Lunar and Planetary Institute

Aristarchus Crater

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Geological Setting

The Aristarchus crater and nearby plateau host a complex mixture of geological features and lithologies. This nearside crater is thought to have penetrated highland terrain type material (potentially representative of the primordial crust) and is surrounded by several generations of mare basalt (product of lunar volcanic activity). The crater is young (Copernican System, < 1Ga) and its morphologic features such as its walls, central peak and ejecta blanket have undergone very little erosion. As such, it provides a fresh glimpse into the geology of the surrounding region. The geological diversity is apparent in recent LROC imagery, displaying two clearly distinct rock types within the central uplift (look for the strong albedo contrast). Also visible in the LROC imagery are what seem to be stratigraphic layers on the walls of the crater. In-situ samples from those layers and from the central uplift could yield invaluable information about the geological history of the region.


This flyover clip was generated using ESRI ArcGlobe (part of the ArcGIS Suite). The topographical information comes from the 64ppd LOLA altimetry data. There is a 5x vertical exaggeration in topography. The grey-shaded background shows the Lunar Orbiter Photographic Mosaic generated by the USGS (Astrogeology division). The high-resolution images overlying the background are photographs taken by the LROC narrow-angle camera aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (M122523410L, M122523410R, M109548636L, M109548636R, M111911272L, M111911272R, M114267211L, M114267211R, M102464936L, M102464936R, M102472092L, M102472092R, M104826902L, M104826902R, M117807043L, M117807043R). The limited coverage is due to the availability of the photographs at the time the flyover was generated in August 2010.


This flyover was produced by the LPI's 2010 Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program. The team members responsible for this work are Jean-François Blanchette-Guertin, Jessica Flahaut, Christie Jilly, Pryianka Sharma, and Audrey Souchon. Dr. David Kring acted as the interns' supervisor. Support for the program was provided by LPI and the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI).


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