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Lunar Surface Gravimeter as a lunar seismometer: Investigation of a new source of seismic information on the Moon

Abstract : Lunar seismology has always suffered from the limited number of seismic stations and limited coverage of the seismic network. Additional seismic data are necessary to probe the lunar interior in depth. Instead of a costly new deployment of seismometers, the aim of this study is to investigate the possibility of using the Apollo 17 Lunar Surface Gravimeter (LSG) as a lunar seismometer. The LSG was designed to detect gravitational waves (associated to change in the curvature of spacetime) and tidal ground motion on the Moon, but the data were not investigated for seismic use partially because of a malfunction of the instrument. We first evaluated the influence of the malfunction through comparison with other Apollo seismic data and found that the effect of the malfunction is small, and the LSG detected seismic signals in a manner that was consistent with those of the other Apollo seismometers. Then we carried out source location with the additional station of the LSG. We relocated previously located deep moonquake nests to evaluate the influence of the LSG data, which are generally noisier than other Apollo seismic data. Then we located deep moonquake nests that were previously unlocatable. Forty deep moonquake nests were examined, and we located five new nests. One newly located nest, A284, was most likely to be located on the farside. This series of analyses indicates that the LSG functioned as a lunar seismometer, and that its data are useful for improving seismic analyses with the previous seismic data set of the Moon.
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Taichi Kawamura, Naoki Kobayashi, Satoshi Tanaka, Philippe Lognonné. Lunar Surface Gravimeter as a lunar seismometer: Investigation of a new source of seismic information on the Moon. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, 120 (2), pp.343-358. ⟨10.1002/2014JE004724⟩. ⟨insu-02559880⟩

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