Wednesday, December 14, 2011

LROC: Herigonius K impact melt flow

Grooves carved out by ejecta during the Herigonius K impact event (to the immediate southeast) provide channels for impact melt to flow outward. Small cracks can be seen on the impact melt surface, possibly from contraction as the impact melt cooled. LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) M135426635LE, orbit 5091, August 2, 2010; incidence angle 57.53° Image sample field of view is 500 meters, resolution 48 cm per pixel from 41.26 kilometers. View the original full size LROC Featured Image HERE [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Drew Enns
LROC News System

Impact melt is a common feature inside fresh craters on the Moon. Less common, but no less spectacular, are impact melt flows that were emplaced just outside their parent craters and flowed downslope. Because impact melt is fluid when it lands, it flows down the flanks of the crater until it reaches an impasse and pools in low lying areas. The impact melt flow in today's Featured Image has done exactly this. The surface that the impact melt flowed down appears grooved. These grooves were probably carved out by ejecta when the impact occurred. Soon after, the impact melt was deposited and was able to follow the grooves downslope until meeting an obstacle.

Full approximate 2.1 kilometer width field of view centered on the impact melt flow, explosively channeled to the northeast from the impact event that formed Herigonius K. The crater's rim is visible in the southeast, lower left corner.[NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) Global 100 meter mosaic textured over the LOLA digital elevation model (v.2) available within the ILIADS GUI (LMMP) - a simulated oblique view from a point about 15 kilometers over Oceanus Procellarum, north of Herigonius K. A context image for the history of melt flow already evident nearby in the form of the long sinuous rille Rimae Herigonius. The latter channel winds around from the north (bottom) and then far to the southwest, nearly beyond Gassendi (high-rim crater near the horizon at upper right) and into distant Mare Humorum. The location of the impact melt flow is shown by the small yellow arrow [NASA/LMMP].

Explore the rest of the impact melt flow in the full NAC frame!

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