Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

Montes Carpatus

Marius Hills oblique
The Montes Carpatus region (16.67°N, 332.93°E) contains numerous examples of volcanic materials. The low albedo (dark) patterns may indicate pyroclastic (explosive) material that erupted over 3 billion years ago. Tobias Mayer G crater (7000 m diameter) is seen in the upper left in this west-to-east view; incidence angle 44°, slew angle 68°, phase angle 36°, NAC M1252131209LR [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

 

Volcanic rocks are our best window to the deep interior of the Moon, and the Montes Carpatus has no shortage of volcanic landforms: lava flows, pyroclatic deposits, rilles, and more! Lavas are formed as the mantle begins to melt, so by sampling volcanic rocks of various ages from regions across the Moon scientists can reconstruct the range of compositions and processes over time. The Montes Carpatus formed as a result of the giant impact that formed the mighty Imbrium basin, the mountains are actually the raised rim of the basin. Simlar to the Apollo 15 landing site, future explorers could sample both volcanic rocks and deep ancient crustal materials exposed by basin formation.

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