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Moon To Mars
Lunar Contraction
08/20/10

 

Over recent geologic time, as the lunar interior cooled and contracted the entire moon shrank by about 100 m. As a result its brittle crust ruptured and thrust faults (compression) formed distinctive landforms known as lobate scarps. In a particularly dramatic example, a thrust fault pushed crustal materials (arrows) up the side of the farside impact crater named Gregory (2.1°N, 128.1°E). By mapping the distribution and determining the size of all lobate scarps, the tectonic and thermal history of the moon can be reconstructed over the past billion years. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University/Smithsonian



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