Tuesday, May 8, 2012

LROC: Impact Melt Fingers

Impact melt from an unnamed lunar crater forms ghostly fingers stretching across the Moon's surface. LROC NAC frame M126091916L, LRO orbit 3714, April 16, 2010; image field of view is 320 meters, resolution 0.55 meters from 53.38 kilometers. View the full size 560 meter field of view shown in the LROC Featured Image released May 8, 2012, HERE [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Sarah Braden

When impact melt is ejected from a crater the melt forms flows or ponds. In today's Featured Image we see an example of multiple flows spreading out from what was initially the same impact melt deposit.

The "fingers" of impact melt are flowing radially away from the rim of the parent crater. What caused the impact melt to split into separate flows?

Was it the velocity and direction of the initial impact of the melt, the shape of the existing topography, or another change that occurred moments after the parent crater's formation?

This impact melt deposit originates from a young, unnamed lunar crater (located at 66.63°S, 128.61°E, ~13 km in diameter) inside another larger crater called Grotrian (located at 66.17°S, 128.23°E, 36.78 km in diameter). Both craters are north of the Schrödinger basin (79.30°S, 126.50°E).

LROC Wide Angle Camera context image showing Grotrian crater, in a monochrome (604nm) blend stitched from sequential orbital fly-overs on November 24-25, 2011, at an average 68 meters resolution amd an angle of incidence of 67° from 50 kilometers altitude [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State university].
In the LROC WAC context image below you may also notice a long valley oriented north-south starting from north of crater Grotrian. This is Vallis Planck (451 km long), which was probably formed as a result of ejecta from the Schrödinger basin impact.

LROC WAC context image of the crater Grotrian vicinity and surrounding topography.  [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

More interesting impact melt features are located around the western rim of this unnamed crater - explore the entire NAC frame, HERE.

Related Posts:
Herigonius K Impact Melt Flow
Rootless impact melt flows
Forked Impact Melt Flows at Farside Crater

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