1989 IAU Planetary Gazetteer

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1989 IAU Planetary Gazetteer

The following is a computer transcription of parts of a preliminary version of the IAU Planetary Gazetteer available in the USGS Publications Warehouse

  • Note: the page linked to at the USGS Publications Warehouse says it is from 1986. However, as indicated below, it is actually a scan of a 1989 printing. It appears that the title pages of true copies printed in 1986 say Annual Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature on the title page. This copy does not include the word Annual.

Some sections irrelevant to the history of lunar nomenclature have been omitted, and are indicated by ellipsis (...). The approximate original pagination is indicated by horizontal lines with the small Roman numerals at the bottom of each section indicating the page numbers.




Harold Masursky 1, Pres., Kaare Aksnes 2, G.E. Hunt 3,
M.Ya. Marov 4, P.M. Millman 5, David Morrison 6, T.C. Owen 7, V.V. Shevchenko 8,
B.A. Smith 9, and V.G Tejfel 10

Open-File Report 84-692

Prepared for the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey or National Aeronautics and Space Administration editorial standards. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

1 USGS, Flagstaff, AZ; 2 Norwegian Defense Res. Estab., Kjeller, Norway; 3 lmperial College, London, UK; 4 USSR Aead Sci., Moscow; 5 Nat. Res. Council Canada, Ottawa; 6 Institute of Astron., Honolulu, HI; 7 State Univ. of N.Y., Stony Brook; 8 Sternberg Institute, Moscow, USSR; 9 Univ. of Ariz., Tucson, AZ; l0 Kazakh. Acad. Sci., Alma-Alta, USSR



Introduction ........................................................ ii
Key to classification of column arrays (fields) ..................... ix
Continent and Ethnic Groups ......................................... x
References .......................................................... xiii
Feature type ........................................................ xviii
Categories for naming features on planets and satellites ............ xix
Satellite information ............................................... xxi

Names sorted alphabetically by planetary body and feature type ...... 1A-152A
Names sorted alphabetically by feature type ......................... 1B-146B

Names sorted alphabetically ......................................... 1C-144C



This volume, a gazetteer of names of surface features on planets and satellites, and of planet, satellite and ring nomenclature, is the first in a planned annual series of computer-stored and computer-manipulated lists of planetary nomenclature. An illustrated formal version is slated to be published in about a year and republished every six years, after alternate triennial meetings of the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Informal versions will be updated and open-filed annually. This volume lists more than 4000 names; nearly 600 were added at the November 1985 General Assembly in New Delhi, India.

As is true of terrestrial nomenclature, a systematic planetary nomenclature is essential for anyone wishing to identify, describe, locate, or discuss planetary surface features and processes. For these same reasons, names are applied to prominent features when a planetary surface is first imaged; later, many names are added at the request of investigators who are mapping or describing specific surfaces or features. The present volume contains the names of topographic features or distinctive bright or dark features on planets and satellites, and the names of newly discovered small satellites, rings, and ring gaps; later versions will include the names of atmospheric features.

The IAU is the governing body for all planetary nomenclature matters, and the offical lists of planetary nomenclature are printed in the Transactions volumes of the Proceedings of the IAU's triennial meetings. Named features are depicted on maps of the Moon published by the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency; on maps of Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn published by the U.S. Geological Survey; and on maps of the Moon, Venus, and Mars produced by the U.S.S.R. As soon as the task group accepts a name it is considered to be "proposed" and can be used on published maps. Approved names are those passed by I.A.U. General Assemblies.


At its organizational meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in 1919, the IAU formed a nomenclature committee of international composition to sort out and regularize the several competing systems of lunar nomenclature. In 1935, Blagg and Muller's "Named Lunar Formations" became the first systematic listing of lunar nomenclature. Later, the "System of Lunar Craters, quadrants 1, 2, 3, 4" by D.W.G. Arthur and others, under the direction of Gerard P. Kuiper, listed names in an expanded lunar nomenclature. ... Donald H. Menzel chaired a lunar group that, from 1968 until 1973, suggested names for features discriminated by the Zond, Lunar Orbiter, and Apollo cameras.

At the Sydney, Australia, meeting of the IAU in 1973, the nomenclature group was enlarged and reconstituted as the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN, or Working Group); the group was chaired by Peter Millman (Canada) and reported to the IAU Executive Committee. Task groups were formed for the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Outer Planets at that time. In 1983 at Patras, Greece, Harold Masursky (U.S.A.) became president of the WGPSN and several new members were added. ...


The present members of the Working Group and Task Groups are as follows:

Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature

PRESIDENT H. Masursky U.S.A.

MEMBERS: K. Aksnes Norway
G. E. Hunt Gr.Br.
M. Ya. Marov U.S.S.R.
P. M. Millman Canada
D. Morrison U.S.A.
T. C. Owen U.S.A.

V. V. Shevchenko U.S.S.R
B. A. Smith U.S.A.
V. G. Tejfel U.S.S.R.

G. A. Burba U.S.A.
A. M. Komkov U.S.S.R.
J. D. Rosendhal U.S.A.

Task Group for
Lunar Nomenclature

V. V. Shevchenko (Chair) U.S.S.R.
A. Dollfus France
F. El-Baz U.S.A.
H. Masursky U.S.A.
P. M. Millman Canada
S. K. Runcorn Gr. Br.
E. A. Whitaker U.S.A.



