A high albedo granular flow traveled down the wall of Dionysius crater. Why is the flow curving around the crater floor? LROC NAC M111484008R, image width is 500 m [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Craters on the Moon often develop granular flows on their walls as loose material slides towards the bottom. As this process occurs, the granular flows must overcome any obstacles in their path to reach the crater floor. Dionysius, an 18 km crater that lies on the western edge of Mare Tranquillitatis, is no exception.

A larger view of today's Featured Image, located within the box. A mound of impact melt is blocking the granular flows! Image width is 1 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The curved termination of the talus is the result of series of granular flows with an impact melt mound blocking the immediate path of the flow.

Context image of Dionysius crater, the subject of today's Featured Image. Image width is 100 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Because the granular flow cannot go over the mound, it is being redirected along the mound's slope until it reaches the crater floor. The result is a spectacular arc that acts as a geologic contact between the granular flow on one side and impact melt on the other!

Are any other geologic features redirecting the granular flow in the full NAC frame?

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Published by Drew Enns on 28 November 2011