Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Astronomy

First Advisor

Jasper S. Halekas

Abstract

Since different parts of the Moon display varying magnetic field strengths, our goal was to determine whether these differences are due to specific geological characteristics. We found that older materials tend to be more magnetic than younger materials. Additional statistical studies found that the mare regions of the Moon are less magnetic than the plains and terra regions. We did not find a simple relationship between lunar magnetism and crustal thickness, and this is inconsistent with the hypothesis that thicker crust is more magnetic since there is additional material. Thus, it is not just a matter of the amount of magnetic material that determines the magnetic field strength of the lunar crust. Our results demonstrate that magnetism and crustal thickness have a complex relationship, with multiple distinct groups corresponding to various regions of the Moon. The lunar maria formed a particularly distinct group, consisting of low magnetism and thin crust, while the lunar highlands consist of thick crust but typical magnetic field values.

The ejecta thickness and magnetic field distributions for specific craters showed that larger impact basins have a thicker and more widespread ejecta blanket than smaller craters. We did not find a consistent pattern of magnetic field enhancements near specific craters, but evidence for these strong magnetic signatures was present for Mare Crisium and Mare Nectaris. These results may support the hypothesis that ejecta materials are carriers of magnetism, and this may be the reason for their tendency to have higher magnetic field strengths.

Keywords

Geology, Magnetism, Moon, Planetary science

Pages

viii, 62 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-62).

Copyright

Copyright © 2017 Staci L. Tiedeken

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