February 27, 2012
Layers And Layers
image from Jennifer Whitten, James Head, Gregory Neumann, Maria Zuber and David E. Smith (2012)
Every lunar feature was born pristine, but then things happen. Smaller and larger craters impinge on it, its smothered by ejecta, or lavas rise up from the mantle and overcome it. Jennifer Whitten and colleagues have explored how this last process of lava flooding modifies lunar landscapes. With the high spatial density laser altimetry data from LRO they started with a digital topo- graphic model of the 11 km deep Hertzsprung Basin (left) and then added smooth, greyish virtual lava in 500 m thick layers. The middle image shows what is left after 2 km of flooding has filled low spots – the basin floor and craters too. By the time a two more kilometer thickness of lava has covered the surface (right) all of the complexity of the basin interior is hidden with only the tallest remnants of the inner ring visible. This example explains something I’ve long wondered about - does lava destroy crater rims? The crater on the upper right rim of the basin looks like its rim was somehow destroyed by lava, but really it was just a low spot because the crater was tilted inward.
Jennifer Whitten, James Head, Gregory Neumann, Maria Zuber and David E. Smith (2012) Volcanic flooding experiments in impact basins and heavily cratered terrain using LOLA data: Patterns of resurfacing and crater loss. 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference #1470.
Yesterday's LPOD: Three, not in a Row
Tomorrow's LPOD: Crater-Hopping