Mineralogy of the Mafic Anomaly in the South Pole-Aitken Basin: Implications for excavation of the lunar mantle
The mineralogy of South Pole-Aitken Basin [SPA] (the largest confirmed impact basin on the Moon) is evaluated using five-color images from Clementine. Although olivine-rich material as well as basalts rich in clinopyroxene are readily identified elsewhere on the farside, the dominant rock type observed across the interior of SPA is of a very noritic composition. This mineralogy suggests that lower crust rather than the mantle is the dominant source of the mafic component at SPA. The lack of variation in observed noritic composition is probably due to basin formation processes, during which extensive melting and mixing of target materials are likely to occur.