Using Grail Data to Assess the Effect of Porosity and Dilatancy on the Gravity Signature of Impact Craters on the Moon

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Colleen Milbury1, Brandon C Johnson2, Jay Melosh IV1, Gareth S Collins3, David M Blair1, Jason M Soderblom2 and Maria T Zuber2, (1)Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States, (2)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
NASA’s dual Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft have globally mapped the lunar gravity field at unprecedented resolution; this has enabled the study of craters of all sizes and ages. Soderblom et al. [2014, LPSC abstract #1777] calculated the residual Bouguer anomalies for ~2700 craters 27-184 km in diameter (D). They found that the residual Bouguer anomaly over craters smaller than D~100 km is essentially 0±50 mGal, there is a transition for D~100–150 km, and craters larger than 184 km have a positive residual Bouguer anomaly that increases with increasing crater size. We use the iSALE shock physics hydrocode to model crater formation, including the effect of porosity and dilatancy (shear bulking). We use strength parameters of gabbroic anorthosite for the crust and dunite for the mantle. Our impactor sizes range from 6–30 km, which produce craters between 86–450 km in diameter for pre-impact target porosities of 0, 6.8, and 13.6%. We calculate the free-air and Bouguer gravity anomalies from our models and compare them to gravity data from GRAIL. We find that target porosity has the greatest effect on the gravity signature of lunar craters and can explain the observed ±50 mGal scatter in the residual Bouguer anomaly. We investigate variations of impact velocity, crustal thickness, and dilatancy angle; we find that these parameters do not affect the gravity as significantly as target porosity does. We find that the crater diameter at which mantle uplift dominates the crater gravity is dependent on target porosity, and that it occurs at a crater diameter that is close to the complex crater to peak-ring basin transition.