Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

Down the Mountain

Northern slope (top) of an unnamed mountain in Montes Carpatus; image center at 17.438°N, 331.221°E; image width is 1320 m; downslope is toward the top; north is up; LROC NAC M186077208R [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University]. 

Montes Carpatus is a mountain range composed of multiple peaks and rises along the southern edge of Mare Imbrium. The bases of several peaks were flooded and are now surrounded by the mare basalts that fill the Imbrium basin. The opening image highlights the northern slope of an unnamed mountain in the range. The mountain is about 14 km in diameter at its current base, and its height is about 1700 m (5577 ft).

NAC context view of the unnamed mountain; image center at 17.414°N, 331.197°E; image width is about 6.4 km; white square indicate the location of opening image; NAC M186077208R [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

These low reflectance materials, which cover the broad top of this mountain, have over time cascaded down the northern slope. Similar low reflectance materials are distributed at the top of neighboring mountains of Montes Carpatus, but their origin is not clear. This region, including the Carpatus Mountains, was blanketed by ejecta from the impact that formed Copernicus crater. The ejecta thrown here from Copernicus may have contained pyroclastic materials, the dark volcanic products of explosive eruptions, or impact melt now exposed on the mountain slopes. Alternatively, dark pyroclastic materials were originally deposited atop these mountains.

New NAC and WAC images continue to present more detailed views of the Moon's surface, allowing us to read the complicated geologic history of the lunar mare.

A mountain that is part of Montes Carpatus is shown in a LROC WAC monochrome mosaic with WAC stereo (GLD100) topography overlain (red represents higher elevations and blue represents lower elevations); image center at 17.27°N, 331.33°E; the footprint of the NAC frame (blue square) and the location of opening image (yellow arrow) are indicated [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Explore the dark materials flowing down the mountain in full NAC frame!

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