Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asteroid strikes cause the Moon's surface to smooth

Date:
July 16, 2012
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
The lunar surface is marred by impact craters, remnants of the collisions that have occurred over the past 4.5 billion years. The Orientale basin, the Moon's most recently formed sizeable crater, stands out from the rest. The crater, which lies along the southwestern boundary between the near and far sides of the moon, appears as a dark spot ringed by concentric circles of ejecta that reach more than 900 kilometers (560 miles) from the impact location. Researchers now propose that whenever a large body slams into the Moon, seismic waves produced during the impact travel through the solid lunar material, inducing seismic shaking that causes landslides and surface settling.

The lunar surface is marred by impact craters, remnants of the collisions that have occurred over the past 4.5 billion years. The Orientale basin, the Moon's most recently formed sizeable crater, stands out from the rest. The crater, which lies along the southwestern boundary between the near and far sides of the moon, appears as a dark spot ringed by concentric circles of ejecta that reach more than 900 kilometers (560 miles) from the impact location.

Related Articles


Though other craters have similar rings, the lunar surface surrounding the Orientale basin is unusually rough with reduced concavity. The anomalous features were identified by Kreslavsky and Head after they produced a map of the lunar surface topographic roughness using observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The fact that other craters -- even those of similar size and age -- lack similar features suggests to the authors that mechanisms such as weathering or gravitational settling cannot explain the anomaly. Instead, the authors suggest that the Orientale basin, which formed about 3.8 billion years ago, stands out simply because it is the youngest large crater.

They propose that whenever a large body slams into the Moon, seismic waves produced during the impact travel through the solid lunar material, inducing seismic shaking that causes landslides and surface settling. They estimate that the impactor would need to be at least 100 km (62 mi) across to cause sizeable seismic shaking.

Unfortunately, the authors may need to wait more than a little while to conclusively test their hypothesis -- until the Moon is next rocked by a massive asteroid, an event not expected to occur in the foreseeable future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. A. Kreslavsky, J. W. Head. New observational evidence of global seismic effects of basin-forming impacts on the Moon from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter data. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012; 117 DOI: 10.1029/2011JE003975

Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Asteroid strikes cause the Moon's surface to smooth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716163149.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (2012, July 16). Asteroid strikes cause the Moon's surface to smooth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716163149.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Asteroid strikes cause the Moon's surface to smooth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716163149.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

Newsy (Mar. 28, 2015) Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year in space running tests on human physiology and psychology. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 28, 2015) Russian-U.S. crew arrives safely at the International Space Station for the start of a ground-breaking year-long stay. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) The Asteroid Retrieval Mission announced this week bears little resemblance to its grand beginnings. Even NASA scientists are asking, "Why bother?" Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Station Crew Docks Safely

Space Station Crew Docks Safely

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) NASA TV footage shows the successful docking of a Russian Soyuz craft to the International Space Station for a year-long mission. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins