Friday, January 28, 2011

Exposed Boulders in the Aitken Mare

Boulders eroding out of the hillslope and concentrated between two hills. LROC Narrow Angle Camera observation M143480262, LRO orbit 6278, November 4, 2010. Featured Image width = 700 meters, resolution 70 cm per pixel [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Drew Enns
LROC News System

Boulder fields on the Moon are a fairly common feature. In general, large boulder fields are usually part of an ejecta deposit surrounding their parent crater or a product of gravity-driven mass wasting, where blocks on a slope are dislodged from the regolith or rock outcrops by various geologic processes (including meteorite impacts or moonquakes) and roll downhill. Since this boulder field is located at the base of a slope, it is likely a product of gravity-driven mass wasting. This field has boulders as large as 10 meters in size. Astronauts exploring Aitken crater could use boulder fields like this one, where materials from higher up have fallen to lower, more accessible elevations, to collect samples that otherwise would be very time-consuming to collect.

Location of the boulder field within Aitken crater. LROC Wide Angle Camera monochrome mosaic [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Can you find more boulders in the NAC image?

Related Posts:
Wrinkle Ridges in Aitken Crater
Terraced Craters in Aitken Crater
Gassendi's Fractures
Bouncing, Bounding Boulders

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