Layers of mare basalt affected the paths of granular material that flowed down the crater wall. The top of the image is down-slope. LROC NAC M157418698R, image width is 546 m, pixel scale is 0.4 m/px [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The wall of Dawes crater (17.21°N, 26.32°E) contains sections of spectacular mare basalt layering. However, mass wasting, a geologic process where material moves downhill due to gravity, has started to partially cover these beautiful outcrops. Granular flows started above the outcrop and then flowed down the interior crater wall. As seen in the Featured Image, the topography of basalt outcrop caused the flow to deviate into narrow paths, away from a simple path flowing straight down the crater wall. As the crater Dawes ages over billions of years, the mare basalt outcrop will eventually be completely covered with granular material due to slumping of the crater's walls and more mass wasting.

WAC context image of Dawes, a 17.8 km diameter crater. The red box marks the location of the featured NAC frame [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Explore the entire NAC frame!

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Published by Sarah Braden on 25 January 2012