Not so Simple!

A step is present in between a small crater's floor and rim. The crater also displays a high density of boulders on its surface. Image width is 330 m, LROC NAC M122700360L [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Today's Featured Image focuses on an 800 m crater in northern Oceanus Procellarum at 48.527°N, 285.939°E. A crater this small is normally considered a simple crater, but this crater has what looks like a terrace! Terraces are normally found in complex craters, but some simple craters do form benches. Strength differences in buried rock layers encountered during the impact are probably the cause of such benches. Zooming out and looking at the crater in context may give us a better understanding of whether this is a bench or terrace.

Context image of today's Featured Image, located within the box.  The image has been subsampled to 1.5 m/p and image width is 1500 m, LROC NAC M122700360L [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The context image reveals that the terrace doesn't circle the entire crater, similar to how complex craters contain multiple unconnected terraces. But the crater is also very blocky, it probably hit a cohesive layer of basalt hidden under a layer of regolith, so maybe it is a bench. Whichever hypothesis is correct, the Moon is definitely not so simple!

Explore more of the Moon in the full NAC frame! 

Related Posts: Maunder's Terrace

Terraced Wall in Bürg Crater

Fresh Bench Crater in Oceanus Procellarum


Posted by Drew Enns on February 22, 2012 10:00 UTC.