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Ancient rift valleys — closeup artist's concept Impacts by meteorites and comets are the only abrupt geologic force acting on the Moon today, though the variation of Earth tides on the scale of the Lunar anomalistic month causes small variations in stresses.
For example, the crater Copernicuswhich has a depth of 3. The Apollo 17 mission landed in an area in which the material coming from the crater Tycho might have been sampled. The study of these rocks seem to indicate that this crater could have formed million years ago, though this is debatable as well.
The surface has also experienced space weathering Geology thesis outline to high energy particles, solar wind implantation, and micrometeorite impacts. This process causes the ray systems associated with young craters to darken until it matches the albedo of the surrounding surface.
However, if the composition of the ray is different from the underlying crustal materials as might occur when a "highland" ray is emplaced on the marethe ray could be visible for much longer times.
Geology thesis outline resumption of Lunar exploration in the s, it was discovered there are scarps across the globe that are caused by the contraction due to cooling of the Moon.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. August Main article: Lunar geologic timescale On the top of the lunar stratigraphical sequence rayed impact craters can be found.
Such youngest craters belong to the Copernican unit. Below it can be found craters without the ray system, but with rather well developed impact crater morphology. This is the Eratosthenian unit. The two younger stratigraphical units can be found in crater sized spots on the Moon.
Below them two extending strata can be found: Another impact basin related unit is the Nectarian unit, defined around the Nectarian Basin. At the bottom of the lunar stratigraphical sequence the pre-Nectarian unit of old crater plains can be found.
The stratigraphy of Mercury is very similar to the lunar case. Lunar landscape[ edit ] The lunar landscape is characterized by impact craterstheir ejecta, a few volcanoeshills, lava flows and depressions filled by magma.
A photograph of full moon taken from Earth Highlands[ edit ] The most distinctive aspect of the Moon is the contrast between its bright and dark zones. Lighter surfaces are the lunar highlands, which receive the name of terrae singular terra, from the Latin for Earthand the darker plains are called maria singular mare, from the Latin for seaafter Johannes Kepler who introduced the name in the 17th century.
The highlands are anorthositic in composition, whereas the maria are basaltic. The maria often coincide with the "lowlands," but it is important to note that the lowlands such as within the South Pole-Aitken basin are not always covered by maria.
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The highlands are older than the visible maria, and hence are more heavily cratered. Lunar mare The major products of volcanic processes on the Moon are evident to Earth-bound observers in the form of the lunar maria. These are large flows of basaltic lava that correspond to low- albedo surfaces covering nearly a third of the near side.
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