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October 16, 2007


Filed under: — chuckwood @ 12:01 am

image by Bob Pilz

The lunar highlands are stuffed with craters. But how many generations can you see? In Bob’s excellent image of the Stöfler area, the youngest or topmost crater in the pile on Stöfler is Faraday C (labeled 1). This crater is on top of Faraday P (2), which impacted on the rim of Faraday itself (3). Faraday cut into an unnamed crater (4) that had formed on the floor of Stöfler (5). As an aside, note the bizarrely wide northern rim of crater 4. Stöfler itself seems to have overlapped two pre-existing craters (6 and the unlabeled one of similar size to the left). The sequence 1, 2, 3 and 5 illustrates the common difference in crater sizes through time - earlier craters tend to be larger than smaller ones, because there were more large projectiles early in lunar history. The fact that 6 is smaller than 5, and 4 is smaller than 3, points out that small craters formed all the time, but many get completely destroyed by later bigger ones - we see these ears that were overlapped, not overwhelmed. Changing the topic - look at the little bump just above the number 6. Smooth hills are uncommon in the highlands - it would be very exciting if this were a dome because there is little direct evidence for highlands volcanism. The Lunar Orbiter IV image tantilizingly suggests that the little hill may have a summit pit. This tiny feature requires further study. Finally, look how the formation of Nasireddin (7) caused a huge landslide onto the floor of Miller (8) - its amazing that this doesn’t happen more often.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
2007/09/03, Utime: ~09:49. 200mm f/6 Newtonian reflector, DMK 21BF04 B/W camera. Processed in Registax V4, PS CS, Focus Magic. Taken from Lat: 35 degrees 36 minutes N, Long: 82 degrees 33 minutes W, Elev: ~850m.

Related Links:
Rükl charts 65 & 66
Bob’s image without numbers.
Bob’s website

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  1. Nice crater time-line Chuck, it’s good to see someone can spot order in the chaos.

    Scanning this image overall, there seems to be a uniformity in elevation of the flat floor fill-in. Stöfler (5), crater (6), the crater directly above Stöfler at the top of the image, Faraday (3) and a few craters scattered in the bottom left corner, all look to be of similar fill-in elevation. Is there some fill-in rule on the moon that a violation of a certain depth gets a fill-in whereas the younger crater on the rim and floor between Stöfler and crater 6 looks to be deeper than the flat floor of Stöfler, but being a smaller crater is only a slight infraction of the fill-in rule so it gets overlooked?



    Comment by Fieryice — October 16, 2007 @ 7:36 am

  2. Gale - there isn’t a rule that determines crater depths, but there are observed relations. Crater depths increase with crater diameters, and decrease with crater ages (as they get filled with rim deposits, ejecta and lava).
    Uniformity of floor levels would suggest some connection between the floors and a fluid liquid that could move between them. Both are unlikely.


    Comment by chuckwood — October 16, 2007 @ 11:23 am

  3. landscaping…

    LPOD lunar photo of the day » 6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION…

    Trackback by landscaping — December 11, 2013 @ 1:39 am

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