Credit: Jinzhu Ji et al.

 

Chinese scientists have completed the world’s first 1:2.5 million scale lunar geological map.

The map provides significant basic data for lunar scientific research and an important new reference for the development of other celestial geological maps, according to China Central Television (CCTV).

The new map details information on the Moon’s surface strata, structure, lithology and chronology and charts the evolutionary processes of lunar volcanoes and asteroid impacts. That data will be crucial for future on-site research including exploration planning and landing site selection, CCTV adds.

The creation of the map was led by academician Ouyang Ziyuan and researcher Li Jianzhong, both prominent researchers of China’s lunar exploration program, as well as by the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, along with support from five universities and institutes within the field.

Lead author of the paper — “The 1:2,500,000-scale geologic map of the global Moon” — published in the Science Bulletin is Jinzhu Ji, a lecturer at School of Mining, Inner Mongolia University of Technology and visiting scholar at Center for Lunar and Planetary Science, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Credit: Jinzhu Ji et al.

Lunar geological chronology

“Based on the data of China’s Chang’e lunar project and other international lunar exploration research, as well as through the study of strata, morphology, composition, structure and geological age of the Moon’s surface, the team has proposed and established a new lunar geological chronology,” CCTV explains.

The map work has codified the classification of impact crater materials, impact basin construction, rock types and tectonic types and will set standards and procedures for future geological mapping.

“The newly compiled map” CCTV notes, “updates the Moon’s geological chronology based on a better understanding of the history of the lunar surface which has been categorized into three epochs and six periods.”

Credit: ISS/NASA

That trio of epochs have been classified as the early stage, dominated by internal geological activities, the middle stage which features both internal and external geological forces, and the latter stage which has mainly external forces such as asteroid strikes shaping the Moon’s surface.

For more information, go to “The 1:2,500,000-scale geologic map of the global Moon” in the Science Bulletin at:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2095927322002316

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