Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (1): 106-119.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202201008

• Surface Process and Planet Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Distribution characteristics and classification schemes of lunar surface elevation

LIU Qiangyi1,2(), CHENG Weiming1,2,3(), YAN Guangjian4, WANG Ruibo1, LIU Jianzhong2,3,5   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. CAS Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, Hefei 230052, China
    4. State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    5. Lunar and Planetary Science Research Center, Institute of Geochemistry, CAS, Guiyang 550002, China
  • Received:2020-12-18 Revised:2021-09-24 Online:2022-01-25 Published:2022-03-25
  • Contact: CHENG Weiming;
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDB41000000);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41571388);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42130110);Key Projects of National Basic Work of Science and Technology(2015FY210500)


The moon is the only natural satellite of the earth and the main celestial body in deep space exploration at current stage. The study on lunar surface morphology can not only help understand the structure and composition of the moon but also provide direct and reliable evidence on the origin and evolution history of the moon. Compared with the geomorphic classification of the earth, research on lunar morphology started late and developed slowly. Although researchers have been concentrated in lunar morphology study, there is still lack of research with regards to the distribution characteristics of morphological indicators and their combination with lunar morphological classification schemes. Based on the characteristic analysis of surface elevation in lunar mare, we found that the division criteria of -2500 m and -1500 m can better distinguish the inner region of the lunar mare and the crater rim crests and highland. The study on the impact craters shows that a contour line of 3000 m can better highlight the boundary of some impact craters in the highland. Besides, the boundary of South Pole Aitken is mostly situated at an elevation of about 1000 m. Thus, four thresholds of -2500 m, -1500 m, 1000 m and 3000 m are proposed as the classification criteria in lunar morphological classification scheme, and the lunar surface is divided into five geomorphic types: extremely low altitude, low altitude, medium altitude, high altitude and extremely high altitude.

Key words: lunar geomorphological classification schemes, lunar surface elevation, lunar geomorphic types, distribution characteristics, classification criteria