EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

From morpho-stratigraphic to geo-stratigraphic units: the PLANMAP contribution.

Matteo Massironi1,2, Angelo Pio Rossi3, Jack Wright4, Francesca Zambon5, Claudia Poehler6, Lorenza Giacomini5, Cristian Carli5, Sabrina Ferrari2, Andrea Semenzato1, Erica Luzzi3, Riccardo Pozzobon1, Gloria Tognon2, David A. Rothery4, Carolyn Van der Bogert6, and Francesca Altieri5
Matteo Massironi et al.
  • 1Dipartimento di Geoscienze, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy (
  • 2CISAS, Università degli Studi di Padova, Padova, Italy
  • 3Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
  • 4School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, , UK
  • 5INAF - IAPS, Roma, Italy
  • 6Institut für Planetologie, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität, Münster, Germany

Geological units on Earth are defined by several parameters besides the stratigraphic ones, such as rock textures, lithology, composition, and environmental conditions of their origin (numerous and diverse magmatic, volcanic, metamorphic and sedimentary environments). On the other hand, from the Apollo era onward, planetary ‘geologic’ mapping has been carried out using a photo-interpretative approach mainly on panchromatic and monochromatic images. This limited the definition of geological units to morpho-stratigraphic considerations so that units were mainly defined by their stratigraphic position, surface textures and morphology, and attribution to general emplacement processes (a few related to magmatism, some broad sedimentary environments, some diverse impact domains, and all with uncertainties of interpretation). Hence, the two products are still separated by an important conceptual and effective gap which makes the traditional planetary morpho-stratigraphic maps unable to satisfy fully the needs of modern planetary exploration, i.e. an optimised product to define mission strategy in terms of target selection, exploration traverse definition and resource evaluation for ISRU purposes. One of the approaches that might close this gap is to integrate spectral, color and compositional information into morpho-stratigraphic maps, thus generating spectro-morphic or geo-stratigraphic maps.

The PLANMAP team has explored diverse methods for the integration of color variation and spectral information into planetary geological maps that diverge on the bases of the data available, the planetary surface under consideration (Moon, Mars and Mercury),the  geological environments and the scale of mapping.


PLANMAP received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement N. 776276.

How to cite: Massironi, M., Rossi, A. P., Wright, J., Zambon, F., Poehler, C., Giacomini, L., Carli, C., Ferrari, S., Semenzato, A., Luzzi, E., Pozzobon, R., Tognon, G., Rothery, D. A., Van der Bogert, C., and Altieri, F.: From morpho-stratigraphic to geo-stratigraphic units: the PLANMAP contribution., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15675,, 2021.

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