All names adopted by the IAU from 1920 to 1985, or included on published planetary maps, are listed in this volume. The method of annotating the names is clarified; and certain other remaining problems or inconsistencies in the data set are discussed in the following paragraphs.

A key to the listings follows, on page ix. In the listings the names are sorted in three ways, identified by paper of three different colors. On white pages (numbers suffixed by "A"), the names are sorted alphabetically by planetary body, satellite, and feature type; on yellow pages (numbers suffixed by "B"), they are sorted alphabetically by feature type. On buff pages (numbers suffixed by "C"), they are sorted alphabetically. The listings include various types of information about each name, including the planet on which the feature appears, the feature type, and the country of origin, as well as additional information about the name. Also included is a reference number that lists the book or set of books that contains additional information about each name not given under "attribute".

Because the spelling of mythological names varies with the book consulted, the reference used for the the spelling must be shown. In choosing the spelling of names for large craters on the Moon and Mars that memorialize a deceased person, we have attempted to use the spelling preferred by the person being honored, as shown in one of his works published during his lifetime.



The feature type (Latin or Greek term describing the feature) remains the same at all resolutions; that is, a ridge of any size is a "dorsum" whether it is 1 or 1000 km long. However, some features on very low resolution radar images of Venus and optical images of Outer Planet satellites are not clearly shown, and designations for these features describe albedo rather than morphologic features.


As new names are proposed for adoption, they will be included in the next yearly version of the Gazetteer. The present version contains all names approved, through the New Delhi meeting of the IAU in November 1985, except the names for albedo features on Mars and Mercury. These names can be referenced in the appropriate volumes of the Transactions of the International Astronomical Union (D. Reidel and Co., Dordrecht). The Martian names are listed in v. X, p. 266, published in 1960, and the Mercurian names in v. XVIB, p. 331-333, published in 1977. Most Lunar albedo features have been given formal names. The exception is Reiner Gamma, an enigmatic feature. The next version of the gazetteer will include all albedo names, including Reiner Gamma.


We have left some fields blank, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, we have not been able to find a reference that provides the missing information; "Andal" in the Mercury list is an example. A blank in the "NO" field indicates the name was applied after the map was published; although the feature is located on the map indicated in the previous ("MAP") field, it is not actually named on the published map of that area.

The diameters of craters and paterae are always given because this measurement is useful for identification; however, not all diameters and long dimensions for other features are listed. When a crater is named for more than one person, the latitude, longitude, and diameter are given only once, under the name of the first person to be so honored.

Because the boundaries of many large features, such as terrae, regiones, planitiae, and plana, are not topographically distinct, their coordinates are often chosen arbitrarily; when geochemical and geophysical data from later missions provide us with more distinct boundaries for these features, their coordinates will be adjusted appropriately.

Lunar nomenclature has been a complex and often confused subject for nearly 100 years, and many errors and inconsistencies have been established both in the literature and on published maps. Ewen Whitaker, University of Arizona, has corrected most of the problems by his expert and exhaustive review of the lunar section of this volume, but the antecedents of some names or groups of names have not yet been established. Lunar references are not given in this volume because the lunar names were the first to be assigned, and references were not noted during the early period of naming lunar features. References will be added and other remaining problems and errors will be corrected in the next version of the gazetteer.


Much additional work must be done before the formal gazetteer goes to press. We invite our readers to contact the president (2255 Gemini Drive, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001) or any other member of the Working Group with corrections and changes that will improve the usefulness of later editions.


The Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature wishes to thank Dr. Peter Millman, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, for his word-processor listing of planetary nomenclature; Ewen Whitaker, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson, Arizona, for his careful editing of the lunar list; and Dr. Farouk EI-Baz, Itek Corporation, Lexington, Massachusetts, and Priscilla Strain, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., for the first edition of a computer list of lunar names. For careful and prompt editing of planetary nomenclature maps in the critical prepublication period, we thank Dr. Audouin Dollfus, Observatoire de Paris, France; Dr. A.T. Basilevsky and Dr. G. Burba, Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Moscow, USSR; and Mr. William Musielak, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. Annie Allison, Katherine Beer, Victoria Lobato, and Connie Nordquist, USGS, Flagstaff, Arizona, have prepared, sorted, and edited the planetary nomenclature lists for publication; Janet Wilkerson and Shelly Plumb, USGS, Flagstaff, have provided painstaking and meticulous assistance in reproducing the original manuscript. Robert Gurule, USGS, Flagstaff, wrote the software that makes it possible to combine, manipulate and sort the nomenclature files. Ramon Sabala and Roger Carroll, USGS, Flagstaff, on many occasions have made extraordinary efforts to meet tight deadlines. Mary Strobell, USGS, Flagstaff, has coordinated the efforts of the Flagstaff group in creating the Gazetteer and editing the multitudes of maps that record the status of planetary nomenclature.