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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Map of the Moon's crustal thickness inferred from GRAIL gravity data

Filed under explaining science, the Moon, GRAIL, geology, gravity

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Map of the Moon's crustal thickness inferred from GRAIL gravity data This map of lunar crustal thickness was derived from an analysis of GRAIL's gravity data. The thickness varies from a high of 60 kilometers in the farside highlands to a low near zero within impact basins. In some of the basins, the crust really may have zero thickness, meaning that mantle material is exposed at the surface. These include Crisium on the nearside (the rightmost of the three northern round basins) and Moscoviense on the farside (just northwest of the center of the globe), as well as a couple of small craters within the south pole-Aitken basin on the farside. Purple stars denote locations where the Kaguya orbiter saw olivine, a mantle mineral, exposed at the surface. Note that they cluster near Moscoviense, Crisium, and those small craters.

NASA / JPL / GSFC / MIT / IPGP

Original image data dated on or about December 5, 2012

 

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