.title Early lunar geology and geophysics en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 430043140 en_US

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