An Incredibly Detailed Map of the Moon’s Geology

Caitlin Dempsey


Those interested in lunar geology will certainly admire this newly created digital map from the USGS. Entitled, “Unified Geologic Map of the Moon” the newly created map summarizes the current state of lunar geologic knowledge.

Detailed closeup of the Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, USGS

The map brings together geologic maps of the moon that were originally created in the 1970s of the moon’s near, central far, east, west, north, and south sides . From the explanatory file for this map:

These renovated lunar maps originally had different units and unit relationships across their boundaries. The east, central far and west maps had abutting boundaries which allowed units to simply be matched across the boundary with minimal redrawing or remapping. The polar maps overlapped the boundaries of east, central far, and west side maps by 5 degrees. And finally, the near side map overlapped both poles and the east and west side maps to varying degrees given its irregular bounding shape. Within these overlaps, we have created a seamless boundary between the maps that respects the original authors interpretations and fits a concatenated global unit scheme.

The newly released map builds on the original 2013 Lunar Geologic Renovation that digitized the original geologic maps created at a scale of 1:5,000,000. The end result is a seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map of the moon.

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To access the map visit: Unified Geologic Map of the Moon

For more detail about the creation of the map:

Fortezzo, C. M. and Spudis, P. D. (2018) Digital Global Geologic Map of The Moon: Analysis Tool for Lunar Research, Planetary Geologic Mappers Meeting, Knoxville, TN.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.