A fresh crater splashing ejecta across the edge of a fracture in Komarov crater. Image width is 2.5 km, NAC M191967463R [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The wispy, bright rays of this small crater (~475 meters in diameter, 24.801°N, 151.687°E) extend down into the fracture (graben). You can see that this small crater is younger than the fracture because the bright rays of the crater are not visibly deformed by the edges of the fracture. Gradually, cratering events like this contribute to the erosion and infilling of fractures and other craters on the lunar surface. 

Komarov crater is on the southeastern edge of Mare Moscoviense and is located at 24.59°N, 152.25°E (diameter 80.43 km). The floor was long ago filled with mare basalt, and then cut with a spectacular set of intersecting fractures, or graben. Graben form when a section of the crust sinks as two parallel faults pull the crust apart. Note that the northwestern section of Komarov's rim has an irregular shape. the irregular shape is likely due to a preexisting impact crater. The older crater influenced the formation of Komarov's rim, and may have been partially flooded with molten mare material when Komarov's floor was filled in. 

LROC WAC context image of Komarov Crater. The red box marks the location of the featured NAC. Image width is 130 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Explore the rest of Komarov's fractures in the LROC NAC!

Related Images:

Alphonsus crater mantled floor fracture

Gassendi's Fractures


Published by Sarah Braden on 17 August 2012