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Global tectonic patterns of the Moon

Matsuyama, I. and Keane, J. T. and Trinh, A. and Beuthe, M. and Watters, T. R. (2021) Global tectonic patterns of the Moon. Icarus, 358 . Art. No. 114202. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2020.114202.

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Planetary tectonics provide a record of the myriad of processes that shape planetary surfaces and interiors. While there is a long history of mapping and modeling planetary tectonics, stresses from disparate processes are not generally captured by a single model. We present a comprehensive and general stress and tectonics model that can consider multiple stress-generating mechanisms simultaneously. The model is applicable to mass loading with arbitrary geometry, rotational and orbital perturbations, and arbitrary elastic lithosphere thicknesses. This wholistic approach to tectonic modeling has important implications for understanding both lunar evolution and tectonics across the solar system. We apply this model to the Moon, which exhibits a global pattern of thrust faults. The ubiquitous presence of young thrust faults suggests that isotropic contraction plays a dominant role. However, their non-random orientation requires additional stress-generating mechanisms that are not isotropic. Best-fit solutions correspond to models combining isotropic contraction with orbit recession, despinning, and South Pole-Aitken ejecta loading and the corresponding true polar wander. Contraction and despinning assuming an elastic shell with a thinner equatorial region can lead to misfits that are smaller than those assuming a constant thickness elastic shell. The young age of the faults favors recent contraction and recession; however, unrelaxed stresses from older processes combined with recent contractional stresses can also generate young faults. This possibility is supported by the Moon's ability to preserve a fossil figure.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemData
Matsuyama, I.0000-0002-2917-8633
Keane, J. T.0000-0002-4803-5793
Trinh, A.0000-0001-6732-4104
Beuthe, M.0000-0002-9339-5894
Watters, T. R.0000-0001-6756-6066
Additional Information:© 2020 Elsevier Inc. Received 26 March 2020, Revised 18 September 2020, Accepted 27 October 2020, Available online 7 November 2020. We thank P. James and K. Crane for their thoughtful comments and suggestions that improved the manuscript. This material is based upon work supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Grant No. 80NSSC17K0724 issued through the NASA Solar System Workings program. M. Beuthe was supported by the Belgian PRODEX program managed by the European Space Agency in collaboration with the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office. T. R. W. was supported by the LRO Project and an ASU LROC contract. Data Availability: Data analyzed in this study were a re-analysis of existing data, which are openly available at locations cited in the reference section. Re-analyzed data are available at the University of Arizona’s Research Data Repository ( Declaration of Competing Interest: None.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Space Agency (ESA)UNSPECIFIED
Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO)UNSPECIFIED
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC)UNSPECIFIED
Arizona State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Moon tectonics tides; Solid body rotational dynamics fossil figure
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210311-133741100
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Official Citation:I. Matsuyama, J.T. Keane, A. Trinh, M. Beuthe, T.R. Watters, Global tectonic patterns of the Moon, Icarus, Volume 358, 2021, 114202, ISSN 0019-1035,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108403
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Mar 2021 19:13
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:11

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