Dynamics of Molten Rocks

A portion of the impact melt near the western rim of Mandel'shtam F crater. Image center is 0.130ºN, 165.822ºE, image width is 1182 m. NAC M189515239R [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Mandel'shtam F is a 15 km diameter crater located in the farside highlands. Along the western rim of this crater are several impact melt deposits formed from material splashed out of the crater cavity. The opening image highlights one such impact melt that flowed down the crater flank about 1.7 km. 

Typically these impact melt-flow deposits are characterized with a meandering path, bifurcated distal edges, inflated relief, and levees. They resemble lava flows found in Hawaii or Iceland, but the generation process is completely different. The instantaneously-formed molten rocks from the anorthosite rich highland materials had cooled as they flowed downhill (and the melt viscosity increased). New NAC topographic and images acquired by LROC NAC enable us to examine the dynamics of these molten rocks (Denevi et al., 2012). 

Mandel'shtam F crater and surrounding area in LROC WAC monochrome mosaic (100 m/pix). Image center is 5.07ºN, 166.00ºE. Blue box and yellow arrow indicate the locations of NAC footprint and today's Featured Image respectively [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Explore the impact melt flows at Mandel'shtam F in full NAC image yourself!

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Published by Hiroyuki Sato on 9 October 2012