Fractured Crater

Komarov crater
Interior of Komarov crater (24.59°N, 152.25°E; 85 kilometers diameter), near the southern edge of Mare Moscoviense, on the lunar farside. Image 15 km wide across center, LROC NAC M1263901757LR [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The spectacular fractures that cut across the floor of Komarov crater (85 kilometers diameter) were formed when magma rose from the mantle, uplifting and fracturing the crater in the process. In this case the magma did not erupt to the surface, thus the fractures remain visible.

The Komarov fractures are quite large, the major left-to-right fracture that cuts across the center of the scene is over 500 meters deep and 2500 meters wide. When did they form? The large number of craters superimposed on the floor and fractures testifies to their ancient ages. Likely they are of the same vintage (>2.6 billion years) as the Mare Moscoviense lava plains just to the north.

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Published by Mark Robinson on 15 November 2018