March 18, 2010

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A Little Bit of the Wall

left: LROC Observation M111640634R; right: LROC WMS Image Map

Another day, another LROC image. This may get to be a habit. With the release of 49 Tb of LRO data on March 15, and an easy user interface appearing yesterday, there is now an inexhaustible treasure of images ready to be explored. Poor Danny Caes, he may get into this resource and never surface again! This view is a moderate closeup of a piece of the Straight Wall, marked with a red arrow on the image browser view. To the right on the image is the upper surface of the fault, and the scarp itself is seen to have at least two components. On top, boulders crop out, although I could not find any exposure of horizontal layering of lava flows that they are probably eroding out of. Notice the crater that formed on the edge of the scarp and is feeding boulders down the slope - see the bright spots with shadows? The bottom 2/3rds of the scarp seem to be talus with typical elephant hide texture. There is a sharp crease at the bottom of the slope,where the fault meets the downdropped surface to the west. It looks like there may be a low ridge of material paralleling the front of the scarp - the bright crater cuts into it - before reaching flat terrain. I wonder if the low ridge is debris that moved downslope - maybe when the fault actually formed - or is it is some type of uplift that stuck onto the the right side a little bit when the left side moved down? When the topo data is combined with the image of this area we may get more evidence. We have learned that even a telescopically sharp feature like the Straight Wall becomes just another rounded and eroded surface when seen with hyper-resolution. But think how fantastic it will be when someone (soon, I bet) combines LRO images and topo to create a video of a flight down the scarp length!
Chuck Wood
Note Yesterday's LPOD does not show the Lunokhod 2 itself - please see update under my name.

Related Links
Rükl plate 54

I've been exploring some more and found the LROC image of the little volcanic cone near Lassell J. We may have to add pages to the Moon WIki for features that are seem in these images!

Yesterday's LPOD: The End of Secrets

Tomorrow's LPOD: The Case of the Missing Rim


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