Thursday, November 5, 2009

Landslides in Marius Crater

Landslide deposits seen on the steep interior slopes of Marius crater, image is 204 meters wide [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Samuel Lawrence
LROC News System

Impact events, volcanism, and tectonism form the majority of features found on the Moon. However landslides are an important modifier of the landscape at small scales. Ultimately, the source of landslides are seismic events triggered by impacts or movements deep inside the Moon. These shaking events cause poorly consolidated material on steep slopes to slide downhill. In this case the slide spreads out in a complex of narrow finger-like streamers.

What controls this distinctive pattern? The process is controlled by the energy of the shaking, the size of particles in the slide, the steepness of the slope, and volume of the source deposit. Mars also has many landslide deposits, so scientists are using the new LROC data to compare with these martian counterparts.

Marius crater (41 km diameter) is located in Oceanus Procellarum (11.9°N, 309.2°E) and is notable for its mare filled floor - unequivocal evidence that it formed before before the surrounding mare basalts flooded the region.

Browse the whole LROC NAC frame, HERE.

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