RED/ORANGE VOLCANIC ASH DEPOSITS ON THE LUNAR SURFACE DOCUMENTED IN COLOR-BALANCED APOLLO 17 HASSELBLAD SURFACE AND ORBITAL PHOTOGRAPHS COMPARED WITH APOLLO PANORAMIC, METRIC MAPPING, AND LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER PHOTOS
For GSA 2019, color-balanced Apollo 17 Hasselblad orbital photos compared with other orbital satellite images are presented showing distributions of orange-red-black ash deposits around numerous craters in southwestern Mare Serenitatis, extending the range of these deep-seated volcanic products between the Apollos 15 and 17 landing sites. The characteristics of these highly colored glass beads provide an improved understanding of the geochemical and geophysical nature of the Moon’s interior. The volatiles accompanying the deep-seated eruptions, including water, suggest a much wider distribution for them within the Moon than heretofore assumed. They also represent a potential source of the water-ice known to be present at the lunar poles. These points suggest that the origin of the Moon itself may not have formed in a single gigantic cataclysmic impact with the Earth, but rather evolved independently and more slowly over the course of time.