Science and Exploration

NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Anaxagoras: Cracked Mound

By Marc Boucher
March 16, 2012
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NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Anaxagoras: Cracked Mound

The irregularly fractured surface in today’s Featured Image is on top of a north-western oriented slightly elongated mound on the floor of crater Anaxagoras (image center is 73.748°N, 349.522°E). Anaxagoras (diameter ~ 50 km) is located about 700 km north of Mare Imbrium. The floor of Anaxagoras has an irregularly-shaped central peak. Other portions of the floor are filled with debris and impact melts.
The cracked surface covers only the top portion of the mound. The northern flank of this mound (see figure below) is almost completely covered by boulders, and southern flank is smooth with only a few boulders (as seen in the left hand image below). Why did the cracking happen only at the top of the mound?

One possibility is that the cracked portion is a splashed remnant of impact melt. A solid crust formed where the melt was thickest, and then later, as melt drained downslope, the cracks formed as the crust collapsed.

The interior of Anaxagoras crater was a Constellation program Region of Interest. With so many exciting features like this one, Anaxagoras crater is an excellent place for humans to explore!

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