March 30, 2018

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Originally published November 12, 2008 LPOD-Nov12-08.jpg
original image by Oliver Pettenpaul with modifications by Joe Reed

Two days ago LPOD featured images of Copernicus and Plato and speculated that they could be before and after images of the same crater. Now Joe presents some time lapse imaging of the lava-filling process that could transform a Copernicus-like crater into one remarkably like Plato. Although some crater floor modification via Photoshop has been done before, Joe's sequence is much more masterful - we can almost see geology in action. The upper left image is of Copernicus as it looks today. The upper right view captures the burial of floor roughness by mare lava that leaked up fractures beneath the crater. By the 3rd time step (lower left) the lava has recently risen higher, just burying the central peaks and covering the lower half of the wall terraces. The flows are so fresh that few impact craters have had a chance to pit them. At the end of the eruption (bottom right), lava flows have shallowed the crater to a depth of about a kilometer, and a few small craters - looking suspiciously like those in Plato - have punctured the once pristine surface. If the intermediate craters look familiar it is because there are many craters preserved in intermediate stages of lava fill. Compare the upper right image to Campanus and Santbech, and the lower left one is a fresher version of Magelhaens or Mercator.

Chuck Wood

Related Links
Rükl plate 31
Joe's website

Yesterday's LPOD: Moon 101

Tomorrow's LPOD: Snapshot Map


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